- Albion secure an impressive 2-0 win at Newcastle United
- Aaron Connolly slots home to put the Seagulls ahead
- Tyler Forbes adds a second after the break
- Billy Collings makes a string of fine saves in the north east
An excellent team performance saw Brighton & Hove Albion’s under-23s secure a much-deserved 2-0 victory over Newcastle United in the Premier League 2 Division 2 at the Northumberland FA this evening.
Aaron Connolly put the Seagulls in front in the opening stages of the game, before Tyler Forbes scored to make the game more comfortable in the second half, to ensure all three points would be coming back to Sussex.
It was a brilliant collective effort from Simon Rusk’s side in the north east - as they frustrated their opponents throughout and took their chances in front of goal to secure a third successive win in all competitions.
Max Sanders made Albion’s intentions clear inside the opening two minutes, but his strike from 20 yards sailed straight into the hands of Newcastle goalkeeper Nathan Harker.
Billy Collings was then called into action up the other end, and the Albion shot-stopper made a crucial save at point-blank range to deny Owen Gallacher, as he moved forward to smother the striker’s shot.
The deadlock was broken a minute later, and it was Connolly who benefitted from some hesitant defending inside Newcastle’s penalty area, as he controlled a cross from Forbes and cooly slotted home to put Albion 1-0 ahead.
Rusk’s team made a composed start to the game and defended well to quickly quash any sign of a Newcastle attack, while looking dangerous on the break with Connolly’s pace causing problems.
Tom Dallison was next to try his luck for the Seagulls, as the ball dropped kindly for the defender on the edge of the penalty area, but his goal-bound effort deflected over the crossbar for a corner.
Albion continued to work well as a team, holding their shape and frustrating their opponents - with Collings going untested after Gallacher’s early shot, as Rusk’s team held their lead at the break.
The hosts showed improvements at the start of the second half, but Albion were again the more dangerous side in front of goal, as Harker pulled off a fine stop from close range to deny Connolly’s powerful half-volley.
Collings then made a comfortable save to his left-hand side to prevent Jack Hunter from levelling the game - and Newcastle’s task became even tougher in the 65th minute when Albion struck again.
Harker parried a long-range shot into the path of Forbes, whose first effort was saved, but the ball bounced straight back to the Albion winger and he tapped home from a couple of yards to extend the lead.
Sanders tested Harker with a curling effort from 25 yards, before Albion were forced into their second substitution of the game, following an injury to Archie Davies which saw him removed from the action.
Jamie Sterry came close to pulling a goal back for the Magpies in the closing stages, before Harker denied Sanders from adding a third with a good save low down.
There was still time for Collings to make a terrific double save in stoppage time to protect Albion's clean sheet - and the referee blew the full-time whistle soon after to conclude a positive night for the Seagulls.
ALBION: Collings; Mateju (Moore 60), Hall, Dallison, Cox; Sanders, A.Davies (Tilley 74); Forbes, Bjordal, Alzate; Connolly.
Subs not used: McGill (GK), J.Davies, Ajiboye.