'He can' - Evan Ferguson makes Kaoru Mitoma admission after FA Cup winner at Stoke

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Brighton advanced to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup thanks to a first half winner from teenage striker Evan Ferguson

When you are 18-years-old and just scored the winner in the fifth round of the FA Cup at Stoke City, why not dream of lifting the trophy at the Wembley this season?

The Republic of Ireland international, 18, finished a fine move on the half-hour mark to register his fifth goal for the Seagulls in what has been an impressive breakthrough season.

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Stoke, who are 17th in the Championship, played well but Brighton had been dominating possession and they were in front as Kaoru Mitoma ran on to Lewis Dunk’s excellent through-ball and laid a delightful pass of his own to Ferguson, who tapped in.

Evan Ferguson celebrates his strike against Stoke City in the FA CupEvan Ferguson celebrates his strike against Stoke City in the FA Cup
Evan Ferguson celebrates his strike against Stoke City in the FA Cup

“It is something we work on in training and when it comes off like that it's a good thing to play in,” said Ferguson to ITV4 after the match. “And to finish it off it was an easy little finish so that was nice. When he [Mitoma] gets into those areas, he can chop inside and shoot or he can play it across. Lucky for me he played it across.”

Asked if this could be the year for Brighton? “Hopefully, we will see,” added the Ireland international. “That is the target we want to go for and hopefully we will get it.

"As a team in training every day we know what we want to do and what we want to achieve. We know what we want and hopefully we can keep heading in that direction.”

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The closing stages of the first half then saw Moises Caicedo hit a strike wide of the Stoke goal and a Jordan Thompson shot pushed behind by Steele.

Pascal Gross dragged an effort wide and Jeremy Sarmiento’s shot was well saved by Bonham as Brighton sought another early in the second half, before Stoke almost drew level in the 65th minute with Tuanzebe sending a header just wide.

Mitoma looked likely to double Brighton’s advantage on 73 minutes but his shot ended up in the side-netting, via the goalkeeper’s boot.

Having weathered some Stoke pressure, the visitors then nearly added a second late on, with substitute Danny Welbeck seeing one shot saved by Bonham and another come back off the post.