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Club News


7 September 2018

Brighton & Hove Albion’s under-23s played four matches during August, as they made their debut in the Premier League 2 Division 1 and remained unbeaten throughout the month.

The Seagulls had secured promotion to the top flight of under-23 football after May’s Premier League 2 Division 2 play-off final victory over Aston Villa, and Liverpool were the first opponents to arrive on the south coast.

The Reds finished second in the top flight last season, two points behind 2017/18 champions Arsenal, but Simon Rusk’s team gave the Merseyside club a run for their money at the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre.

New signings Hugo Keto and Anders Dreyer came into the side for Albion’s season opener, and the shot-stopper made a handful of fine stops, while his Danish team-mate almost sealed all three points late on.

The Seagulls created a number of opportunities against Liverpool, but after Mathias Normann’s second-half sending off, a goalless draw was a somewhat pleasing result for Rusk’s side on their top-tier debut.

Ten days later, Albion travelled to the Emirates Stadium to take on Arsenal in their opening away fixture of the campaign, and Freddie Ljungberg’s team were difficult opponents in north London.

First-team players Jason Steele, Beram Kayal, Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Jurgen Locadia all started for the Seagulls, but the hosts broke the deadlock in the 86th minute when Reiss Nelson curled home for the Gunners.

But with Albion heading towards their first defeat of the season, substitute Aaron Connolly came off the bench to equalise from close range, after Jahanbakhsh’s shot rebounded into the striker’s path in the 90th minute.

Another north London club provided the opposition for Albion in their next game, as Rusk’s team travelled to the Lamex Stadium to play Tottenham Hotspur, who had opened the season with one draw and one defeat.

The hosts enjoyed their fair share of possession at Stevenage’s ground, but Albion took the lead in the 41st minute when Normann showed excellent composure to pick out Connolly, who then crossed for Viktor Gyokeres to powerfully finish.

Spurs replied just before the hour mark through Shayon Harrison, and despite a handful of late chances, which could have seen the Seagulls snatch maximum points, it finished all square at the Lamex Stadium.

On the back of three consecutive draws, Albion welcomed league-leading Manchester City to the Broadfield Stadium on the final day of August, and it was a remarkable night for Rusk’s free-flowing side.

Despite sitting top of the league, City had conceded the most goals after three matches, and Gyokeres converted from the penalty spot to get the ball rolling, before Haydon Roberts added a second before the break.

Connolly made it 4-0 in the second half with two excellent finishes to eye-catching Albion moves, and James Tilley squeezed in a fifth goal to make it 5-0 in the closing stages, as the Seagulls recorded a breathtaking victory.

Heading into the international break, the Seagulls occupy sixth position in the league table, three points behind leaders Leicester City. Albion are also just one of two teams to remain unbeaten after four matches.

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