Simon Rusk's side secured their first win of the season.
- Albion win their first game of the season
- Tyler Hornby-Forbes sent off after 24 minutes
- Solly March featured in the first half
- Joe Ward scored a stoppage-time winner
Joe Ward’s late stoppage-time winner secured Brighton & Hove Albion’s under-23s their first victory of the season, after beating Fulham 1-0 at the Amex.
Ward lobbed the ball over Fulham keeper Magnus Norman from 20 yards to secure Albion’s ten men all three points, after losing Tyler Hornby-Forbes to a first-half sending off.
Solly March made his second appearance in a week for the under-23 side, gaining another 45 minutes of match time on his journey to full fitness.
Simon Rusk made two changes to the starting line-up, restoring Sam Adekugbe at left-back following the Canadian’s midweek goalscoring appearance for the first team, with Henrik Bjordal also coming into the team.
March and Bjordal combined well in the attacking third, with the latter cutting the ball back for his team-mate, who couldn’t get his shot away under pressure.
Hornby-Forbes showed good pace on the wing, before sending March in behind Fulham’s defence, but the winger’s prodded effort was comfortably gathered.
Robert Sanchez prevented the Cottagers from breaking the deadlock with their first chance of the game, parrying Elijah Adebayo’s close-range strike away from danger.
Moments later the visitors were denied again, but this time through the referee’s whistle, as Stephen Humphrys had a goal disallowed for handball inside Albion’s penalty area.
After 24 minutes, the Seagulls were dealt a blow as Hornby-Forbes reacted to a challenge out wide and received a red card for his actions, reducing Albion to ten men.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, Bjordal continued to probe for an opening goal, weaving his way into Fulham’s penalty area, but his ambitious run was halted inside the box.
The visitors had another great chance to beat Sanchez in the Albion goal, but Adebayo’s side-footed attempt narrowly missed the target.
James Tilley replaced Bjordal before the break, with the Norwegian striker going off injured, and Jayson Molumby was also introduced for the second half, replacing March in midfield.
Dessie Hutchinson swung a free-kick into the penalty area, which only needed the slightest of touches to direct on goal, but Ben Barclay failed to connect with the ball.
Another Hutchinson set-piece almost led to an opening goal for the Seagulls, as Jesse Starkey got his head to the delivery, only to see his delicate effort loop just over the crossbar.
Albion came agonisingly close to making the breakthrough just after the hour mark, as Tilley smashed the crossbar with a ferocious strike from six-yards out.
Adekugbe pulled up with a hamstring injury and was replaced by Jonah Ayunga; and the striker worked himself an early opening as he snatched the ball off a Fulham defender, but was unable to fire at goal.
Fulham were denied a late winner by Sanchez, who instinctively dived to his left to push Joshua Walker’s right-footed shot onto the post and out for a corner.
The Londoners continued to apply the pressure late on, as Lucas De La Torre had his shot deflected inches wide of Sanchez’s right-hand upright.
With time running out, Albion created a glorious chance to score a winning goal, and Ward made no mistake to put the hosts in front.
In the second minute of stoppage time, the winger escaped the offside trap and found himself one-on-one with Norman, before looping the ball into an empty net.
The Seagulls saw out the remaining minutes of stoppage time and recorded their first league win of the season.
ALBION: Sanchez; Hornby-Forbes, Hall, Barclay, Adekugbe (Ayunga 73); March (Molumby 46), Hutchinson, Collar, Ward; Starkey; Bjordal (Tilley 45).
SUBS NOT USED: Vose (GK), Harper.