Albion edged out the League Two side on penalties in the Checkatrade Trophy.
- Albion draw but gain two Checkatrade Trophy points
- Rohan Ince scores inside the opening minute
- Jesse Starkey gives the Seagulls the lead late on
- Albion win the shoot-out 4-3
Brighton & Hove Albion picked up their first Checkatrade Trophy points with a 2-2 draw at League Two Stevenage.
In normal circumstances a draw would be a point gained, however such are the rules of the competition, the game went to penalties with the Seagulls winning the shoot-out 4-3 to gain an extra point.
Keen to make amends for their opening group game defeat at Southend, while handing much-needed run-outs to a number of first-team squad members, Albion fielded a strong starting 11 with six players having featured in Chris Hughton’s first team.
And they made the perfect start, scoring inside the opening minute when Jesse Starkey burst down the left flank before pulling the ball for Rohan Ince, who drilled home from close range.
The goal set the tone for the opening exchanges, with Rob Hunt volleying over following good combination play between Jesse Starkey and Elvis Manu. Ince played in Manu soon after with a slide-rule pass, but the Dutchman’s effort deflected wide for a corner.
Boro slowly got a foothold back in the game, with Steve Schumacher letting fly from distance only to see the ball cannon back off a team-mate.
Albion should have doubled their account in the 26th minute when Sebastien Pocognoli capitalised on a loose ball before playing in Manu. Bearing down on goal, the striker found Boro keeper Callum Preston equal to his effort, showing a strong hand to parry the ball to safety.
The hosts created their first real chance moments later when Schumacher connected with a Ronnie Henry cross, but his header sailed towards the sprinkling of Albion fans sat in the away end.
Manu was foiled twice more by the Boro keeper, having shown a quick turn of pace to get in behind the home defence, and although Stevenage had a late flurry on the Albion goal, coach Simon Rusk would have been disappointed the lead wasn’t more emphatic at the break.
The opening exchanges of the second half were a more even affair, and it was Boro who got back on level terms on 60 minutes when a Connor Hunte shot was spilled by Albion keeper Robert Sanchez, with Tyler Walker on hand to poke home from close range.
Yet while Albion were eyeing up the victory, Boro had other ideas and they equalised through sub Harry McKirdy, whose effort beat Sanchez low to his left-hand side.
The game then when to penalties, enabling the winning side to gain an extra point and while Uwe Huenemeier missed, Connor Goldson, James Tilley, Pocognoli and Will Collar were all on target to secure a 4-3 shoot-out win.
ALBION: Sanchez; Pocognoli, Huenemeier, Goldson, Hunt; Starkey, Ince, Collar, Hutchinson (Ayunga 75), Ward (Tighe 88); Manu (Tilley 75).
SUBS NOT USED: Vose (GK), White, Cadman, Harper.