RANGERS Development Squad were beaten in agonising fashion as Brighton and Hove Albion visited Ibrox after a good performance.
In the youngsters first home game of their new 2017/18 games programme the Seagulls hit in the 90th minute to steal a win. Brighton went ahead inside 11 minutes through Max Sanders but Andy Dallas cancelled out their advantage on 26 minutes.
Goalkeeper Aidan McAdams kept his side in the game with a great second- half display between the sticks but a late lapse in concentration was a blow to Graeme Murty’s side as Ryan Longman won the game with a close range finish.
With five minutes gone a run from full-back sparked Rangers into action. Scott Gray galloped forward and over the half-way line to lay the ball off the Zak Rudden on the edge of the box. The striker’s mishit pass fell into the path of Dallas, who was darting into the box Tom McGill, in goal for the Seagulls, brought the attack to an end as he saved at Dallas’ feet.
A couple of minutes later Max Sanders gave Rangers their first fright of the half as he peeled off the left to cut in and drill a low shot at McAdams. The Gers stopper saved low at his near post. Ryan Hardie was forced into defensive action from the resulting corner, the Gers number nine clearing off the line as the ball cannoned down off the underside of the bar.
The Light Blues should have been ahead on nine minutes as both Hardie and Dallas were denied by McGill’s lightening quick reactions. The move was created by Serge Atakayi as he put a pacey run together down the left channel. Dallas received the ball from the Finnish Under 19 and played in Hardie with a neat back heel on the edge of the box. Hardie’s low drill was saved and then Dallas couldn’t follow up.
Brighton put themselves ahead on 11 minutes through Sanders. It was a weak moment in defence for the Rangers youngsters as Danny Finlayson chested into the midfielder’s path to allow him in. Sanders skirted around the packed Gers box to dance himself into position and finish beyond McAdams.
Atakayi went close to pulling his side level with 24 minutes gone but his shot from the edge of the area was wide. Two minutes later Jamie Barjonas fired the Gers ahead.
Rudden squared the ball along the 25 yard line to pick out the midfielder lurking on the right of the box. Barjonas did well to cut inside, switch to his left foot and then strike low beyond Brighton’s keeper.
Hardie had a chance to put Murty’s team ahead on 32 minutes when Atakayi played the ball out of the box to the striker. He elected to drill the ball along the wet turf but it whizzed just past the upright.
McAdams kept his team in it nine minutes before the turnaround when he saved from Ryan Longman from close range. David Ajiboye had come in from the right to play a ball across the box to him. Longman got some power on it but McAdams denied him with his feet and Brighton couldn’t bury the loose ball.
Longman was at it again on 41 minutes as he used his pace to burst into the box from the left, brush off the defender and work his way towards McAdams. Again Gers stopper McAdams halted his progress.
Hardie had an effort saved well seconds before the break meaning the sides went in level at the break.
McAdams was having a good game in goal for Rangers and was alive to the threat when goal scorer Sanders curled a ball around the wall on 59 minutes. He used both hands to palm the ball away and collected confidently in the air when the ball came back into the box.
Just after the hour mark Gray profited from a free-kick but shot past the post. Atakayi cut in from the corner of the box a few moments later to fire a shot but a deflection took it into the hands of McGill.
Yet again McAdams kept his side in the game with 12 minutes to go when he stood up to Reece Meekums. The substitute collected a ball over the top to try and attempt an unorthodox shot with the outside of his foot but the goalkeeper was brave to block his effort at his near post.
Danny Cashman wasted a chance to win the game for the visitors when McAdams raced out to meet the forward and he rounded the keeper. With the goal gaping he couldn’t find the angle to finish across the goal mouth and hit the post.
Rudden had a weak free-kick easily saved by McGill late on when he launched it from the left but that was to be the Light Blues final chance of the game.
Brighton finished the game off and grabbed themselves a win in the final minute when Meekums sent a superb cross curling from the left to the far post. Longman was there to meet it as he jumped to side foot home. A cruel blow for Murty’s young side.
RANGERS: McAdams, Hewitt, Mayo, Finlayson, Gray, Dallas (Kelly 59’), Barjonas (Nelson 83), Palmer, Hardie (Shiels 76’), Atakayi, Rudden.
Subs: Wright (GK), Bradley, Zata, Wright.
Goals: Dallas 24’