Brighton 3-2 Bristol City: Elisabeth Terland’s second-half stoppage time winner stuns Robins

Hoping to continue their momentum after comprehensively strolling through to the fourth round of the Adobe Women’s FA Cup following a 6-0 demolition of non-league Luton Town, Brighton named a strong starting eleven on Sunday – with the Scandinavian attacking trio of Elisabeth Terland, Julia Zigiotti Olme and Pauline Bremer leading the line for the Seagulls.

Meanwhile, after failing to register a victory in nine matches across all competitions, Bristol City manager Lauren Smith handed American goalkeeper Shae Yanez her Barclays Women’s Super League debut following the move from National Women’s Soccer League San Diego Wave.

BHA: Baggaley; Bergsvand, Thorisdóttir, Kullberg; Robinson, Symonds, Losada, Pattinson; Zigiotti-Olme, Terland, Bremer

BCI: Yanez; Layzell, Connolly, Mustaki; Powell, Napier, Jones, Rodgers; Thestrup, Syme, Harrison

Victorious in their last two head-to-head encounters, Brighton began on the front foot as Elisabeth Terland’s one-on-one effort was well-saved by new Robins’ goalkeeper Shae Yanez. On the other end, the visitors immediately had two opportunities to accomplish what the Seagulls could not do but frustratingly for Jamie-Lee Napier and Amy Rogers, they only could fire respectively wide of the mark.

The game would burst back into life after a period of inactivity in and around goal shortly after the half-hour mark. Already with an eye for goal, there was nothing that could stop Terland from getting her name onto the scoresheet this time around – via the assistance of Carrie Jones – as the midfielder’s loss of possession allowed the Norwegian international to menacingly drive towards goal before firing past Yanez at her near post with a sublimely-struck strike.

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The Seagulls striker’s ninth goal in all competitions would end up being the difference maker as referee Lisa Benn blew her whistle for half-time, with Brighton on course for their first victory in the Barclays Women’s Super since a 1-0 success at Manchester City in mid-November.

Hoping to produce a more prolific profile in front of goal in the second half, Bristol City managed to achieve that feat in the 55th minute. After being denied her first goal of the 2023/24 Barclay’s Women’s League campaign by the post, it took the Abi Harrison less than sixty seconds to end that particular goalscoring duck with a fearsome close-range strike that flew past Sophie Baggaley in the Brighton goal.

Heartbreakingly, for the WSL’s bottom club they would find themselves back on level terms for only two minutes as England international Katie Robinson immediately restored Brighton’s lead with a perfectly-struck strike that nestled nicely into the far corner of the net.

Following another spell of no significant goalmouth action, Bristol City showed their determination by manufacturing another equalising goal with only seven minutes left of regular time. Keen to redeem herself for the error that led to the game’s opening goal, Jones did exactly that by firing home the rebound after Baggaley had pulled off a spectacular point-blank save to keep out Hales’ downward header.

With time running out it appeared that Jones’ redemption had earned Bristol City a precious point that could make all the difference in avoiding an immediate return to the Championship. However, the goal-hungry Terland had other ideas, as she sensationally volleying home the match-winner deep into the stoppage-time, via the assistance of the frame of the goal, to secure a dramatic three points for Brighton – that sees the Seagulls move up to eighth position in the WSL standings.