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Match Reports

U23 REPORT: ASTON VILLA 1 ALBION 0

25 September 2017

Ales Mateju in action for Albion's under-23s at Villa Park.
  • Albion are narrowly beaten 1-0 at Villa Park
  • James Tilley and Max Sanders strike the crossbar
  • Jordan Lyden breaks the deadlock late on
  • The Seagulls travel to Sunderland on Friday in the Premier League Cup

Despite having plenty of the ball and creating a number of good opportunities, Brighton & Hove Albion’s under-23s were narrowly beaten 1-0 against Aston Villa at Villa Park this evening.

Jordan Lyden struck the winning goal in the closing stages for the Villans, after the Seagulls went close on numerous occasions, but couldn’t find their own breakthrough on a frustrating evening for Simon Rusk’s team.

Rusk welcomed back a number of players who were on first-team duty in the Carabao Cup last week, while goalkeeper Robert Sanchez returned from injury.

Henrik Bjordal went close for Albion inside the opening stages of the game, as the Norwegian stretched to meet James Tilley’s dangerous set-piece delivery, but his prodded effort rolled narrowly wide of the post.

George Cox then found Soufyan Ahannach with a defence-splitting pass, but the winger’s angled shot was well saved by Villa goalkeeper Matija Sarkic at his near post.

Albion continued to create the majority of the chances, with Bjordal’s scuffed shot finding the arms of Sarkic, before Steven Alzate tested the Villa shot-stopper from just outside the penalty area.

Corey Blackett-Taylor almost caught out Sanchez with a dangerous in-swinging cross from the left wing, but the Albion goalkeeper managed to keep hold of the ball, despite being under pressure from Villa's attackers.

Tilley came closest to breaking the deadlock in the opening half, as his curling left-footed effort crashed back off the crossbar after intelligent build-up play from Alzate and Will Collar.

Alzate then had a fine chance open the scoring, but after surging forward and beating his marker, the forward’s powerful shot rose over the crossbar from just inside the box.

The former Leyton Orient man replicated almost the same chance  shortly before the break, and there was still time for Soufyan Ahannach to bend a shot agonisingly wide of Sarkic’s left-hand post on the stroke of half-time.

Villa defender Easah Sulman rolled narrowly wide of Sanchez’s left-hand post at the start of the second half, before Dessie Hutchinson’s well-controlled half-volley sailed straight into the hands of Sarkic.

After being relatively untested inside the opening hour, Sanchez was called into action with a brilliant reaction save to push away Harry McKirdy’s powerful shot, moments before Blackett-Taylor fired inches wide.

The Seagulls found the crossbar for a second time moments after Max Sanders came off the bench, with the midfielder curling a delicate shot onto the woodwork from inside the box.

However, after being second best for most of the game, the hosts opened the scoring through Lyden in the 83rd minute, as the Villa captain poked the ball past Sanchez from close range.

Tilley glanced a header just wide of the post from Ahannach’s inswinging cross in the closing stages, but the West Midlands club managed to hold on for all three points.


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