Brighton steal the points in cagey affair

Still threatened by relegation at the end of this WSL campaign, Brighton hosted West Ham as they looked to pick up a vital three points against mid-table opposition. There was a late change to the hosts’ starting lineup, as preferred ‘keeper Williams was replaced by Walsh after sustaining an injury in the warmups.

BHA: Walsh; Kullberg, Bergsvand, Morse, Fox; Olme, Connolly; Green, Terland, Robinson; Lee

WHU: Arnold; Denton, Cissoko, Fisk, Parker; Atkinson, Longhurst, Snerle, Evans; Brynjarsdottir; Asseyi

Katie Robinson looked to play Jorja Fox through on goal for the hosts early on, but her strike was directed into the side netting as the Seagulls squandered a golden opportunity to take the lead. After what had been a rather dull opening twenty minutes, Lucy Parker looked to get a cross in – but the ball evaded her, trickling out for a goal kick.

The hosts came close to taking the lead from a free-kick, as Megan Connolly’s delivery looked to be sent across the line by Guro Bergsvand – but Mackenzie Arnold managed to get back and smother it. Emma Kullberg was unmarked in the box following a corner minutes later, but the defender’s header was off-target. Despite their inferior league position, Brighton had been the better of the two sides – they just needed to capitalise on their chances.

In yet another attacking move from Brighton, Katie Robinson did well to keep the ball in play on the right flank before finding Elisabeth Terland. Her strike was parried away by Arnold though, before being cleared properly by Dagny Brynjarsdottir.

The West Ham captain almost opened the scoring against the run of play, as Lisa Evans’ cross found her and she was able to divert it towards goal – but Zoe Morse was positioned well and was able to clear it off the line to keep the game at 0-0.

Ultimately though, there was nothing to separate the two sides at half-time – though Brighton probably should have taken the lead from one of their numerous opportunities throughout the opening 45 minutes.

The second half began in a rather cagey fashion, with both sides seemingly happy to play for a draw – until Kayleigh Green netted in the 57th minute to propel Brighton into the lead. Poor defending from West Ham meant that she was practically unmarked inside the penalty area, and she leapt like a salmon to power Katie Robinson’s cross into the back of the net.

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Almost immediately, Katie Robinson looked to fire another cross into the box – with Elisabeth Terland the intended target this time. Lucy Parker was able to clear the danger though, as the Hammers sought to avoid finding themselves two goals down.

The Seagulls were able to hold out and claim the win, as they add distance between themselves and the bottom of the WSL table. They host Arsenal in midweek – but this win will have given them momentum, and maybe they’ll be able to pull off a shock result.