By Logan MacLeod
Brighton and Hove Albion under-23 playmaker Taylor Richards claimed a double and a fine assist in a 4-1 thriller to kill off a 10-man Southampton in the Premier League 2.
Brighton came into the game following a narrow 2-1 defeat to leaders Derby County in their previous league fixture and were determined to bounce back at bottom of the table Southampton
The young Seagulls were off to flying start at the Staplewood Academy after a marauding run from Alex Cochrane was picked out by Peter Gwargis, and Cochrane continued to run into the space and unleashed a low drive into the far corner of the net to put Brighton 1-0 up in the 15th minute.
A moment of brilliance from Richards saw Brighton double their lead 15 minutes later. Richards picked up a loose ball in his own half, drove forward and took out three defenders with a lovely pass into Danny Cashman. Cashman took a touch and smashed his effort beyond Jack Bycroft at his near post.
Brighton dominated for most of the first half, but as seen many times before this season they gave away a soft goal. Southampton pulled one back five minutes before half time through Kornelius Hansen.
Saints captain Callum Slattery won the ball back in midfield, which saw Brighton wide-open, and pick out Hansen's bursting run through the middle, who got on the end of the pass and toe-poked over an on-rushing Tom McGill in the Brighton net.
Shortly after the break Slattery made a reckless, two-footed lunge on Gwargis, who was in behind the Southampton defence down the left. There were no complaints from players or fans after referee Matthew Russell brandished the red card.
Another booking came for a red-and-white Saints shirt a few minutes later, this time Kieran Freeman left his boot in late on Haydon Roberts.
Brighton came close through RIchards after a corner found him on the edge of the box, he took a touch and hit a left-footed effort whistled just over the bar.
With 15 minutes left Cashman should have put the game to bed for Brighton. A wayward ball played across the back by a Southampton defender, saw Cashman pick it up just inside the box but he struck his effort straight at the keeper' and Gwargis couldn't follow up the rebound.
Southampton were defending better with ten men, reverting to a 4-4-1 formation, and Brighton were struggling to break through like they were in the first half.
However after patient build-up play, Cochrane found himself free down the left and whipped in a ball for Teddy Jenks, who struck a first time effort on-the-run but was denied by a brilliant save from Bycroft.
Richards wrapped up all three points for his side in the 90th minute after he picked the ball up on the half-way line, went on a mazy solo run and unleashed a spectacular effort from 20 yards out, which flew past Bycroft and went in off the underside of the bar.
Brighton's flurry continued in added time as a cross from the left reached Richards who completed a double with a superb low drive from the edge of the box. The summer signing from Manchester City looks quite a talent.
ALBION: McGill; A. Davies, Tsoungui, Roberts, Cochrane; Richards, Jenks, Baluta (Leonard 60); Gwargis, Wilson (Leahy 68), Cashman (Radulovic 90).
SUBS NOT USED: Keto (GK), Yapi.