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Match Reports

U23 REPORT: ALBION NARROWLY BEATEN IN SEASON CLOSER

3 May 2019

Paul Hazlewood
Ryan Longman fires home against Chelsea on the south coast.
  • Albion are beaten 2-1 by Chelsea
  • Richard Lamptey and own goal give Chelsea victory
  • Ryan Longman levels for Albion in the first half
  • The Seagulls finish the PL2 season in third position

Brighton & Hove Albion’s under-23s ended their debut season in the Premier League 2 Division 1 in third position after a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea at the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre.

An otherwise eye-catching campaign for Simon Rusk’s team unfortunately ended with a fourth league defeat of the season — the lowest in the division — as they missed out on a second-placed finish.

Ryan Longman fired the Seagulls level after Richard Lamptey broke the deadlock for the visitors, but an own goal shortly before the interval put the Blues back in front and Albion were unable to find a second.

After a relatively quiet start to the game, Alex Cochrane picked out Jordan Davies at the back post after Max Sanders opted for a short corner, but the Welshman glanced a header inches wide of the target.

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Ben Hall then made a vital clearance from Darius Johnson’s low cross, before Chelsea skipper Luke McCormick had his team’s first notable chance of the game, but fired just wide from outside the box.

Albion were inches away from going behind when Daishwan Redan took hold of possession and tried his luck from 20 yards, but thankfully for the Seagulls his powerful effort continued to rise and clip the crossbar.

The visitors drew first blood in the 23rd minute when Billy Gilmour swung a corner towards the front post — Nartey rose to meet his team-mate’s delivery and nod the ball home from a couple of yards.

But just like the Seagulls have done on numerous occasions this season, they showed character to hit back within minutes, as Longman’s powerful shot went in off the post from Soufyan Ahannach’s low cross.

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There was plenty of quality on show, but few chances towards the end of the opening half, until another Gilmour corner caused problems and the ball ended up in the back of Albion’s net.

Rusk’s side could have found themselves further behind when Gilmour received the ball in space after Sanchez charged out to close down his team-mate, but the Chelsea midfielder fired over with just Albion bodies on the line to beat.

Longman came close to notching a second for both himself and the team in the 69th minute, but Blues shot-stopper Jamie Cumming saved with his feet at the back post after the Albion winger drilled towards the bottom corner.

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Rusk made two changes, with Bojan Radulovic and Danny Cashman coming on to provide fresh legs, and the latter almost scored with his first touch, but Cumming tipped the forward’s close-range header over the crossbar.

Chelsea then cleared the ball after a frantic goalmouth scramble, which saw Viktor Gyokeres have a header cleared off the line, and time soon ran out on the Seagulls, as they finished the season behind Everton and Arsenal in third.

ALBION: Sanchez; A.Davies, O’Hora, Hall, Cochrane; Sanders, Molumby; Ahannach, J.Davies (Cashman 78), Longman (Radulovic 74); Gyokeres.

Subs not used: Collings (GK), Tomlinson, Kazukolovas.


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