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Brighton & Hove Albion players celebrate

Seagulls cruise past Pagham and into Final

Brighton & Hove Albion 6 - 0 Pagham

Brighton & Hove Albion’s under-23s advanced to the final of the Parafix Sussex Senior Challenge Cup with a 6-0 victory over Pagham at Culver Road.

Two goals in as many first-half minutes from James Tilley and Danny Cashman were added to by Daniel Mandroiu's strike, a brace from Jordan Davies and Viktor Gyokeres' close-range finish in the second period.

The first half-chance of the game saw Tilley’s free-kick curled into the wall after Aaron Connolly was brought down on the edge of the area, before Callum Overton dragged wide from distance for Pagham at the other end.

Davies then escaped two challenges and curled towards goal - but James Binfield was equal to the effort, and Hisham Kasimu scuffed wide at the other end for Pagham as both sides continued to create opportunities.

But it was Rusk’s men who took the lead on seventeen minutes. A lovely cross-field pass from Mandroiu found the run of George Cox down the left, and the defender’s pinpoint cross was cooly chested home by Tilley to give the Seagulls the advantage.

Two minutes later, another great delivery from Mandroiu found Cashman at the far post, and the forward calmly volleyed home to double Albion’s lead.

Billy Collings was then called into action when the lively Kasimu won a foot race against Tom Dallison, and the Seagulls stopper spread himself well at his near post to thwart the striker.

The remainder of the half saw the Seagulls retain both possession and their lead comfortably, with Connolly's chipped effort forcing Binfield into a routine stop and Owen Moore clearing off the Albion goal line at the other end as the first-half came to a close.

Josh Kerr drew Binfield into a smart close-range stop at the start of the second period when the central defender met Mandroiu's free-kick at the near post, and Tilley surged towards goal and forced the Pagham keeper into another save from a narrow angle.

A well-worked corner from the Seagulls then ended with Mandroiu rattling the crossbar, before Connolly's lob sailed over after the Irish forward had run in-behind the defence as Albion started the half in control.

But Mandroiu wasn't to be denied getting on the scoresheet, and he scored his sides third on fifty five minutes.

The influential midfielder picked up the ball on the edge of the area and stylishly worked himself some space before firing low and in off the far post past Binfield to all but end the game as a contest.

Gyokeres then replaced Jayden Onen on fifty nine minutes in Albion's first change, and the Seagulls would score their fourth of the evening soon after.

Moore's inviting cross from the right was headed back across goal by Connolly, and Davies was on hand to volley home to extend the lead.

Connolly then made way for Henrik Bjordal in Albion's final switch, and Davies would soon get his second and the Seagulls' fifth of the night with fifteen minutes left on the clock.

Cox marauded down the left wing once more and sent in another dangerous delivery, and the midfielder was on-hand to knock the ball home after Binfield had parried it into his path.

Two of the home side's substitutes then combined to make it six, as Bjordal twisted into space and floated the ball to the back post for Gyokeres to apply a simple finish.

The Swedish striker then rattled the crossbar having been played in by Bjordal as the visitors began to tire, and Rusk's men kept up their dominance until the end to reach the cup final.

(A selection of photographs can be found on Facebook - courtesy of Simon Roe Photography)

Stats: (Brighton & Hove Albion-Pagham)
Goals: 6-0; Shots: 18-13; Shots-on-target: 12-5, Fouls: 4-10; Offside: 5-0; Corners: 2-6; Yellow cards: 1-3; Red cards: 0-0.

Brighton & Hove Albion: Collings, Moore, Cox, Davies, Kerr, Dallison ©, Tilley, Mandrioui, Connolly, Cashman, Onen.
Substitutes: Gyokeres, Sanchez, O’Hara, Bjordal, Alzate.

Pagham: Binfield, Wiggins, Wollers, Davidson, Booker, Horncastle ©, Thurgar, Chick, Kasimu, Rowlett, Overton.
Substitutes: Van Driel, Bingham, Kilhams, Hawker, Parkinson.

Match report by Alex Stedman