Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Sunderland 0 (AET)
By Tim Hodges from the Amex Stadium at Falmer in Brighton
The Albion overcame Premier League Sunderland at the Amex on Tuesday evening but at what cost?
New signing Ryan Harley started in midfield, as the Albion passed the ball around with ease and seemingly not intimidated by their opposition
The Seagulls had a chance to go in front just after the quarter hour. Craig Noone picked out Craig Mackail-Smith whose shot was saved by Keiren Westwood in the Sunderland goal and Ashley Barnes could only fire the rebound wide.
Sunderland began to ease their way into the game with former Manchester United duo Wes Brown and Kieran Richardson instrumental in causing the Albion problems.
Casper Ankergren saved well from Sebastian Larsson and Richardson as the half wore on, as players such as Wes Brown and Anton Ferdinand showed their class, stifling Albion’s attempts to attack through the midfield.
It was 0-0 at half time.
Albion captain Gordon Greer failed to take to the pitch for the second half. He was replaced by Romain Vincelot.
Soon after the restart Liam Bridcutt played in Mackail-Smith only for his shot to beat Westwood but not the post.
Vincelot only lasted 20 minutes or so before being replaced by assistant player manager Mauricio Taricco. Soon after he took to the pitch Inigo Calderon appeared to have won a penalty but the referee, Andy D’Urso, instead booked the Albion full back for simulation despite the Spaniard taking a heavy fall.
It wasn’t all Albion though, as the game progressed Craig Gardner and Richardson both had great chances to win it for the Mackems, but Ankergren was equal to both attempts.
Lewis Dunk was playing well with his third central defensive partner of the night but Sunderland struggled to find a way through.
At 90 minutes it was a goal-less stalemate.
Despite the warnings about the trains the Albion faithful stayed to cheer the team on and six minutes into extra time got their reward as Mackail-Smith headed in a cross from Alan Navarro to put the Albion one up.
Sunderland got more desperate in the second period of extra time with substitutes Asamoah Gyan and Ji Dong-Won up front with Stephane Sessegnon but they could not penetrate the Albion defence.
With Kazenga LuaLua on in place of Ryan Harley the Albion had an outlet to relieve the pressure and held on to progress to the third round of the league cup for only the third time in 20 years.
Albion: Ankergren; Calderon, Greer, Dunk, Painter; Navarro; Bridcutt, Harley, Noone; Barnes, Mackail-Smith. Subs: Brezovan, Sparrow, Dicker, Vincelot, LuaLua, Taricco, Barker.
Sunderland: Westwood; Elmohamady, Ferdinand, Brown, Richardson; Cattermole, Gardner, Colback; Vaughan; Sessegnon; Larsson. Subs: Mignolet, Gyan, Wickham, Li, Bramble, Cook, Laing
Ref: Andy D’Urso (Essex)
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