Ruth: We showed our resilience in draw with Newcastle

Our under-21s continued their fine start to the season with a 1-1 draw with the Magpies on Saturday.

By Richie Mills • 25 September 2023

By Paul Hazlewood
Mark O'Mahony has scored in every single one of Albion's Premier League 2 matches so far this season.

Under-21 boss Shannon Ruth says his side's faith in their footballing philosophy was key to their late equaliser against Newcastle United.

Albion looked to be heading to only their second defeat of the season following Lewis Miley's first-half goal but Mark O'Mahony's sumptuous flick in the 97th-minute secured a 1-1 draw against the ten-man Magpies.

While they weren't at their best for long periods, Ruth was pleased his players dug in and stuck to their principles to pick up a point on Saturday at the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre.

"A big thing around the philosophy [at Brighton] is you absolutely have to believe in it. Any doubt in it from anybody can cause it to break down," he said.

"I was pleased with the sheer commitment to how we play, the spaces we try to exploit, and how we try to score goals. The players were quite resilient in that and kept going with wave after wave of attacks and eventually they got their reward."

By Paul Hazlewood
Shannon Ruth's team are seventh in Premier League 2 after five games played.

Albion, who played Aston Villa's under-21s on September 15 and Shrewsbury Town four days later, weren't firing on all cylinders for much of the contest, and had it not been for Lucas De Bolle receiving a second yellow card in the 56th minute, the game could have got away from them. But a more attack-minded approach in the second half paid dividends.

"I thought we were flat in the first half," Ruth continued. "The players looked a little bit tired after their third game in eight days. I didn't enjoy the energy early on. I thought Newcastle imposed themselves pretty well on what we were trying to do," said Ruth.

"We had a couple of nice patterns of play but I didn't think we were our normal energetic selves. It took us a while to wake up and they [Newcastle] were winning the first and second balls.

"But we had a good chat at half time, made some adaptations to the build-up, and tried to add a bit more width to the team with both full-backs pushing on.

"Them going down to ten men helped us but I thought we finished really strong from 55 minutes onwards. I am really proud of the players for how they kept going. When you miss a lot of chances you can give up but they kept going and a point was the least we deserved."

Ruth was also thrilled to see O'Mahony, who signed from Cork City in January, get on the scoresheet again - in what was the 18-year-old's fifth goal of the season.

By Paul Hazlewood
Mark O'Mahony's lovely flick found the back of the net for his sixth of the league season.

"Mark is in a really good place, he is in a positive run of form, he is scoring goals, and he has been a really positive signing for us.

"He's been with us for eight months or so now, he seems to be settled, he is very comfortable with how we play, and that enables him to be in the right places at the right time. He is a really good finisher and as long as we create the right types of chances he will score goals."

Next up, Albion are once again in Premier League 2 action when they face Derby County on Friday, followed by Valencia in the Premier League International Cup on October 4.

"The week's work will be really important to us. We've not had that for a little while so to get a good bit of work in in preparation for that game will be important," added Ruth. 

"Derby is always a difficult place to go but I am lucky as I have 20 players who are all fit and will be working hard in the week to be selected.

"We will go into Derby with half an eye on Valencia the following Wednesday, so the games come thick and fast. The players were disappointed only to get a draw on Saturday so I expect a good reaction from them at Derby."