It was another good performance by the Seagulls on Tuesday night, and they were rewarded with a place in the 3rd round of the EFL Cup. Making, once again, 11 changes Chris Hughton clearly wanted to give his second stringers a run out, while also wanting to learn about the potential young starts in the development squad.
It didn’t take long for one of those young stars to make an impact, when Sam Adekugbe rocketed a shot into the roof of the net after running through on goal from a Jamie Murphy pass. Kazenga LuaLua missed a absolute sitter just moments later when Murphy squared a ball across the box to him, but he hit it high over the bar. Wes Thomas got the hosts back on level terms, after capitalising on a goal line block from Adekugbe. Elvis Manu was looking lively, and had a good chance in the 2nd half to get the visitors back in front; after a long ball was well controlled by the Albion striker, his side foot effort was denied by the legs of Oxford keeper Simon Eastwood. Ollie Norwood forced Eastwood into a good save from a curling free-kick, while Manu’s latest attempt was tipped over by the Oxford stopper. LuaLua seized on a loose defensive clearance from a long ball, and powered home an unstoppable sh0t into the corner of the net. Niki Maenpaa was called into action not long after, and was thankful for the bar after a long range John Lundstram effort smashed off the bar, before Maenpaa saved another Oxford attempt after they regained possession. Manu got his 2nd Albion goal, when Norwood slipped him in after picking up possession in the Oxford half. Tomer Hemed linked up well with fellow sub Sam Baldock to score a 4th Albion goal; Baldock picked up Hemed’s flick on, and a good low cross was met by Hemed with his shot just sliding underneath Eastwood. Dan Crowley scored a beauty, when he curled the ball into the far corner from the edge of the box in the 90th minute. Game over, and Brighton progress to the third round to face Reading at home.
Maenpaa (6); Not really troubled for much of the evening, but made a good double save just after Albion had regained the lead.
Hunt (6); Good performance form the young right-back, got forward as much as he could, and was eager to support the attack.
White (6); A harder test to the one he had 2 weeks prior against Colchester, but did well enough to keep Thomas quiet for much of the evening with the help of his defensive partner.
Hunemeier (6); First game back after 8 months, and was obviously not going to be lighting up the pitch, but had a reasonably good game with White.
Adekugbe (7); Good finish on his goal, and showed he isn’t afraid to make plenty of forward runs, easy to see why Vancouver see a big future for him.
Norwood (7); Is now starting to show glimpses of the form he produced last season for Reading, passing was on point and was always looking to go forward rather than go back.
Ince (7); Sat in front of the 2 centre backs well, and swept up anything loose; still think centre-back is his preferred position.
Holla (7); Good game from the Dutchman, still not enough to convince us that he has a future here.
Murphy (7); Always wanted to get forward, and make a nuisance of himself. Put the ball on a plate for LuaLua to score, but couldn’t get it on target.
Manu (7); He might be starting to drift his way back into Hughton’s plans, and another goal is obviously going to help.
LuaLua (7); Thunderbolt of a goal, and had a generally good game except his horror miss.
Hemed (6); Well taken goal, bit lucky, but they all count.
Baldock (5); Not on for long, but didn’t need much time in setting up his strike partner.
Tilley (N/A); No time to make an impact.
OUFC - BHAFC; Thomas (28), Crowley (90); Adekugbe (2), LuaLua (76), Manu (81), Hemed (85);
Att; 3,189 (677 Brighton)