Both teams came into this Women’s Super League clash on the back of heavy defeats. Melissa Phillips’s Brighton were dismantled 4-0 by Liverpool last time out, while Willie Kirk’s Leicester tasted defeat by 5-2 against Emma Hayes’ title-chasing Chelsea.
BRI: Baggaley; Thorisdottir, Bergsvand, Kullberg; Rule, Symonds, Losada, Pattinson; Sarri, Bremer, Terland
LEI: Leitzig; Green, Howard, Thibaud; Bott, Palmer, Tierney, Cayman; Whelan, Rantala; Petermann
Without a win in six, Leicester knew they needed a good start at the Broadfield Stadium, but they were given two warnings early on as both Elisabeth Terland and Poppy Pattinson came close to opening the scoring. However, Terland was ruled offside and Pattinson fired her effort just over the bar.
Veatriki Sarri’s run down the right hand side almost saw Terland divert the ball home from a few yards out, only for the Norwegian to steer the ball out of play under pressure from Julie Thibaud.
Willie Kirk’s side eventually grew into the game, with Janice Cayman’s cross in from the left found Lena Petermann at the near post, but the forward’s header travelled just wide.
Brighton defender Maria Thorisdottir was in search of her first goal for the Seagulls, and she would have found it had her first touch from Maisie Symonds’ dangerous free-kick in been more composed.
Courtney Nevin, who came on for an injured Catherine Bott earlier in the first half, had an excellent chance to put Leicester in front in the 35th minute, but the New Zealand international’s low strike was deflected wide by Maria Thorisdottir.
Elisabeth Terland had looked lively all game so far, and the Norwegian almost opened the scoring three minutes after Nevin’s chance for Leicester, but the Brighton striker’s low effort was tame and Janina Leitzig collected the comfortably.
As the first half approached its end, the deadlock was finally broken, and in some style. Lena Petermann received the ball following a switch of play before outmuscling Emma Kullberg and arrowing the ball into the top corner past Sophie Baggaley.Embed from Getty Images
As far as starts to the second halves go, Leicester will struggle to get any better than they did on Sunday, as the Foxes doubled their lead in emphatic style. Excellent buildup play from Lena Petermann and Courtney Nevin saw the latter play the ball back into the Brighton box. The ball then fell to the feet of Jutta Rantala, who curled into the top corner past Sophie Baggaley to increase their advantage.
Willie Kirk’s team dominated the opening stages of the second half, with Rantala going close again twice, only for Baggaley to collect both efforts comfortably.
Up the other end, Elisabeth Terland had the goal at her mercy, but the Norwegian forward dragged her effort wide of the far post. Later on in the second half, her close-range header was caught comfortably by Janina Leitzig in the Leicester goal.
With just seven minutes to go, Brighton set up a grandstand finish as Elisabeth Terland got a goal back for Melissa Phillips’ side. A long ball forward found the Norwegian, who outmuscled Julie Thibaud and crashed the ball into the back of the net.
Four minutes later, Brighton had wiped out Leicester’s advantage, as a wonderful ball in from Poppy Pattinson curled the ball in from the left hand side, and Elisabeth Terland was there again to head home at the near post and level the game.Embed from Getty Images
Terland could have had her hat-trick in stoppage time to win the game, but her shot narrowly missed the bottom corner.
Willie Kirk’s Leicester now travel to Manchester United on Thursday in the Conti Cup at 7pm, while Brighton now have a week to prepare for a trip to Aston Villa next Sunday at 6:45pm.