BHA brush aside Shoreham to win Shield


Brighton & Hove Albion's under-23s started the season as they ended the last with victory in a county cup competition.

But after it took three goals in extra-time to see off fellow Sussex professionals Crawley Town in the Parafix Sussex Senior Challenge Cup in May, it was a much more one-sided affair in the Sussex Community Shield as they brushed aside Shoreham 7-0.

Simon Rusk's young charges looked every inch the stars in waiting they hope to be although Sammy Donnelly's Shoreham side deserve credit for keeping some kind of lid on the scoreline after turning around trailing 5-0.

And after failing to muster a single effort on target in the first 45 minutes, they fashioned two good chances in the first six minutes of the second-half before the young pros resumed normal service. However, even then the Musselmen managed to restrict them to just two more goals.

Rusk was pleased enough that his team showed plenty of true quality although it was never going to be too much of a contest. And as Donnelly pointed out: "There was no disgrace tonight and while we still need a few more players, we just have to regroup and go again."

Certainly Shoreham are unlikely to face the quality they encountered at Culver Road despite elevation to Isthmian football for the first time in their 135-year history.

The game was played in aid of the Sussex County FA's Benevolent Fund but the Albion showed little benevolence towards their opponents from the opening whistle.

The well timed runs of Aaron Connolly had Shoreham in trouble from the start as Albion produced three shots on target before the No. 9 opened the scoring on five minutes, bursting clear and expertly rounding keeper James Broadbent.

James Tilley had already tested Broadbent with a free-kick before giving the keeper little chance with an excellent dead ball curler on 18 minutes.

There then followed an explosive minute as Albion midfielder Dan Mandroiu was the subject of a crunching tackle by Musselmen skipper Lee Denyer and then responded almost immediately with a reckless challenge that brought him and Shoreham's Alex Laing yellow cards.

Thankfully tempers cooled after that although on 24 minutes Denyer conceded a penalty for foul on Steven Alzate, who duly converted for 3-0.

Two goals in as many minutes followed before half-time, with Albion playmaker Max Saunders wriggling free before unleashing a thumping drive inside the far post and then Mandroiu had something to smile about as he crafted and finished a neat move inside the box.

Shoreham made a couple of changes at half-time and less than two minutes into the second-half Laing tested keeper Billy Collings for the first and only time in the match with a well struck drive from a short free-kick.

Soon after Evan Archibald set up an excellent chance for Tom Caplin but the finish was high and wide.

For the rest of the half it was Shoreham having to do most of the defending despite Rusk taking the opportunity to make changes.

Substitute Jordan Davies took less than four minutes to make his presence felt as he prospered from an excellent through ball by Saunders and midway through the half Alzate bagged his second when he followed up a shot by the impressive Tyler Forbes.

Shoreham keeper Broadbent pulled off some good saves in the second-half, notably two in rapid succession before his skipper Denyer saw red for a second bookable offence six minutes from time.

(Photographs from the match can be found on Facebook - courtesy of Simon Roe Photography)

Stats: (Brighton & Hove Albion-Shoreham)
Goals: 7-0; Shots: 27-3; Shots-on-target: 16-1; Corners: 1-0; Fouls: 7-8; Offside: 3-1; Bookings: 1-2; Red cards: 0-1.      

Brighton & Hove Albion: Collings; Forbes, O'Sullivan, Hutchinson (Collar 65), Hall (Kerr 69), Dallison, Tilley (A. Davies 56), Mandroiu (J. Davies 56), Connelly, Saunders, Alzate.
Unused sub: Sanchez.

Shoreham: Broadbent; Packer, Hand, Caplin (Craddock 76), Denyer, Watson, Laing, Myers, Archibald (Nayee 80), Rudwick (Donaldson 45), Godson (Gathern 45).
Unused sub: Proto.

Attendance: 394.

Match report by Chris Francis

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