A brilliant brace from Olly Sanderson saw Fulham’s under 18s edge a five-goal thriller at Brighton and Hove Albion this afternoon despite playing for more than an hour with ten men.

The in-form Sanderson’s second, scored deep in stoppage time, scored a second win on the road in four days for Ali Melloul’s men, who displayed tremendous tenacity to pick up all three points after Devan Tanton was dismissed after being shown two yellow cards in the space of eleven first half minutes. In blustery conditions in west Sussex, Fulham had the best early chances with Sanderson nipping in to dispossess Ruairi McConville before a mix-up between the striker and Luke Harris prevented the visitors from making the most of a good opportunity.

Sanderson then forced a fine save from Albion goalkeeper Tommy Reid with a powerful header from Imani Lanquedoc’s cross, but a poor touch from Reid soon let the Fulham striker open scoring with the simplest of finishes on 27 minutes. The hosts levelled immediately, however, with Billy Clark burst onto a pass from Elliot Jenks and curling a fabulous finish into the far corner. Worse was to come for the young Whites when Tanton received his marching orders after an ill-advised lunge when he had already been booked.

Fulham were still unfortunate not to go in front before the break. Tyler Caton’s deflected drive bounced back off the post – and the Londoners weren’t in the mood to shut up shop despite being a man down. Brighton, who saw more of the ball as a result of their numerical advantage, went close at the start of the second period when Jack Hinshelwood flashed a free-kick fractionally wide of goal, with substitute goalkeeper Michael Allen looking beaten, but Fulham went ahead with their first serious attack of the half.

The young Whites broke beautifully with Cypriot midfielder George Okkas finding Delano McCoy-Splatt, who threaded a lovely pass out for Harris. The sixteen year-old beat his man and fizzed a cross in for Sanderson, whose deflected shot broke nicely for Michael Olakigbe to lash Fulham back into the lead. Brighton pushed forward in search of an immediate response and were denied by a brilliant save from McNally, who somehow denied Clark when he seemed certain to score his second from close range.

The away side couldn’t hold out though as the Seagulls levelled three minutes later. Josh Duffus delivered a sensational finish, finding the top corner with a brilliant right-footed shot after he had cut in from the left flank. A remarkable game still had plenty of twists and turns in it. Harris rattled the crossbar from range only moments after Fulham had lost the lead before McNally produced a brilliant double save to keep out efforts from Markus Ifill and Shim Mhueka.

Brighton were reduced to ten men with four minutes left when Leigh Kavanagh was shown a straight red after a reckless challenge on Harris. Fulham sensed an opportunity to push for a winner, which arrived in the second minute of stoppage time when Sanderson followed up a Harris shot to put the visitors 3-2 up. Melloul’s charges held on during eight nervy minutes of added time to claim an outstanding victory.

BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION UNDER 18s (4-2-3-1): Reid; Winstanley (Gee 65), Sturge, Kavanagh, McConville; Jenks, Hinshelwood; Ifill, Clark, Mheuka; Duffus. Subs (not used): Shann, Fisher, Ryan, Smith.

BOOKED: McConville, Jenks.

SENT OFF: Kavanagh.

GOALS: Clark (28), Duffus (73).

FULHAM UNDER 18s (4-2-3-1): McNally (Allen 45); Tanton, Araujo, C. Robinson, Benjamin; McCoy-Splatt, Caton (Okkas 55); Lanquedoc, Harris (Works 90+4), Olakigbe (Parker 85); Sanderson. Subs (not used): Parker, Works.

BOOKED: Tanton, Araujo.

SENT OFF: Tanton.

GOALS: Sanderson (27, 90+2), Olakigbe (58).

REFEREE: Jordan Mcritchie