- Albion are beaten 5-1 at West Bromwich Albion
- Evan Pierce gives the hosts a 1-0 lead at half-time
- Robbie McCourt, Alex Bradley, Rayhaan Tulloch and Finn Azaz add further goals
- Henrik Bjordal finds the back of the net to make it 2-1
Brighton & Hove Albion’s under-23s were unable to complete a double over West Bromwich Albion in the space of three days, as the Baggies sealed a convincing 5-1 victory at the Hawthorns this evening.
Henrik Bjordal pulled a goal back for the Seagulls at 2-0 down, but the Baggies finished strongly to take all three points, as they found the back of the net five times on a disappointing night for the Seagulls.
Simon Rusk gave an Albion debut to Dutch winger Soufyan Ahannach, while Henrik Bjordal led the line against an experienced West Brom team.
The Seagulls showed promising signs inside the opening ten minutes, with Ahannach and George Cox linking up well down the left-hand side, before James Tilley curled an effort just wide of the target.
But slightly against the run of play, the Baggies took the lead through Evan Pierce, after the striker dived to meet Claudio Yacob’s inviting cross from the right, to glance a brilliant header past Billy Collings on 12 minutes.
The experience in West Brom’s team shone through as Albion struggled to break them down, however Rusk’s team enjoyed plenty of possession, just without the end product that was needed.
Tilley latched onto Danny Mandroiu’s brilliant diagonal pass, but after cutting inside and shaping to shoot, the winger’s low-driven effort was comfortably saved.
Baggies substitute Finn Azaz created the first opportunity after the break, but the striker’s shot was deflected just wide of goal, as he looked to stamp his mark on the contest.
Ales Mateju sliced a shot wide of the target after playing a neat one-two with Bjordal, and despite Albion’s best efforts to restore parity, the task increased in difficulty on the hour mark, as the Baggies extended their lead.
Sam Field showed good feet on the edge of the box before slipping a pass into the path of Robbie McCourt, and the full-back confidently struck the ball past Collings at his near post.
But just seven minutes later, Albion halved the deficit through Bjordal, as the Norwegian striker stretched to meet a searching pass over West Brom’s defence and prodded the ball past Alex Palmer into the bottom corner.
Albion’s foothold in the game slipped away in the final 15 minutes, starting with Alex Bradley’s simple finish in the 76th minute, after Rayhaan Tulloch’s shot came back off the post and sat up nicely for the midfielder.
Will Collar was then penalised for a foul on Tulloch inside the box, and the energetic winger stepped up to confidently pick out the bottom corner from 12 yards to make it 4-1.
The hosts found time for a fifth goal, as Azaz drilled a low shot past Collings to complete the scoring and round off a disappointing evening for Rusk’s team.