- Albion come from behind to win 3-2 against Stoke City
- Ryan Hill and Tre Pemberton put the hosts 2-0 ahead
- Max Sanders and Aaron Connolly hit back to make it 2-2
- Jayson Molumby fires the winning goal for the Seagulls
An outstanding five-minute turnaround from Brighton & Hove Albion’s under-23s sealed all three points against Stoke City at the Bet365 Stadium, as they came back from two goals down to win 3-2 this afternoon.
Goals either side of half-time from Ryan Hill and Tre Pemberton put the Potters 2-0 up, but quick-fire strikes from Max Sanders, Aaron Connolly and Jayson Molumby swung the game on its head, as Albion secured back-to-back league victories.
Simon Rusk handed Christian Walton a return to action, after the goalkeeper returned to the club from Wigan Athletic due to injury, while there was also a place in the starting line-up for Accrington Stanley loanee Tyler Forbes.
The Seagulls found themselves trailing after just three minutes, as Stoke won possession and Hill was allowed the the time and space to arrive inside the penalty area and slot home from 12 yards.
Albion reacted positively after going a goal behind, with some good link-up play between George Cox and Soufyan Ahannach leading to a free-kick, but the Dutchman fired his effort straight into the wall.
Connolly then forced Stoke goalkeeper Josef Bursik into a smart save low down, and with the ball rebounding to James Tilley inside the box, the winger could only lash into the side-netting.
Rusk’s team produced some fluid spells of possession, stringing together 20-plus passes on occasions, but Molumby’s deflected effort from 25 yards was parried away from goal.
The ball dropped to Dessie Hutchinson after a sequence of Albion corners, but Connolly’s back-post header from his compatriot’s cross was blocked in front of goal.
Molumby then had two chances to put the Seagulls in front, firstly shooting narrowly over from 25 yards, before the midfielder benefited from some brilliant play involving Ahannach, Cox and Connolly, but his low-driven attempt stung the hands of Bursik.
The Potters’ shot-stopper continued to be the busier goalkeeper, as he tipped over from Max Sanders, before holding onto Connolly’s low shot, as the Irishman swivelled to shoot from 12 yards.
Walton was called into action shortly before the break, as he saved well with his feet at the front post from Tyrese Campbell’s low shot from a narrow angle.
The Seagulls made a confident start to the second half but fell further behind against the run of play, as Ahannach’s pass was intercepted in the middle of the park, before Pemberton cut inside and drilled a low shot into the bottom corner on 62 minutes.
But seven minutes later, Sanders dealt the first blow in a brilliant comeback from Rusk’s team, as the midfielder showed great composure to twice fool his marker and bend a wonderful effort beyond Bursik to make it 2-1.
The hosts were stunned inside the next minute as Albion drew level. A searching pass from Cox found Ahannach at the back post, and the Dutchman laid the ball across the box for Connolly to prod home from a couple of yards.
The incredible comeback was complete in the 74th minute when Molumby showed confidence on the ball, broke forward from midfield and bent a fine effort past Bursik from the edge of the penalty area.
Stoke struggled to muster any clear-cut chances in the closing stages, and Rusk’s team comfortably held on to their narrow lead to seal an impressive away victory and strong show of character.
ALBION: Walton; Forbes (Moore 60), Collar, Hutchinson, Cox; Molumby, Sanders; Tilley, Alzate, Ahannach; Connolly (Ajiboye 89).
SUBS NOT USED: Vose (GK), Kerr, J.Davies.