Albion's under-23s win the trophy after extra-time.
- Albion score three goals in extra-time to win the trophy
- James Tilley opens the scoring for the Seagulls
- Richie Towell and Joe Ward add further goals
- The Seagulls win the competition for a 13th time
Brighton & Hove Albion’s under-23s lifted the Parafix Sussex Senior Cup after securing a 3-0 extra-time victory over League Two opponents Crawley Town at the Amex this evening.
After the game finished goalless after 90 minutes, James Tilley opened the scoring for the Seagulls, before goals from Richie Towell and Joe Ward ensured a 13th victory in the competition for the club.
Simon Rusk made one change to the starting line-up that drew 0-0 with Norwich City last week, as Towell came in for Harry Cardwell, behind lone striker Tilley.
The visitors made a lively start to the game, with Tom Dallison blocking Josh Lelan’s fierce shot early on, before Robert Sanchez produced a fine save to deny Rhys Murphy’s long-range strike to his right-hand side.
Tyler Forbes then beat his marker out wide and rolled the ball back for Towell, but the Irishman could only direct his shot wide of the target after working space inside the box.
Ben Hall headed over the crossbar from close range after meeting George Cox’s dangerous cross into the box, before Tilley fired narrowly over the crossbar with an ambitious effort from distance.
Billy Clifford picked up the ball in a central position for the Reds and tried his luck from 25 yards, but the midfielder’s curling effort dropped wide of Sanchez’s left-hand upright.
Cox curled a free kick comfortably wide of the target after Joe Ward was fouled on the edge of the box, and there was still time for Tilley to hit the side netting with his own set-piece attempt before the break.
Sanchez was called into action at the start of the second half, as he got his body behind Murphy’s swerving effort from the edge of the penalty area to quash the danger.
Dessie Hutchinson fired a low-driven effort wide of goal after charging forward, which was then followed by Bobson Bawling’s drilled attempt that was deflected behind for corner.
Albion continued to show promise as they enjoyed long spells of possession, and Ben White recorded another effort for the Seagulls, but the defender’s rising effort sailed wide of the target.
Forbes cut the ball back and crossed into the penalty area from the right wing, and although Towell rose highest to meet the full-back’s delivery, his headed attempt looped over the crossbar.
Hutchinson then had a great chance as he raced towards the edge of the box and met Tilley’s ball across, but the Albion skipper’s firm strike was parried away from goal by Crawley goalkeeper Yusuf Mersin.
Albion created another chance late on, as Forbes ran onto Ward’s perfectly-weighted through-ball, however the full-back’s angled drive failed to test Mersin and cleared the crossbar.
Matt Harrold headed over for the visitors after beating his marker inside the box, before Mersin produced a fine save to prevent Tilley from breaking the deadlock, as the match headed into extra-time.
It took Albion just seven minutes to open the scoring after neither side could find a breakthrough in normal time, and it was a brilliant volley from Tilley at full stretch that beat Mersin, with Forbes providing the assist from the right wing.
Crawley substitute Enzio Boldewijn went close soon after, as his powerful shot from inside the box swerved narrowly wide of goal, before Jordan Roberts swung a free kick over the crossbar in the second half of extra-time.
But the Seagulls doubled their lead after a lack of communication from Josh Yorwerth and Mersin enabled Towell to race through on goal, and the Irishman rounded the Reds keeper before rolling the ball into an empty net on 112 minutes.
Crawley looked dejected after going two goals behind, but the punishment got worse for the visitors when Towell slipped the ball through for Ward to fire past Mersin and wrap up victory for the Seagulls.
There was still time for Sanchez to make a superb fingertip save after Enzio Boldewijn's deflected shot looked to be looping in over the Albion shot-stopper, but the Seagulls protected their clean sheet and lifted the trophy.
ALBION: Sanchez; White, Hall (J.Davies 71), Dallison, Cox (Collar 116); Forbes, Hutchinson, Molumby (Barclay 104), Ward; Towell; Tilley.
SUBS NOT USED: Collings (GK), Mandroiu.