MILTON KEYNES DONS 0
Brighton & Hove Albion’s under-21s made a winning start to their Final Third Development League Cup campaign with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Milton Keynes Dons at Culver Road.
The Seagulls started the match on the front foot as George Cole cut inside from the left and saw his swerving effort force a save from Dons keeper Ian McLoughlin.
Albion took the lead soon afterwards when Charlie Harris linked up well with Jason Davis before Jesse Starkey fired a low, hard shot past McLoughlin.
The visitors were then forced into a change just prior to the half-hour mark, when Harry Hickford was replaced by Jacob Daffern after a clash of heads with Harris.
MK Dons rarely threatened the Albion goal and their only noteworthy chance came when Kyran Wiltshire got beyond the Seagulls defence but saw his angled shot saved by Casper Ankergren.
Simon Ireland’s side had an opportunity to double their advantage right on half-time when Harris found Davis in space on the right, but McLoughlin was out quickly to block the forward’s effort.
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After a relatively uneventful 15 minutes after the re-start, the Seagulls scored a second goal as a well-worked move found Glen Rea in space and the Republic of Ireland under-21 international saw his strike rebound off the far post and into the net.
The Dons still found it difficult to make significant inroads and were largely limited to half chances. Giorgio Rasulo found Daffern inside the box from a corner, but Ankergren was equal to the defender’s header and made a comfortable save.
Albion created further chances to make the victory more convincing, as some neat footwork by Starkey inside the box set up a chance for Danny Pappoe, but the defender’s subsequent volley was blocked by the Dons defence.
Cole was then picked out in space on the left-hand side and saw his curling effort rise just over the crossbar.
Starkey then ran into space and launched an effort from just outside the area that went wide of the near post, with McLoughlin scampering across his line.
Substitute Robin Deen looked lively and set up a chance for Harris, but the latter’s shot went wide of the target.
Harris had a chance to net a stunning third goal for Albion, attempting to lob McLoughlin with a shot from the halfway line, but the ball nestled onto the roof of the net.
Tom Dallison received a yellow card for a late challenge on Wiltshire and Rasulo had a chance to reduce the deficit from the resulting free-kick, but his fierce drive went wide of the post.
ALBION: Ankergren (GK); Barry, Dallison, Pappoe, Hunt; Rea, Wiltshire, Harris; Davis (Deen 58), Cole, Starkey. Subs not used: Smith (GK), Horncastle, Meyers, Mar-Larusson.