Albion saw their participation in this season’s EFL Trophy come to an end following a 1-1 draw at Charlton Athletic.
The Seagulls took a first-half lead through a George Lapslie own goal, only for Albie Morgan to grab an equaliser for the hosts three minutes after the restart.
With the game ending all square, Charlton won 4-1 on penalties to gain an extra point on the night.
Albion lined-up with eight of the players who started the previous EFL Trophy game against AFC Wimbledon, with Romaric Yapi, Jack Spong and Ed Turns coming into the team.
Charlton had the better of the opening exchanges and created the game’s first chance on 18 minutes when Luca Vega fed the overlapping Lapslie, but his by-line ball across the face of goal was cleared by Tudor Baluta.
With their tails up, Lee Bowyer’s men went close seven minutes later when Morgan let fly with a 20-yard curling effort, which Carl Rushworth superbly tipped over the bar. The resulting corner fell to Ben Watson at the far post but he could only head wide.
The opening goal came against the run of play on the half-hour mark. Albion skipper Jensen Weir released Stefan Vukoje and having turned inside the box, his effort deflected off Lapslie and past Addicks keeper Ashley Maynard-Brewer.
Charlton got back on level terms three minutes after the break when a fierce 25-yard effort from Jake Forster-Caskey stung the palms of Rushworth and Morgan was on hand to tuck the ball home.
While Albion had the lion’s share of possession as the second half progressed, Charlton could have won the game shortly before the end when Lapslie capitalised on a mistake by Turns, only for Spong to save his blushes with a superb last-ditch challenge. Morgan also blasted over before the final whistle blew.
Finding their feet...
Albion got into their stride in the second half and displayed some excellent passages of play – often down the right flank where Romaric Yapi enjoyed a lot of the ball. Substitute Ulrick Enema Ella benefited from a ball from the right – delivered by Sam Packham – but his looping header fell the wrong side of the crossbar.
Like Albion, Charlton fielded a mainly youthful line-up, but their midfield contained the experienced trio of former Seagull Forster-Caskey, ex-Crystal Palace and Watford stalwart Watson and Wales international Jonny Williams – between them boasting 898 senior appearances. Forster-Caskey was a threat from distance, testing Rushworth in the first half and having a hand in the equaliser. Williams was replaced at half-time and Watson lasted an hour.
With the game ending 1-1, it was Charlton who gained an extra point following a penalty shoot-out.
Spong and Yapi missed for the Seagulls but the hosts converted all their kicks on a rain-sodden night at the Valley.
Out of luck...
While Simon Rusk’s under-21 side have made an excellent start to their Premier League 2 campaign, they bow out of the EFL Trophy after three winless games.
Albion were unfortunate to lose their opener at Leyton Orient, going down 3-2 to a stoppage-time goal, while Rusk’s squad was hit by first-team call-ups for last week’s game against AFC Wimbledon and a young side were defeated 2-0 in a physical encounter. While disappointing in terms of results, the youngsters will have gained plenty from each encounter.
Albion line-up: Rushworth, Packham, Baluta (Tsoungui 63), Turns, Furlong, Yapi, Weir, Spong, Vukoje, Cashman (Leonard 23), Wilson (Ella 63).
Subs not used: Desbois, Tanimowo, Everitt, Offiah
Albion under-23s take visit West Ham in Premier League 2 on Saturday 3rd October, kick off 3pm.