On a cold night in East London, West Ham United suffered their first defeat of the Premier League Cup as Brighton made the most of their chances in a 3-1 win at the Chigwell Construction Stadium.
Before the game kicked off, a one minute silence was impeccably observed in memory of the victims of the Colombian plane crash.
It took the young Hammers 20 minutes to test Brighton’s 37-year-old goalkeeper Casper Ankergen, with a Marcus Browne free-kick that went narrowly wide of the left post.
Minutes later, the Englishman had another opportunity to put Terry Westley’s team in front after he dribbled through a number of players, but he couldn’t steer his shot on target.
The Seagulls then went close after a terrific effort from Will Collar as he chipped the West Ham goalkeeper Raphael Spiegel from distance and the ball cannoned off the crossbar. Courtney Duffus’ rebound was terrifically blocked by Alex Pike to keep the score level.
Brighton eventually made the most of their attacking spell of play with Jayson Molumby scoring for the visitors with five minutes of the half remaining. His low volley was straight at the goalkeeper after a cross from George Cox. However, the goal will be giving Spiegel nightmares as he had a hold of the shot but dropped the ball and it hit the back of the net through his legs.
The second period started with an early scare. Spiegel was forced into a point-blank save after Vashon Neufville had almost turned the ball into his own net.
West Ham equalised against the run of play in the second half. Browne’s corner found the head of Djair Parfitt-Williams after 66 minutes.
It looked like the home side would find a winner but it was Brighton who countered and went 2-1 up. Domingos Quina was dispossessed and Henrik Bjordal played in Jesse Starkey who finished off the counter attack.
Toni Martinez struggled to test the Brighton goalkeeper, as the neat snapshot from the Spaniard late on was always rising.
As the Hammers threw everyone forward to get back in the game, the visitors sealed the three points as former West Ham trialist Joe Ward finished off another counter-attacking move deep into stoppage time.
Westley’s side drop into second position in Group E with six points, whilst Brighton move into first position following the victory.
Westley had this to say following the defeat. “You’ve got to cut the mistakes out. We’ve beaten Forest, we’ve [beaten] Leicester and probably one more win would’ve been nearly enough to see us qualify for the last 32. It’s brought the whole group closer, and individual mistakes tonight have cost us.”