WEST HAM 2
- Goals from Martin Samuelsen and Josh Cullen secure victory for West Ham
- Jeffrey Monakana is on target for Albion
- Vahid Hambo makes his Albion debut
- Jack Harper makes his first start
Brighton & Hove Albion’s under-21s were beaten 2-1 by West Ham United at the Amex.
First-half goals from Martin Samuelsen and Josh Cullen secured victory for the Hammers, despite Jeffrey Monakana pulling one back for Albion late in the second half.
Coach Simon Rusk handed Jack Harper his first start following his move from Real Madrid in the summer, while Finland under-21 international striker Vahid Hambo also made his first Seagulls appearance from the bench.
The visitors created a chance in the opening minute of the game when Alex Pike’s cross was cleared behind by Ben Barclay.
Marcus Browne was a constant threat for the Hammers in the first 45 minutes and he ended a slick West Ham move with a shot that hit the side netting.
Browne had another opportunity to break the deadlock just moments later, as his superb volley went narrowly wide after a dangerous delivery by Pike.
Albion struggled to create too many openings during the first half, but Charlie Harris engineered a chance for himself on the edge of the box only to see his shot blocked by George Dobson.
But it was the Hammers that broke the deadlock after Christian Walton was harshly penalised for a challenge on Browne inside the box.
Samuelsen fired the home the resulting spot-kick, but referee Richard Hulme ordered a re-take due to an encroachment. The forward saw his second attempt saved by Walton, but he was quick to react to the rebound and fired the ball into the bottom corner.
The Seagulls raced forward in a bid to level the scoreline, as Monakana’s cross was narrowly missed by an onrushing Barclay inside the box.
Harper had a chance from just outside the box, but saw his subsequent effort saved by Hammers keeper Sam Howes.
The visitors doubled their advantage in first-half stoppage time when Walton was called into action to keep out Samuelsen’s strike, but Cullen was quickest to react to make it 2-0.
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Albion showed a marked improvement after the interval and tested the Hammers defence with several chances.
Daniel Akindayini reacted to a sloppy backpass in the West Ham defence, but fired wide of the target.
Jayson Molumby’s first-time effort forced Howes into a fine reaction save after Joe Ward’s teasing in-swinging cross.
Rusk brought on Hambo in a bid to bolster Albion’s attack, but it was the Hammers that almost struck next, with Walton called into action to deny Jaanai Gordon at his near post.
Albion halved the deficit in the 82nd minute when Monakana linked up well with Connor Tighe and made a surging run down the left-hand side. His first shot was saved by Howes, but the winger made no mistake in slotting home the rebound.
Ward saw two chances saved by Howes late on, before Hambo headed wide from Monakana’s cross as West Ham claimed all three points.
ALBION: Walton; Hunt, Barclay, Dallison, Starkey; Ward, Harris (Tighe 81), Molumby, Monakana; Akindayini (Hambo 73), Harper (Tilley 48).
SUBS NOT USED: Doherty (GK), Davies.