REPORT: Brighton Women 2 Blues Women 1
Birmingham City Women fell to a second consecutive defeat, as they lost 2-1 to Brighton and Hove Albion Women.
Ellen White had given Blues the lead before Kayleigh Green equalised three minutes later. But it was Ellie Brazil’s decisive header that claimed all three points for Hope Powell’s side.
Following defeat to Reading in the Women’s FA Cup, Marta Tejedor made five changes to her starting line-up. Most notably, Marisa Ewers returned to the side after time out through injury while White started for the first time since September.
Sarah Mayling, another player recalled to the side, had Blues’ first chance of the game. Lucy Staniforth delivered a pinpoint free-kick into the box, straight into the path of Mayling who put it wide of the post.
Brighton, disciplined and organised in their approach, had their fair share of chances as Green and former Blue Brazil troubled the back four which had been reshaped after the Reading game.
But it was Blues who scored the opening goal when White notched her second of the campaign. Paige Williams intercepted the ball brilliantly in the middle of the park and played it into the feet of Staniforth. The England international turned and dinked it to her fellow countrywomen, who will be travelling to the States with Phil Neville’s squad. White did the rest from there, powerfully driving the ball into the back of the net.
There was an instant reaction from Brighton, as Green headed in the equaliser following a melee of chances which had seen Ini Umotong’s shot cleared off the line by Mayling.
The Seagull’s striker went closes to putting Brighton in the lead when her strike crashed off the crossbar, while another effort was flagged offside.
Despite several chances in the early stages of the second half, as Wellings went close on numerous occasions, it was Brighton who took the lead. A sustained amount of pressure on the Blues goal was converted when Brazil headed in an in-swinging corner kick.
Blues couldn't find their way past a resilient Brighton side, who continued to hold strong despite late pressure with substitutes Claudia Walker and Chloe Arthur going close.
Brighton: Sophie Harris, Victoria Williams, Fern Whelan, Felicity Gibbons, Danielle Buet, Megan Connolly, Emily Simpkins, Aileen Whelan (Chloe Peplow 90+2'), Ellie Brazil, Kayleigh Green (Amanda Nilden 87'), Ini Umotong (Kate Natkiel 68’).
Substitutes (not used): Marie Hourihane, Bethan Roe, Kirsty Barton, Chloe Peplow.
Goals: Green 29’, Brazil 72’
Blues: Hannah Hampton, Paige Williams, Hayley Ladd, Kerys Harrop, Sarah Mayling, Ellen White, Marisa Ewers, Emma Follis (Meaghan Sargeant 81’), Charlie Wellings (Claudia Walker 76’), Aoife Mannion, Lucy Staniforth.
Substitutes (not used): Alex Brooks, Harriet Scott, Chloe Arthur, Connie Scofield, Lucy Quinn.
Goals: White 26’
Referee: Abigail Marriot