Ladies fall short to stern Seagulls
Spurs Ladies’ attempt to kick-off 2018 with all the spoils in the WSL 2 slowly faded at Cheshunt FC, after Brighton & Hove Albion struck first and held out during the 1-0 defeat to keep The Lilywhites winless in four.
Fliss Gibbons broke through on goal for the visitors, but Ashleigh Neville recovered to steer the danger clear after three minutes. The Seagulls took the lead with 10 minutes on the clock. Sophie Perry powered in her free-kick from just outside the area, as it found its way inside the near-post.
Ini Umotong found Gibbons on the inside left who struck across and in, but the linesman deemed her offside as the score stayed 1-0 nine minutes later.
Jenna Schillaci came closest for Spurs
The 25th minute mark saw Lucia Leon burst forward and spray out to Lauren Pickett, whose first-time cross evaded Sarah Wiltshire and Ronnell Humes rushing in on goal, as Spurs looked to pull back momentum.
Gibbons’ attempt to curl into the top corner from 20-yards was caught by Chloe Morgan three minutes on. On the half hour mark, Perry’s deep cross from the left was headed inches wide by Gibbons from inside six-yards. Kate Natkiel’s strike was deflected by Renee Hector out to Bronwen Thomas, who narrowly hit past the upright with 35 minutes gone.
Four minutes before the break, Jenna Schillaci’s floated free-kick from the right found Hector drifting in at the far-post, whose attempt to make Lucy Gillett work was frantically hooked away.
Spurs came out with added impetus to begin an energy-driven second-half performance and 59 minutes saw Wiltshire feed through Bianca Baptiste, who struck inches over on 59 minutes. Schillaci’s deep, floated free-kick almost found its way into the top corner just past the hour mark, however Gillett was able to claw the ball out.
Sophie Mclean sent Pickett away with a delightfully-weighted pass, which Gillett smothered on 71 minutes. Baptiste’s fizzing volley was deflected out for a corner which Wiltshire took and found Wendy Martin, whose header fell towards Gillett with 15 minutes to go.
Gibbons’ dangerous, low cross was pushed away by Morgan out to Natkiel who powered over on 81 minutes. Wiltshire’s free-kick from afar dipped and swerved into the arms of Gillett reaching 90 minutes.
And Umotong countered looking to double Brighton’s advantage, who found her placement across saved down low by Morgan deep in stoppage-time.
Report from Khalid Karimullah at Cheshunt FC, Theobalds Lane.
Photographs with thanks to Wu's Photography.
Spurs Ladies: 21. Chloe Morgan, 2. Lucia Leon, 6. Renee Hector, 11. Jenna Schillaci, 29. Ashleigh Neville, 21. Hannah Mackenzie (16. Maya Vio 45), 5. Sophie Mclean, 14. Katie O’Leary (10. Wendy Martin 67), 17. Lauren Pickett, 24. Ronnell Humes (8. Bianca Baptiste 58), 7. Sarah Wiltshire. Substitutes (not used): 1.Toni-Anne Wayne, 23. Coral-Jade Haines, 19. Ryah Vyse.
Brighton & Hove Albion: 1. Lucy Gillett, 18. Beth Roe, 3. Sophie Perry, 8. Kirsty Barton, 5. Laura Rafferty (6. Vicky Ashton-Jones 63), 12. Bronwen Thomas, 14. Jenna Legg (17. Natalie Taylor 84), 15. Fern Whelan, 9. Ini Umotong, 10. Kate Natkiel, 11. Fliss Gibbons. Substitutes (not used): 19. Laura Hartley, 24. Sophia Pharoah, 7. Lucy Somes, 2. Amelia Richie.