Baker scores to secure Leicester’s safety

A win in Crawley would secure Leicester’s top-flight status, which would be a huge achievement given that the Foxes failed to win a league game this season until January. Hope wouldn’t be entirely lost if they stuttered against the Seagulls though, as Reading would need to win against title favourites Chelsea to have any chance of staying in the division.

BHA: Walsh; Bergsvand, Morse, Stott; Green, Terland, Olme, Kullberg; Symonds, Lee, Robinson

LEI: Leitzig; Nevin, Plumptre, Howard, Bott; Tierney, Goodwin, Whelan; Jones, Cain, Siemsen

Brighton came close to opening the scoring in specatular style within the opening ten minutes of the match, as Elisabeth Terland attempted an audacious backheeled effort in a bid to make the most of Katie Robinson’s cutback pass. The Norwegian’s strike looked destine to pick out the back of the net, but for a great recovery on the line from a Leicester defender.

Robinson continued to be a threat as the game dragged on, breaking through the defence to try and fire a cross into the box – though a deflection off Bott saw the ball return to a very grateful ‘keeper. Brighton’s early pressure had certainly been impressive, and it was the Seagulls that looked the likely side to open the scoring.

A wonderful move saw Olme feed Lee Geum-min just outside the box, and the South Korean managed to find Terland with a cheeky first-time flick – the Norwegian’s volley sailed just wide of the target on this occasion though.

An error from Guro Bergsvand saw Missy Goodwin sent through on goal. Just like Hannah Cain had done minutes prior, she dragged her strike wide of the post. It looked as if it’d be one of those days for the Foxes, who have struggled with finding the back of the net all season. Cain attempted to pick out her fellow Welsh international, Carrie Jones, as the game reached the thirty-minute mark – her effort was blown as she failed to get a meaningful shot off.

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Starring against her former club, Aileen Whelan felt that Leicester should have been awarded a penalty in the final minutes of the half. Despite contract from Olme inside the area, the referee allowed play to continue – and that was the last action of a frenetic first half. Safety was practically confirmed for the Foxes at this point, as Reading looked unlikely to overcome a two-goal half-time deficit against Chelsea.

With the pressure off, would the Foxes perform differently in the second half? Hannah Cain spurned another effort over the crossbar, firing a free-kick from distance inches over the bar. The Welsh international was at the heart of the action soon after, with a cross taking deflections off Stott and Siemsen.

With 72 minutes played, Leicester took the lead – which in truth, they should have done twenty minutes prior given the number of chances they’d blown. Ava Baker capitalised on poor defending from the Seagulls, tucking home an effort from close range to remove any doubt about the Foxes’ top-flight status.

The youngster’s strike ensured that at least one Leicester City side would be playing top-flight football next season, as the men’s side remain rooted in the relegation zone ahead of their crucial final fixture against West Ham on Sunday.

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