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Club News


1 November 2018

Paul Hazlewood
Albion under-23 striker Aaron Connolly.

The past month for Brighton & Hove Albion’s under-23s delivered a sensational comeback victory in Wales, progress to the quarter finals of the Sussex Senior Cup and an individual award for 17-goal forward Aaron Connolly.

Simon Rusk’s team began their defence of the Sussex Senior Cup against Lewes at The Dripping Pan, and with the match heading towards extra time, Josh Kerr showed composure in the 90th minute to fire the winning goal.

It gave Rusk the chance to rotate his under-23 playing squad, while also handing opportunities to a number of the club’s under-18s, including Ryan Longman, Haydon Roberts, Julien Carre and Sam Packham.

The Seagulls then travelled to Swansea looking to make up for their 2-1 defeat against Everton at the beginning of November, but Rusk’s side had a mountain to climb after going two goals behind inside the opening 16 minutes.

But just like Albion had already done on numerous occasions throughout the season, they regrouped at half-time and came out firing, and it was Connolly who got the ball rolling.

The Irishman’s brace saw Albion level the game at 2-2 inside three second-half minutes, but there was still time for Viktor Gyokeres to race through and seal three hard-earned points in the 90th minute.

Albion returned to action after a two-week break, but a third league defeat of the season was suffered when Leicester City arrived at the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre.

Despite creating numerous chances to level the game on the south coast, including Leo Ostigard’s late strike, Josh Knight’s 34th-minute header ensured the Foxes would return north with maximum points.

There was just 24 hours between Rusk’s side taking to the field again in the Sussex Senior Cup — this time a trip along the south coast to play Hastings United at The Pilot Field.

The match provided a great opportunity for some of Albion’s under-18s to shine, and it was Danny Cashman who opened the scoring to give the Seagulls a 1-0 lead at the break.

Stefan Ljubicic fired his first goals of the season to extend Albion’s adavtange to 3-0, before Longman rounded off the scoring with a ferocious strike in the closing stages to seal progress to the quarter finals.

It was also third time lucky for top goalscorer Connolly who claimed the Premier League 2 Player of the Month award for November this morning, having missed out on the award in both August and September.

The 18-year-old has been firing on all cylinders for Rusk’s team this season, and his six goals in November, three of which came against MK Dons in the Checkatrade Trophy, took his season tally to 17.

The Irishman will be looking to continue his rich vein of form in front of goal when Albion visit the Chigwell Construction Stadium on Saturday to play West Ham United — their final match of 2018.

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