- Albion beat Oxford United 5-1 at Culver Road
- Aileen Whelan scores a hat-trick
- Kate Natkiel and Ini Umotong also on target for Albion
- Chloe Chivers scores for Oxford
Brighton & Hove Albion continued their FA WSL 2 title push with a comprehensive 5-1 victory over Oxford United at Culver Road this evening.
Aileen Whelan’s hat-trick and a goal each for Ini Umotong and Kate Natkiel was enough to overcome Oxford, who found the net thanks to Chloe Chivers.
The result leaves Albion in third, seven points behind league leaders Doncaster Rovers Belles with a game in hand at the halfway stage of the season.
Albion broke the deadlock with just four minutes on the clock through Natkiel, who took advantage of some space on the edge of the box and rifled in a strike past Demi Lambourne.
Oxford created their first chance after a cagey opening 20 minutes, as Ellis Hillman was found in space on the right and saw her shot go across the face of goal.
Marie Hourihan was then called into action with a fantastic reaction save at her near post from a Chivers strike that was heading towards the bottom corner.
Danielle Buet then had a chance to extend Albion’s advantage at the end of a sweeping move, but saw her shot saved by Lambourne.
But the lead was doubled with 28 minutes on the clock through A. Whelan, who fired home at the near post after Umotong headed a set-piece back across the face of goal.
The Seagulls were in firm control of proceedings and Umotong could’ve extended the lead further, but saw her looping shot saved by Lambourne following some good link-up play involving Chloe Peplow and Beth Roe.
The visitors thought they had halved the deficit in first-half stoppage time through Hannah Short, but the forward was booked for deliberately palming the ball into the net from a free-kick.
Oxford did gain a foothold in the game just short of the hour mark thanks to Chivers, who saw her strike from distance beat Hourihan at her right-hand post.
A. Whelan almost restored Brighton’s two-goal advantage straight away, but her curling strike went just past the far post.
Umotong was a constant driving force throughout the game, and she teed up Amanda Nilden inside the box, but the Swede’s effort was saved by Lambourne.
A. Whelan scored her second and Albion’s third with 71 minutes played after clinically firing home from inside the box after some brilliant play by Umotong.
Umotong got a well-deserved goal herself to put the result beyond any doubt just 10 minutes later, as she showed some neat footwork and fired home past Lambourne.
The five-star performance was rounded off in the 84th minute, as A. Whelan completed her hat-trick with an unstoppable finish beyond Lambourne to make the final score 5-1.
ALBION: Hourihan; Roe, F. Whelan (Ashton-Jones 88), Rafferty, Perry; Buet (Barton 46), Peplow, Natkiel; A. Whelan (Thomas 90), Nilden, Umotong.
SUBS NOT USED: Gillett (GK), Legg, Somes Gibbons.