REPORT: Blues Women 1 Brighton Women 0
Blues Women scraped a 1-0 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion Women to make it two wins out of two in the FA WSL.
The only goal of the game came on the stroke of half-time through Aoife Mannion’s penalty for her first goal of the season.
Mannion, Lucy Staniforth, Ann-Katrin Berger and Hayley Ladd returned to the starting XI for the league game but it took themselves and the rest of the squad time to really get going in the game.
After a slow start from both sides, Blues had the first attempt of the game when Staniforth struck another outrageous effort from 30-yards-out. But unlike her first goal for the Blues against Sheffield United, it just dipped over the bar.
Brighton enjoyed a spell of attacking pressure in the final exchanges of the first 45, which culminated in a shot from Aileen Whelan. It looked to have passed Ann-Katrin Berger but Paige Williams headed it to safety.
The Seagulls always looked to be a threat with their high pressing on the Blues backline with Ini Umotong leading the line. She battled with Mannion and Kerys Harrop, making sure they knew she was there.
However, in added time of the first-half, Blues made the breakthrough. Emma Follis drove through the centre of the pitch, making a beeline for goal only to be mowed down by Laura Rafferty. Referee James Oldham pointed to the penalty spot.
Mannion, oozing composure and confidence, stepped up to the spot. Sending Lucy Gillett the wrong way, she went for power and accuracy as the ball rifled into the back of the net.
Blues struggled to get into any type of rhythm in the second half despite enjoying the majority of possession. With 20 minutes to go, Williams lofted a neat pass over the top of Brighton’s back line and found Mayling on a run. The winger cut inside onto her right foot and curled an effort goal wards, but the ‘keeper collected it well.
Gillett however didn’t grab the football moments later when Staniforth teased a free-kick into the box. The goalkeeper looked to have it in her grasp, but it fell loose but Ladd couldn’t quite snatch it away.
With three points wrapped up, Blues now look forward to Sunday’s game against Reading Women.
Blues: Ann-Katrin Berger, Paige Williams, Kerys Harrop, Aoife Mannion, Meaghan Sargeant, Hayley Ladd, Marisa Ewers, Lucy Staniforth (Harriet Scott 91’), Sarah Mayling, Emma Follis (Chloe Arthur 76’), Charlie Wellings (Shania Hayles 89’).
Substitutes (not used): Hannah Hampton, Connie Scofield.
Goals: Mannion 46’
Brighton: Lucy Gillett, Felicity Gibbons, Danielle Buet, Laura Rafferty, Aileen Whelan, Kirsty Barton, Ini Umotong (Kate Natkiel 63’), Ellie Brazil, Sophie Perry, Jodie Brett, Victoria Williams.
Substitutes (not used): Beth Rowe, Fern Whelan, Amanda Nilden, Chloe Peplow, Kayleigh Green, Laura Hartley.
Bookings: Rafferty 46’, Buet 53’
Referee: James Oldham