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Fleet 3-1 Brighton & HA U23s

Fleet made it through the summer without defeat as they hit three goals against Brighton’s U23s, almost mirroring the 3-0 win the last time the sides met six years ago.

Gozie Ugwu was the chief tormentor as the home side created a number of chances for the striker and his header via a long kick from goal and cross was blocked in the box by goalkeeper Tom McGill.

A strong Brighton youth side had a couple of nibbles up front but Fleet continued to press and on 16 minutes John Goddard fired an effort wide and he then provided a corner for Ayo Obileye to nod just off target as the home side’s set pieces always looked a threat.

Ugwu fired wide after another quick-thinking long kick upfield from Nathan Ashmore and then McGill did very well to push away a decent effort from Alex Lawless after a well-worked Fleet move.

Fleet’s deserved opening goal came on 34 minutes via a set piece as Myles Weston won a corner that was recycled into the middle for Ugwu to head past McGill.

Alex Lawless saw one fine effort saved in the first half

Home fans got a look at new signing Josh Umerah who replaced Lawless at half-time but it was Ashmore who was to the fore as Brighton forced the pace in the early exchanges of the second half. Ashmore made saves from Swedish substitute Peter Gwargis and Serbian frontman Bojan Radulovic.

Alfie Egan also gave an assured display from his right-back position as the home side’s overall link-up play boded well for the season opener in eight days.

And it was Fleet who extended the lead on 71 minutes and it came via a corner once more, Goddard the supplier, this time Aswad Thomas well-placed at the far post to head his second goal of pre-season for a 2-0 lead.

In a busy closing spell, Ashmore was again called upon, saving twice from Seagulls foray forwards by George Cox until substitute and U18s graduate Jack Spong pulled a goal back, netting from close range from Gwargis’ delivery.

That didn’t put Fleet off their stride, however, and the home side had the final say in the final minute when Goddard was felled in the box and the former Swindon Town man picked himself up to calmly convert the resulting penalty to end July with a 3-1 win for the Fleet.

EUFC: Ashmore, Egan, Thomas, King, Grimes, Obileye (Achuba 86), Lawless (Umerah 46), Weston, Ball (Dainkeh 79), Goddard, Ugwu (Anderson 82).
BHAFC: McGill; Davies (Cochrane 46), O’Hora, Roberts, Cox; J. Davies (Gwargis 46), Jenks (Spong 71); Dreyer, Richards, Ahannach (Longman 46); Radulovic (Cashman 64). Subs not used: Rushworth (GK), Lopata.

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