Our men’s under-18s pulled off a stunning 4-2 victory over league leaders Fulham on Saturday in a rollercoaster occasion at The Amex Elite Football Performance Centre.
Albion had won one of their opening eight league games, while the Cottagers sat top of the tree with seven wins from eight.
A trio of Albion goals in 11 first-half minutes set Inigo Calderon’s side on their way to victory. Fulham keeper Dino Kaiser brought down Remiero Moulton in the box for a penalty after 29 minutes, which Joe Knight calmly rolled into the bottom right corner.
Four minutes later Albion doubled their advantage. Charlie Tasker’s low cross was played back by Nehemiah Oriola into the path of Harry Mills to slot home, before Knight’s half cleared cross was smashed home by Oriola to make it 3-0 before half-time.
It wasn’t smooth sailing in the second half as Albion suffered what could have been a game-turning ten seconds shortly after the restart. Farhaan Ali Wahid pulled one back for his team with a tap-in at the back post and almost immediately after Albion got the game going again, Corbin Mthunzi was shown a straight red card for bringing down a Fulham player when through on goal.
Albion’s youngsters more than showed their resilience though as they added to their lead with 20 minutes to play. Aidan West was rewarded for his commitment to closing down Kaiser in the Fulham goal, blocking the stopper’s clearance and smashing the ball in from a yard to restore the hosts’ three goal advantage.
Ali Wahid added to his tally for the day with a rocket into the top left corner, but Albion held on for their second victory of the Premier League South campaign.
Calderon said, “I think we were in a good moment the last few weeks in sessions, but in games we haven’t been able to stick at it for 90 minutes.
“But against Fulham we were at it for 75 minutes and that was enough – we were really good in the first half. It was great to go in at half-time 3-0 up against them top of the table team.
“That means you’re doing something right and the players have been really good even when they haven’t got the result, they’ve believed that their work will come good and for me, as their coach, I am really proud of them.
“They deserved that because everyone is working so hard. They were against the team that is top of the league and that makes you even happier.
“It’s frustrating in a way because the two league games we’ve won so far this season we’ve had a player or two sent off. But it’s been a good lesson.”