- Katie Wilkinson breaks the deadlock for London Bees
- Aileen Whelan levels in the second half
- Tricia Gould scores a stoppage-time winner for Bees
- The Seagulls next face league leaders Doncaster Rovers Belles on Sunday
Brighton & Hove Albion’s FA WSL 2 title ambitions were dealt a blow after a frustrating 2-1 defeat against London Bees at The Hive.
Katie Wilkinson gave the Bees the lead midway through the first half, before Aileen Whelan equalised midway through the second, but Tricia Gould’s strike deep into stoppage time consigned Albion to their third league defeat of the season.
Hope Powell made five changes to the side that beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 on 1st April, with Fern Whelan, Kirsty Barton, Kate Natkiel and Amanda Nilden all coming into the side, while goalkeeper Laura Hartley made her FA WSL 2 debut.
Albion started the match brightly and Danielle Buet had an early sight of goal, but her volley was comfortably collected by Nicola Hobbs.
Powell’s side broke forward again moments later with a lovely free-flowing move involving Aileen Whelan and Ini Umotong, before Whelan fired wide from just outside the box.
The hosts tested Hartley for the first time through Danielle Lea’s free kick from distance, but the young shot-stopper made a comfortable save.
There was another nervy moment for the Seagulls defence when Emma Beckett’s corner flashed across the face of goal before going wide.
Albion still carried a threat going forwards themselves, as Buet brilliantly dummied Whelan’s ball across the box before Nilden fired wide from the edge of the box.
Natkiel then took aim from the edge of the area with a left-footed strike which went narrowly past the right-hand post.
London Bees broke the deadlock with 22 minutes on the clock thanks to Wilkinson, who took advantage of some nervy Albion defending and clinically dispatched her long-range effort past Hartley.
Powell freshened up Albion’s midfield at the break by bringing on Chloe Peplow for Barton, but the second half began in a cagey fashion with few chances for either side.
But parity was restored to the scoreline with 64 minutes played, courtesy of Whelan, whose superb looping header beat Hobbs.
The Seagulls were buoyed by the goal, as Nilden teed up Buet on the edge of the area, and her strike forced a two-handed stop from Hobbs.
Whelan and Natkiel both had chances to make it 2-1 from an in-swinging corner that created havoc in the Bees defence, but the hosts were given a reprieve thanks to an offside call.
Albion continued to push for a second through the tireless Whelan, who played in Umotong down the right, but the latter’s strike went just past the far post.
But Powell’s side were then dealt the cruellest of blows in the third minute of stoppage time, as substitute Gould was allowed to turn inside the box before sending a curling strike past Hartley to give the Bees all three points.
ALBION: Harltey; Perry, Rafferty, F. Whelan (Ritchie 62), Gibbons; Barton (Peplow 46), Buet, Narkiel; A. Whelan, Umotong, Nilden.
SUBS NOT USED: Gillett (GK), Sansom (GK), Legg, Pharoah, Somes.