- Albion exit the Checkatrade Trophy in the group stage
- Alex Samuel (2) and Kyle Wootton put Stevenage ahead
- Jamie Murphy scores consolation in stoppage time
- The Seagulls play East Preston in the Parafix Sussex Senior Cup next
A Brighton & Hove Albion under-21 side were eliminated from the Checkatrade Trophy this evening, as Stevenage ran out 3-1 winners at the Lamex Stadium.
The Seagulls struggled to get going throughout, and after Alex Samuel’s brace and Kyle Wootton’s penalty put Boro comfortably ahead, Jamie Murphy scored a late consolation in stoppage time.
Simon Rusk included six first-team players in the starting line-up, as Tim Krul, Liam Rosenior, Ezequiel Schelotto and Uwe Huenemeier came into the back five, while Izzy Brown and Murphy offered in attack.
The game got off to a slow start, with neither side able to create anything substantial inside the opening quarter of an hour, as the possession switched on a regular basis.
But with the first opportunity of the game, Stevenage opened the scoring in the 19th minute through Alex Samuel, as the striker darted towards the front post and found the bottom corner with a clever, first-time finish.
Albion went in search of a response, as Rosenior, Brown and Murphy linked up down the left wing, but the latter’s ambitious effort from 25 yards sailed wide of the target.
Tom Conlon went close with a curling effort for the hosts, as his shot sailed just wide from 25 yards, before Aaron Connolly failed to find the target after turning and shooting from Rosenior’s low cross.
James Tilley pounced on a loose ball out wide and surged towards goal, but after cutting inside and pulling the trigger from outside the penalty area, his left-footed strike dropped wide of Joe Fryer’s right-hand post.
Albion looked to be heading in with a single-goal deficit at the break, but Stevenage were awarded a penalty after a clumsy challenge in stoppage time, and Kyle Wootton dispatched from 12 yards to double their lead.
Rusk’s team reacted well after the re-start and almost found a way back into the game when Soufyan Ahannach’s shot was spilt into the six-yard box, but Fryer saved Connolly’s close-range shot before the Irishman then rolled wide.
The Dutchman added something to Albion’s attack after being introduced for Tilley at the break, and Ahannach’s corner found Huenemeier at the back post, but the German’s powerful effort was tipped over.
But after an uneventful second-half spell, where Stevenage sat back and Albion struggled to break their opponents down, the hosts found a third goal to kill off the game.
Samuel received the ball just inside Albion’s penalty area, and after the striker turned his marker and drilled a low shot towards the bottom corner, the ball nestled into the net to make it 3-0 in the 82nd minute.
Murphy pulled a goal back for Albion in stoppage time, as he finished well from Brown’s perfectly-weighted through-ball, but it wasn't enough for Rusk’s team, who were unable to reach the knockout stages.
ALBION: Krul; Schelotto, Hutchinson (Cox 59), Huenemeier, Rosenior; Collar, Molumby; Tilley (Ahannach HT), Brown, Murphy; Connolly (Alzate 83).
SUBS NOT USED: McGill (GK), Kerr, Mateju, Sanders.