Albion's under-23s took maximum points in a breathtaking game.
Tilley 23, 73
- Henrik Bjordal, James Tilley (2) and Aaron Connolly score for Albion
- Josef Wheatley and Alexander Pattison reply for visitors
- Tyler Hornby-Forbes and Marcus Tavernier receive red cards
Connolly, Tilley and Wheatley miss penalties
The Seagulls continued to play some brilliant football as they rode a wave of confidence, and Connolly extended their lead in sensational fashion with a bicycle kick from 12 yards, completing a six-minute spell which included three goals.
Just two minutes later, Tilley made up for his missed penalty and doubled Albion’s advantage from close range, as he helped on Hornby-Forbes’ cross from inside the box and got the better of Pears low down.
Despite the missed opportunity, Albion did take the lead in the 21st minute and it was Bjordal who peeled off his marker to confidently head past Pears from George Cox’s wonderful delivery from the left wing.
The shot-stopper found himself in hot water when he brought down Connolly inside the box for a penalty in the fourth minute, but Tilley fired the spot-kick against the crossbar before Hornby-Forbes headed the rebound over.
Albion had the game’s first opportunity on goal inside the opening five minutes, as Tyler Hornby-Forbes cut inside with the ball, but the winger’s left-footed striker was comfortably saved by Boro goalkeeper Aynsley Pears.
Three changes were made to Albion’s starting line-up that beat West Ham United 3-0 in the Premier League Cup, with first-team goalkeeper Niki Maenpaa coming into the team, alongside Ben Barclay and Ben Hall.
The Seagulls raced into a three-goal lead in the space of six first-half minutes through Henrik Bjordal, James Tilley and Aaron Connolly. Josef Wheatley and Alexander Pattison pulled goals back for the visitors, but Tilley’s second strike was enough to ensure victory.
Brighton & Hove Albion’s under-23s secured a 4-2 victory in an exhilarating game against Middlesbrough which included six goals, three missed penalties and three red cards at the Amex this evening.
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Pattison glanced a header over the crossbar from Callum Johnson’s whipped delivery from the right wing, as the visitors recorded their first notable effort shortly after the break.
Middlesbrough were handed a lifeline in the 66th minute when Hornby-Forbes received a straight red card for pulling down a player inside the box, but Maenpaa pulled off a brilliant save at full stretch to claim Wheatley’s well-struck spot-kick to the bottom corner.
Jayson Molumby almost added a fourth goal moments later when he latched onto Connolly’s through-ball, but the Irishman fired against the outside of the post from inside the penalty area.
Similar to Tilley, Boro captain Wheatley made amends for his penalty miss and pulled a goal back with a superb effort from the edge of the box that sailed into the top corner.
Jordan Davies was introduced and made an instant impact, as he surged towards the byline and delivered a dangerous pass across the face of goal, and Tilley was at the back post to drill a low effort past Pears in the 73rd minute to restore Albion’s three-goal cushion.
But the game’s thrilling pace continued and Boro cut the deficit once again, as Albion failed to clear a corner and Pattison fired past Maenpaa in the 74th minute to make it 4-2.
Albion were presented their second penalty of the game and the game’s third just five minutes later, but saved well to his left-hand side on this occasion to deny Connolly his brace, as a third penalty failed to find the back of the net.
Boro’s numerical advantage was turned on its head in the closing stages as James Tavernier and Johnson received straight red cards for pulling down Connolly on two separate occasions when the striker raced through on goal.
The breathtaking drama ended there and Albion secured all three points in one of the most memorable under-23 matches to have been played at the Amex.
ALBION: Maenpaa; Collar, Hall, White, Cox; Hornby-Forbes, Molumby, Barclay, Tilley; Bjordal (J.Davies 72); Connolly.
SUBS NOT USED: Sanchez (GK), Dallison, Tighe.
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