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REPORT: Brighton & Hove Albion 0-1 Bristol City Women

Lucy Graham’s second-half wonder strike secured all three points for Tanya Oxtoby’s side in the opening round of the Women’s Super League. 


What happened?

Following a cagey opening to the game, Juliette Kemppi had the first clear cut opportunity for City Women after neat interplay between herself and Graham saw space open up on the edge of the box, but the Finnish international couldn’t generate enough power behind her shot to trouble Hartley. 

Brighton picked up the tempo and looked threatening at times throughout the first half, Gibbons had multiple crosses into the box cleared by the City Women defence as they managed to hold on.

Rutherford and Kemppi were a handful all afternoon pressing high on the home side defence, but it was Kayleigh Green who had the best chance of the half for the hosts.

The Wales international latched onto Danielle Buet’s through ball but saw her attempt was smartly saved by Baggaley, who was quick down to her left hand side.

As the second-half began, Brighton started the brighter of the two sides as they constantly tested the City Women defence with dangerous crosses, but Danqiue Kerkdijk and Frankie Brown were equal to all attempts and managed to alleviate the danger.

Frankie Brown battles with Ini Umotong at Crawley Town FC (images via Geoff Penn).

Brighton had a chance to snatch the lead when Kate Natkiel picked out Beth Roe in the box, but Baggaley produced a fine save down to her right hand side to tip the ball around the post. 

The Seagulls continued to press forward through Natkiel again and she found Laura Rafferty, who blazed her close-range attempt over the bar.

Then came the seventy-first minutes and up stepped the in-form Lucy Graham, the attacking midfielder picked up a loose ball inside the Brighton half and she instinctively pulled the trigger and her effort from range dipped under the bar past goalkeeper Hartley. 

The hosts rallied in the closing stages and finished the stronger of the two sides, but they couldn’t battle their way past a stubborn City defence as, Tanya Oxtoby’s side claimed all three points


Player of the match:

Sophie Baggaley had a dominant display in goal today for City Women.

The goalkeeper dealt with any danger that came her way throughout the ninety minutes as well as producing a handful of fine saves to keep a clean sheet and give her side the three points. 

Sophie Baggaley comes to claim the ball under pressure (images via Geoff Penn).

Key moment:

It’s hard to argue against it, Lucy Graham’s superb strike sealed all three point for Oxtoby’s side. 

As the ball bounced her way in the Brighton half, she picked her head up to see that Hartley was off her line and pulled the trigger. Her effort floated high and dipped at the last moment to go under the bar and that strike would prove to be the difference between the two sides.

The attacking midfielder has now racked up four goals in three games since joining Bristol City this summer.


Teams:

ALBION: Hartley, Roe, Rafferty, Williams, Gibbons; Peplow (Brett 46), Buet, Natkiel (Perry 79); A. Whelan, Green (Umotong 65), Brazil.

SUBS NOT USED: Gillett (GK), F. Whelan, Barto

CITY WOMEN: Baggaley, Dykes, Kerkdijk, Brown, Johnson (Evans 68), Biesmans, Humphrey, Graham, Rutherford (Rood 58), Woolley (Payne 58), Kemppi

SUBS NOT USED: Watson (GK), Wilson, Ayane, Pattinson


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