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U23 REPORT: WEST HAM 0 ALBION 0

26 September 2016

Simon Rusk's side played out a stalemate in Dagenham tonight.


WEST HAM 0

ALBION 0


  • Albion earn a well-deserved point
  • Robert Sanchez makes vital saves
  • Jonah Ayunga comes close to scoring
  •  Albion play Nottingham Forest on Saturday


Brighton & Hove Albion’s under-23s earned a hard-fought point against high-flying West Ham United this evening, as the match finished goalless at Victoria Road.

Robert Sanchez made a string of vital saves to prevent the hosts from taking the lead, while Jonah Ayunga was denied shortly before half-time in a very competitive game in East London.

Simon Rusk made four changes to the starting line-up that lost 2-1 against Newcastle United last week, with George Cox, Ben Barclay, James Tilley and Ayunga all returning for the Seagulls.

Albion struggled to match West Ham’s tempo in the early stages, as the hosts enjoyed long spells of possession, but failed to create much in front of goal.

The Hammers recorded the game’s first worthy attempt on goal, as Declan Rice hit the target with a close-range effort, but Cox was on hand to clear the ball off the line.

Tunji Akinola rose highest at the back post to head the ball over the crossbar, before Tilley found himself through on goal at the other end, but the winger got his wires crossed and sliced his shot wide.

Barclay was caught out on the halfway line, as he missed the ball and allowed Antonio Martinez to charge through on goal, before his central defensive partner Ben Hall got back to intercept the striker’s dangerous run.

Following some brilliant build-up play from the Seagulls, the ball landed at the feet of Ayunga inside the penalty area, but the striker’s shot on the turn took a deflection and rolled into hands of Hammers goalkeeper Nathan Trott.

Moments later, the West Ham shot-stopper prevented the Albion striker from breaking the deadlock once again, as Trott reacted well to save Ayunga’s firm strike from six yards out.

Martinez went close to opening the scoring shortly after the re-start, heading just over the crossbar from a few yards out, before Tilley dived to head Will Collar’s perfectly-weighted cross wide of the target.

Sanchez was called into action twice before the hour mark, as he saved well from point-black range to deny Martinez, before racing off his line to close the angle and push Makasi’s effort away from goal.

Grady Diangana then struck the bottom of Sanchez’s left-hand upright with a free-kick from distance, while Tilley tested Trott at the other end with a set-piece from just outside the box.

West Ham continued to apply pressure in the final third, and Barclay deflected Makasi’s fierce shot over the crossbar, before substitute Jaanai Gordon rolled the ball agonisingly wide of the post.

Albion spent the closing stages deep in their half, but were able to hold on for a well-deserved point.

ALBION: Sanchez; Collar, Hall, Barclay, Cox; Molumby (Harper 90+1), Hutchinson, Starkey; Tighe (Davis 79), Ayunga (Skapetis 63), Tilley.

SUBS NOT USED: Vose (GK), Cadman.

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