- Albion seal an impressive 3-0 win over Middlesbrough
- Viktor Gyokeres, Henrik Bjordal and Ben Barclay score the goals
- Tom Brewitt sees red late on for the hosts
- The Seagulls climb into third position in the league table
Brighton & Hove Albion’s under-23s produced another stunning display to move into third position in the Premier League 2 Division 2, as they claimed a 3-0 victory over play-off rivals Middlesbrough at Heritage Park this evening.
Goals from Viktor Gyokeres, Henrik Bjordal and Ben Barclay stretched Albion’s unbeaten run to nine matches, and Simon Rusk’s team have just three matches remaining to secure a place in the top five.
Albion made a bright start to the contest with Steven Alzate breaking from midfield on a few occasions, but after he nutmegged his marker in the middle of the park, the break broke down as Boro cleared Ales Mateju’s eventual cross.
But the Seagulls did take the lead after just nine minutes, and the goal was brilliantly worked from the right wing, as Max Sanders whipped a cross to Bjordal at the back post, before the Norwegian rolled back for Gyokeres to lash into the bottom corner.
Luke Armstrong then headed wide at the front post for the hosts, before Tom Dallison intercepted a dangerous cross from the left wing, as Hayden Coulson looked to find his team-mate inside the penalty area.
Albion continued to look dangerous on the break and doubled their lead on the half-hour mark when another stunning pass from Sanders started a move - Gyokeres clashed with a defender, but Bjordal was on hand to pick up the ball and fire home from close range.
Sanders then swapped roles with James Tilley, with the Albion winger becoming the provider from the right wing, and when the midfielder brought down his team-mate’s teasing cross, the angle tightened and his low cross was blocked behind for a corner.
Aaron Connolly almost extended the lead further on the stroke of half-time, but the Irishman’s first-time effort, after latching onto a searching pass over the Boro defence, was parried away from goal by Zach Hemming.
Rusk’s side returned for the second half and it was more of the same - organised, attacking football, which would result in a third goal for the Seagulls in the 55th minute.
Sanders floated a corner towards the back post, and with Barclay positioned in plenty of space, the defender took his time to guide a header back across goal, past Hemming and into the Boro net.
Albion’s pressure refused to wither and Connolly looked set to fire at goal after playing a one-two with Bjordal - but the Irishman couldn’t get the ball out of his feet and Hemming rushed forward to sweep up.
Brewitt then headed wide of the mark from a Boro corner, and it proved to be one of his final contributions, as the defender was given his marching orders for a mistimed challenge on Connolly with ten minutes remaining.
Bjordal almost made it four in the closing stages, as he found space with a clever Cruyff turn and drilled a low shot at goal, but Robbie Tinkler rushed back to make a vital clearance on the goal line.
Alzate saw a low-driven effort roll just wide of the upright in the closing stages, but the scoreline remained at 3-0 and Albion secured a third successive away victory in the league without conceding a goal.
ALBION: Sanchez; Mateju, Barclay (Moore 68), Dallison, Cox; Tilley (Mandroiu 76), Alzate, Sanders, Bjordal; Connolly, Gyokeres (J.Davies 82).
SUBS NOT USED: Collings (GK), Moore, Kerr, J.Davies, Mandroiu.