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Match Reports


14 September 2018

Paul Hazlewood
Aaron Connolly celebrates his winning goal against West Ham United.
  • Albion seal a 2-1 victory against West Ham United
  • Grady Diangana breaks the deadlock for the Hammers
  • Viktor Gyokeres and Aaron Connolly reply for the Seagulls
  • Florin Andone plays 45 minutes at the Amex Stadium

Brighton & Hove Albion’s under-23s came from behind to grind out a 2-1 victory over West Ham United at the Amex Stadium this evening, which put Simon Rusk’s team top of the Premier League 2 Division 1.

Grady Diangana fired home to give the visitors a first-half lead, but goals after the break from Viktor Gyokeres and Aaron Connolly sealed three points and extended Albion’s unbeaten start in the league.

Florin Andone was named in Rusk’s starting line-up for the game against the Hammers, while Warren O’Hora also came into the team for his first appearance of the season.

Neither side were able to produce the quality needed to open the scoring inside the opening ten minutes of the game, as the majority of the play took place in the middle third of the pitch, despite efforts to break forward.

Connolly had the ball in the back of the net on 12 minutes, when he brilliantly helped on Alex Cochrane’s cross and saw the ball nestle in the bottom corner - but the linesman’s flag was raised for offside.

Hugo Keto was then called into action, after the Seagulls failed to clear a low cross into the six-yard box - the shot-stopper made an excellent reaction save to parry Diangana’s powerful effort away from goal.

Diangana looked a threat for the Hammers down the right flank, and his accurate finish from inside the penalty area broke the deadlock after 20 minutes, as he picked out the top corner from close range.

The visitors could have made it 2-0 soon afterwards, as Xande Silva broke forward and had just Keto to beat, but the striker’s angled effort sailed inches wide of the target to Albion’s relief.

Rusk’s team tried to work openings of their own, but the better chances continued to fall for the east London club, with Keto tipping Conor Coventry’s curling effort around the post shortly before the interval.

Albion slowly worked their way back into the game after the break, as they enjoyed more possession than their opponents, but Joseph Anang in the Hammers goal remained untested.

Joe Powell was inches away from doubling West Ham’s lead when his free-kick from 25 yards dropped the wrong side of the top corner, before Jordan Davies had a fierce shot blocked up the other end.

The Seagulls grew into the half and found the equalising goal they required, and it was a clinical finish from Gyokeres inside the penalty area, which saw the Swede volley into the far corner after pouncing on a loose ball.

Three minutes later and the turnaround was complete. Connolly held up the ball on the halfway line and picked out Anders Dreyer with a cross-field pass - the Dane cuts inside and whipped the ball towards the back post, where Connolly was to convert and make it 2-1.

The Irishman came agonisingly close to extending Albion’s lead and sealing his brace moments later, but his powerful scissor-kick from Archie Davies’s cross was brilliantly tipped over the crossbar by Anang.

Connolly then bent a shot just wide of the target in stoppage time, but Albion were able to claim all three points with their two second-half strikes, as they continued their impressive start to the season.

ALBION: Keto; A.Davies, Barclay, O’Hora, Cochrane; Dreyer, Normann, Collar (Tilley 70), Gyokeres; Andone (J.Davies 46), Connolly.

Subs not used: Collings (GK), Moore, Ljubicic.

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