16:51 6th July 2013
by James Ward
Albion kicked off their pre-season campaign with a comfortable 3-0 victory against Blue Square South newboys Whitehawk at the Enclosed Ground.
First-half goals from Solly March and Ashley Barnes put Albion ahead at half time, before an Andrea Orlandi stunner put the game beyond the home side early in the second half.
In sizzling conditions, the game’s early stages were played at a low pace as both teams acclimatised to the searing heat.
Albion’s Bradley Barry, playing at right-back, had the first shot on goal after eight minutes, but his effort was smartly saved by Hawks keeper Chris Winterton.
Then a slick interchange between Barnes and George Barker provided the visitors with another chance, but the former’s snapshot was comfortably held by Winterton.
Barnes had another chance to convert but, after rounding Winterton, Whitehawk’s Sami El-Abd was on hand to deny the striker.
The hosts’ best chance came in the 28th minute when striker Sam Gargan found space in the box, but his shot was deflected behind by Andrew Crofts for a corner.
But one minute before the break, Albion were ahead thanks to winger March when he collected Nicky Shorey’s long pass and curled a delightful shot into the far corner.
Albion doubled their lead soon after as Barnes headed home Shorey’s chipped by-line cross from inside the six-yard box.
The Seagulls rang the changes at half-time, with only Shorey keeping his place from the XI which started the game.
Orlandi then netted Albion’s third in the 62nd minute when he chested down Will Buckley’s pass before lashing past a helpless Winterton.
Albion were now dominating the game, and almost had a fourth goal when Orlandi’s out-swinging corner met the head of Brennan Dickenson, his effort drifted wide.
Another chance came and went in the 71st minute, when first Jake Forster-Caskey’s shot was saved by the feet of the busy Winterton, before Vitalijs Maksimenko nodded the rebound past the post.
Orlandi almost added to his tally ten minutes from time when the Whitehawk defence afforded the Spaniard too much space on the edge of the box, but he sent his shot wide of sub Richard Martin's goal, as the Seagulls started their build-up to the season in professional style.
Albion (first half): Kuszczak (Brezovan 31) Barry, Dunk, Ince, Shorey; Richards, Crofts, Harley; March, Barker, Barnes.
Albion (second half): Brezovan (Ankergren 60), El-Abd, Greer, Maksimenko, Shorey (Richards 63 (Dunk 75); Calderon, Orlandi, Forster-Caskey; Buckley, Dickenson, Ulloa (Agdestein).