- Albion seal an impressive 3-0 win against Aston Villa
- Tyler Forbes, James Tilley and Henrik Bjordal score the goals
- Liam Rosenior, Uwe Huenemeier and Sam Baldock all play 90 minutes
- The Seagulls move to within two points of the play-off spots.
Brighton & Hove Albion’s under-23s secured an impressive victory in the Premier League 2 Division 2 this evening, as they produced a dominant display to beat Aston Villa 3-0 at the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre.
Second-half goals from Tyler Forbes, James Tilley and Henrik Bjordal sealed all three points for the Seagulls against the high-flying Villans, as added experience in Albion’s side helped Simon Rusk’s team on the south coast.
The Albion under-23 coach named Liam Rosenior, Uwe Huenemeier and Sam Baldock in the starting line-up, while there was also a return for Robert Sanchez in goal.
Steven Alzate has Albion’s first opportunity of the game after cutting inside onto his right foot, but the attacker’s goal-bound effort was blocked, before Aaron Connolly sent a low cross into the hands of Villa goalkeeper Matija Sarkic.
Khalid Abdo then curled a free-kick over the crossbar from 25 yards, shortly before Connolly went down inside the penalty area and appealed for a spot kick - but the referee shook his head and waved on play.
Sanders went close with a low-driven effort from just outside the box, after Alzate found the midfielder with a clever pass - which was then followed up by a powerful drive from Villa’s Oscar Borg, that sailed just wide of the target.
Sanchez produced a brilliant save to his right-hand side when James Finnerty’s downward header looked to be creeping in at the back post, but the Spaniard made sure the deadlock remained unbroken.
Connolly delivered a low cross into the 18-yard box towards the end of the first half, and after a Villa defender intercepted, Baldock’s close-range header dropped just over the crossbar.
Albion almost took the lead when Sanders stepped up and curled a brilliant effort from 25 yards, but the midfielder’s free-kick dropped agonisingly wide of the top corner, ensuring the match remained level at the break.
Tom Dallison went close shortly after the re-start, but the defender saw his firm effort blocked in front of goal, as the Seagulls made a confident start and pressed for the opening goal.
Baldock was then unmarked in the penalty area when Connolly found the striker with a clever cutback, but the striker was unable to make the connection needed to send the ball on target from eight yards.
But just a few minutes later, some intelligent play from Baldock allowed Forbes to race through on goal, following a quickly-taken free-kick, and the winger slammed his shot beyond Sarkic into the top corner to give Albion the lead.
Forbes was then replaced by Tilley, and the substitute took no time to get involved in the action, as he added a second goal from close range in the 67rd minute, after Dallison’s powerful shot was blocked and fell to the 19-year-old.
Villa pushed for a route back into the game in the closing stages, with Jake Doyle-Hayes curling a free-kick over the crossbar - but the Seagulls were to have the last say deep into stoppage time.
A brilliant passing move which involved Rosenior and Baldock down the right wing concluded with Bjordal’s powerful finish into the bottom corner, which made it 3-0 and rounded off another positive evening for Rusk’s side.
ALBION: Sanchez; Rosenior, Huenemeier, Dallison, Cox; Sanders, Moore; Forbes (Tilley 62), Baldock, Alzate (Bjordal 85); Connolly.
Subs not used: Collings (GK), Cochrane, J.Davies.