Brighton & Hove Albion’s under-21s were beaten 2-1 by West Bromwich Albion at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry last night.
Portuguese international winger Silvestre Varela opened the scoring in the 30th minute after he connected with Kemar Roofe’s near-post corner to give the Baggies the lead.
Adil Nabli then netted what proved to be the decisive second goal right on half-time after a surging run towards the Albion box.
George Cole scored his first competitive goal for Simon Ireland’s team to reduce the deficit to 2-1 nine minutes after the break, latching onto a cross from Jimmy Muitt to finish well.
Ireland was pleased with his side’s determination on the night and feels they acquitted themselves well against a Premier League academy side.
He told seagulls.co.uk, “It was tough because we were up against Premier League opposition, but I thought we acquitted ourselves well. In the first half we were a little bit disappointed with the goals we conceded.
“We should have done better with the first goal, as we have done really in terms of defending set pieces. The second one was a loose pass that got intercepted which unfortunately happened just before half-time.
“That put us on the back foot and I said to the boys at half-time that they had to believe in themselves a bit more.
“But they stuck at it. At 2-0 down they were a bit deflated, but we had a great response in the second half and I was proud of how they performed over the 90 minutes as a group and as individuals.
“Now we’ve got to kick on because the next game comes next Monday against Wolves and all the opposition that we’re up against are not going to give you any time. They’re all good sides and are going to test us each week.”
Albion: Smith, Hunt, Barnett (Barry 55’), Rea, Dallison-Lisbon, Pappoe, Deen, Harris, Muitt, Starkey, Cole (Maguire-Drew 78’). Subs not used: Wiltshire, Doherty, Barclay.