Brighton U23’s Ryan Longman tore Tottenham apart in a ruthless second half performance that saw the young Albion get back to winning ways.
Brighton hosted Spurs U23’s at the Amex on Friday night (September 27) and won 4-1 after a brace from Longman and goals from Danny Cashman and Lorent Tolaj to complete the rout.
Longman said after the game, “Tonight, I could’ve got a hattrick. It was a great performance from the team. Second half we came out strong and finished the game off.”
It was Tottenham who started the game the better after Brighton sat back and didn’t get stuck into the North London side enough.
The first chance came when Spurs’ striker Rodel Richards was played into feet, after some sharp movement up front to get away from his man, and his third touch inside the box saw a left-footed effort rattle back off the Brighton crossbar.
Richards came again and made no mistake this time. Tricky play down the right hand side from Spurs’ number 10, Tashan Oakley-Boothe, saw him nutmeg full-back James Furlong and produce a deft pass that beat three Albion defenders to tee up Richards, who coolly slotted past Hugo Keto into the far corner.
Brighton looked timid and were second in every department in the first 30 minutes. Manager Simon Rusk got into his players from the touchline and demanded his men get up the pitch.
Jack Leahy heard his manager and sparked Brighton into life.
Leahy harassed the Spurs’ player on the edge of the box until that ball was his, he then squared it to Danny Cashman who found Longman, he sized his man up, ran at him and drilled a clever effort into the ground which looped over Jonathan De Bie in the Spurs goal in the 36th minute.
The Albion came flying out of the traps in the second half and went ahead in the 48th minute. Furlong bombed forward from left-back and picked out Leahy who cut in on his right foot, leaving two Spurs players in their tracks, and fired a low diagonal pass into Cashman, the number 10 opened his body up and diverted the ball into the net from six yards out.
Brighton had the bit between their teeth and won the ball back in the middle of the park which saw Cashman latch on to it and sweep a pass out to Longman who, from 35 yards out, ran at his man and unleashed a rocket from the edge of the box that flew past De Bie to make it 3-1 in the 62nd minute.
Like a pack of wild dogs Brighton won the ball back in the middle of the park again after three, then four heavy challenges. The ball popped out to Cashman who ran at his man and delayed, and delayed, until he guided an Ozil-esque pass for Longman’s cutting edge run in behind the Spurs defense. Longman glided on to the ball and selflessly squared it back to substitute Laurent Tolaj who had the goal at his mercy and put the final nail in the Spurs coffin to complete the 4-1 rout. A goal that summed up the second half performance for Brighton.
Manager Simon Rusk said after the game, “Really good win. I thought it was a test of character because we’ve had a couple of tricky games with results that we didn’t quite want, so I think to bounce back and get the win when we’ve had such a change in playing personnel this week, credit to the players. I’m pleased they got the win and I think they deserved it.
“Listen you can’t look past Ryan Longman’s contribution in the game. But I think really it’d be wrong of me to not acknowledge the team element tonight. I probably wouldn’t want to single out anyone individually because I think as a collective team they had a really good work ethic and it’s what I’m focusing on here and now. The team spirit and the desire levels were where they needed to be and we had moments of quality as well. It was the team performance that pleased me tonight.”
At half-time Rusk said to his players, “We have got to stay in the game. It’s 1-1, the next goal might change the pattern and momentum of everything, luckily enough we got it. Just keep trying to improve in our accuracy of play, stay brave on the ball, work hard and defend well. And if we get a moment of opportunity, can we take it? As it turned out, that’s what happened tonight.”