- Albion win their third pre-season game in a row
- Solly March scores a first-half double
- Glenn Murray adds a third before the break
- The Seagulls are yet to concede a goal in pre-season
Brighton & Hove Albion recorded their third successive pre-season victory this evening, as they overcame Southend United with a comfortable 3-0 win at Roots Hall.
A first-half double from Solly March put Albion in the ascendency, before Glenn Murray headed a third from close range, as the Seagulls went a third game without conceding a goal.
New signing Izzy Brown, who only signed a matter of hours before kick-off, came straight into the starting line-up on the left side of midfield, with Murray leading the line for the Seagulls again.
The Shrimpers went closest to breaking the deadlock inside the opening ten minutes, but Michael Kightly’s opportunist free-kick found the side-netting from the corner of the penalty area.
Albion’s summer signing Pascal Gross tried his luck from long range shortly afterwards, but the German’s low-driven effort lacked the pace to beat Southend goalkeeper Ted Smith.
Albion shot-stopper Niki Maenpaa comfortably saved Marc-Antoine Fortune’s angled strike, before Steve Sidwell almost gave the Seagulls the lead, following a free-flowing move that involved both Markus Suttner and Gross.
Suttner played a perfectly-weighted ball which Sidwell flicked into the path of Gross, and after the German laid the ball back for his team-mate, Smith made a smart save low down to keep the scores level.
It looked as if Albion would be awarded a penalty when Murray went down inside the box, but referee Gavin Ward waved play on and ignored the striker’s claim for a spot kick.
However, Albion’s pressure told in the 38th minute when Liam Rosenior drove down the right wing, cut the ball back for March, and the winger powered home his second goal of pre-season with a delightful strike into the far corner.
Just three minutes later, March bagged his second goal of the game, when he cut back onto his right foot and drilled a low shot past Smith into the bottom corner from just outside the box.
The Seagulls added a third goal moments before half-time, and it was Murray that finished off a free-flowing move that started with Dale Stephens and ended with the striker’s close-range header from Suttner’s delightful cross.
Both teams made a quiet start to the second half, as Albion looked comfortable with their three-goal lead and Southend struggled to break down a resolute defence.
Albion manager Chris Hughton made a number of changes just after the hour mark, as under-23 players George Cox and Ben White entered the fray, alongside Rohan Ince and Kazenga LuaLua.
With the hosts desperate to get back into the game, Simon Cox took hold of the ball and pulled the trigger from 25 yards, but the striker’s ambitious effort rolled comfortably wide of Maenpaa’s right-hand upright.
More substitutions were made in the closing stages, as Tom Dallison, Aaron Connolly, Jayson Molumby, Richie Towell and James Tilley came on, and the latter’s fierce shot from White’s pass was well stopped by Smith low down.
The hosts pushed for a late goal but Albion comfortably saw out the remainder of the game, as Hughton’s team impressed on the road again, before Saturday’s trip to Carrow Road.