By Tim Hodges
Brighton & Hove Albion 4 Colchester United 0
Albion progressed to the second round of the League Cup with a convincing win with a virtual second string team.
There were a few clear first-half chances for each team, including a Jamie Murphy effort cleared off the line.
Sammie Szmodics and Denny Roberts had chances for the U’s well dealt with by Nikki Maenpaa.
The game came to life after the interval. The Finnish goalkeeper Maenpaa and Dutchman Elvis Manu were both making long overdue full Amex debuts.
For Colchester, ex-Albion midfielder Doug Loft, who played for the club from 2006-08, and Brennan Dickenson, who the Seagulls signed from Dorchester in 2012 but who failed to make any impact, were in midfield. Loft scored against Stoke City in Albion’s biggest home reverse for over 30 years when, already relegated, they lost 5-1 at Withdean in May 2006.
Captain for the night Sam Baldock opened the scoring for the Albion after good work from Kazenga LuaLua on 64 minutes.
More good work from LuaLua set up Jamie Murphy who angled a shot home from 12 yards a short while later.
Then on 75 minutes Baldock turned supplier, as his sharp run and cross fell to Manu, who slotted home his first Albion goal. It marked something of a turnaround for Manu, who appeared so far out of favour recently, one wondered if he would be allocated a squad number.
Another forgotten man, Danny Holla, had a fairly sound game in midfield and a couple of speculative shots.
Four minutes from the end Murphy got his second and Albion’s fourth.
The night was about debuts, with Sam Adekugbe, Ben White, Rob Hunt and recent signing Ollie Norwood all making theirs. The latter was booked.
Albion march on to round 2. More importantly they take on Nottingham Forest at the Amex on Friday (12 August) in the Championship.
The bean counters will want to see a much increased attendance from the paltry 6,895 who turned up for this one.
The lowest attendance by some distance for a competitive Amex first team match wasn’t helped by the train guards’ strike.