Shrimpers sunk by young Seagulls

Southend United 0 – 2 Brighton & Hove Albion Under-21’s Football League Trophy, Group C

Southend are all but out of this tournament after Brighton’s youngsters won comfortably on a rainy Tuesday night, with second-half Taylor Richards and Warren O’Hora strikes comfortably seeing the plucky Seagulls home.

Stand-in boss, Gary Waddock rang the changes from Saturday’s meek Accrington Stanley reverse, with a nine new faces from the weekend’s starting line-up.

On a greasy surface, and despite the raft of changes, Southend, with fit-again Timothee Dieng pulling the midfield strings, played some good football. His 26th minute pass freed up Stephen McLaughlin, who was unlucky to see his powerful effort fly inches wide.

Equally, these young Premier League wanabees looked good in possession and the recalled Joe O’Shaughnessy had to do well to force Ryan Longman into shooting wide.

However, the Shrimpers’ lively Layton Ndukwu did a good job in leading the line, in the absence of regulars Simon Cox and Charlie Kelman.

Having shot just wide on 34 minutes, the youngster set free by a fine 40th minute Sam Mantom through ball, but fluffed his lines by horribly slicing into the 44-strong travelling supporters.

Albion upped the tempo after the interval, but were gifted the opening goal. There seemed no danger when Rob Kiernan slipped, on 50 minutes. Still facing a considerable task, Richards cut in, beat his marker and cleverly netted at Nathan Bishop’s near post.

Seconds later the Seagulls nearly doubled their lead when an all-too-familiar defensive mix-up allowed Ryan Longman a sight of goal. Fortunately, for Southend, the youngster pulled his shot wide.

Southend hit back with the soon to be replaced, McLaughlin, almost levelling, but saw Warren O’Hora deny the Irishman a certain goal.

Waddock made a double substitution, on the hour, introducing Emile Acquah and Terrell Egbri – no doubt saving both seniors, McLaughlin and Dieng for Saturday’s must-win Gillingham trip.

And, it was Acquah, with his first meaningful effort, who was again denied by the impressive O’Hora as the Blues sought to rescue something from an increasingly frustrating evening.

Fellow sub, Egbri, didn’t disappoint, either. A rasping 77th minute left-foot 25-yarder beat Albion keeper, Jason Steele, but rebounded back off his far post.

Albion sealed the win, with nine minutes remaining, when man-of-the-match, O’Hora flicked home an Archie Davies flag-kick into an unguarded area of Nathan Bishop’s goal.

Two should have been three, on 84 minutes, when the visitor’s Longman set sub., Bojan Radulovic clean through, but Bishop did enough to force the Serbian striker to shoot narrowly wide.

Stephen Humphrys’ late introduction failed to make much of a difference as Southend now need group rivals Leyton Orient to beat AFC Wimbledon and take points off the Dons, themselves, next month.

Southend United: Nathan Bishop, Jason Demetriou, Rob Kiernan, Joe O’Shaughnessy, Andre Blackman, Luke Hyam, Sam Mantom (capt), Timothee Dieng (Emile Acquah 61), Stephen McLaughlin (Terrell Egbri 60), Layton Ndukwu (Stephen Humphrys 73), Brandon Goodship. Subs: Mark Oxley, Elvis Bwomono, Ethan Hamilton, Richard Taylor.

Brighton & Hove Albion U21’s: Jason Steele, Archie Davies, Warren O’Hora, Haydon Roberts, Alex Cochrane (capt), Peter Gwargis (Bojan Radulovic 62), Teddy Jenks, Tudor Baluta, Taylor Richards (Danny Cashman 77), Jordan Davies, Ryan Longman. Subs: Hugo Keto, Lewis Freestone, Romaric Yapi, Jack Spong, Jack Leahy.

Referee: Sam Purkiss

Assistants: Michael Webb, Nicholas Cooper

Fourth Official: Paul Yates.

Attendance: 641


Rowland Lyons