- Albion are held to a 2-2 draw by Blackburn Rovers
- Beram Kayal scores on his return to action
- Tim Krul, Jiri Skalak and Sam Baldock also feature
- Willem Tomlinson is sent off for the visitors
Brighton & Hove Albion’s under-23s were held to a 2-2 draw against ten-man Blackburn Rovers, as a number of first-team players featured on a frustrating evening at the Amex.
Beram Kayal cancelled out Joe Nuttall’s opening goal, before the striker restored Blackburn’s lead, but James Tilley struck in the second half to ensure the Seagulls would take a share of the spoils.
There was a frantic start to the game, with three goals in the opening ten minutes, and Blackburn took the lead after just seven minutes, as Joseph Nuttall pounced on a loose ball inside the box and swept home.
Just two minutes later, the Seagulls were level through Kayal, when the Israeli midfielder fired a powerful shot past Andrew Fisher from the edge of the penalty area, to announce his return from injury.
But Albion weren’t level for long, as the visitors retook the lead in under 60 seconds, as Nuttall was sent racing through on goal before scooping the ball over Tim Krul to secure his brace and Blackburn’s second.
The striker almost claimed a hat-trick when he arrived late in the penalty area to meet a cross, but his first-time effort sailed straight into the hands of Krul, who managed to hold on.
Nuttall had another chance to score a third, after Josh Kerr was dispossessed out wide, but Krul raced out to deny the striker, before Joseph Rankin-Costello’s shot was claimed by Albion’s Dutch shot-stopper.
After great approach play from James Tilley, Steven Alzate received the ball inside the box, but after cutting inside onto his left foot, the forward’s fierce drive was blocked in front of goal.
Sam Baldock then had his first opportunity of the game, as his clever run to the front post was found by Ales Mateju’s accurate cross, but the striker’s glancing header looped over the crossbar.
The visitors were reduced to ten men five minutes before the break, as Willem Tomlinson was sent off for a late challenge on Jiri Skalak, before Baldock came agonisingly close to levelling the scores on two occasions.
But it took Albion just six minutes to restore parity in the second half, as Tilley’s inswinging cross from the right wing caught out Fisher and found the top corner to make it 2-2.
Baldock almost put the Seagulls in front when he met George Cox’s brilliant cross into the danger zone, but the striker’s first-time effort rose over the crossbar from close range, before himself and Kayal were substituted on the hour mark.
In a rare second-half attack from the visitors, Nuttall almost wrapped up his hat-trick, but Kerr positioned himself well to make a vital block in front of goal from the striker’s powerful shot.
With just under ten minutes remaining, Albion came close to going in front for a first time, as Skalak’s corner was helped on by a Blackburn defender, but Fisher dived to his left-hand side to make an important save.
Alzate then bent a left-footed shot inches wide of the target from close range, before Rankin-Costello’s looping header dropped narrowly wide of Krul’s left-hand upright at the other end.
Albion pushed for a winning goal in the closing stages, but had to settle for a point at the Amex, as their search for another league victory continues.
ALBION: Krul; Mateju, Hutchinson, Kerr (Moore 79), Cox; Kayal (Sanders 60), Collar, Skalak; Baldock (Connolly 60), Alzate, Tilley.
SUBS NOT USED: Sanchez (GK), Ahannach.