- Albion are beaten in the FA WSL Tyres Continental Cup for the first time
- Fran Kirby, Crystal Dunn and Ji So Yun on target in a 3-0 win for Chelsea
- Chloe Sansom makes a stunning save to deny Maren Mjelde in the second half
- Albion play Tottenham Hotspur in the same competition on Sunday
Brighton & Hove Albion were beaten for the first time in the FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup, after losing 3-0 to Chelsea in a plucky display at Culver Road.
Hope Powell’s side performed admirably against a Chelsea side packed with 11 full senior internationals, including five that have represented England, as goals from Fran Kirby, Crystal Dunn and Ji So Yun secured all three points for the Blues.
Chelsea were on the front foot from the beginning and squandered a brilliant chance to break the deadlock after Gemma Davison pulled the ball back to Ramona Bachmann inside the box, but the latter blazed her shot over the bar.
Following some pinball action around the edge of the box, Millie Bright pulled the trigger from distance, only to be denied by Chloe Sansom’s low save.
But after a sustained spell of pressure, the visitors took the lead through Kirby, as the striker lashed home a half-volley from inside the penalty area.
Albion pressed forward in search of an equaliser, but Jenna Legg’s shot from distance was comfortably saved by Hedvig Lindahl.
Kirby showed her quality again by almost doubling Chelsea’s lead, but her looping effort clipped the top of the bar.
The England international striker had another chance after being played in by Bachmann, but Sansom was on hand to make a comfortable save.
Ji So Yun then pulled the trigger from distance, however Sansom raced across her goal to deny the South Korean international.
The visitors were somehow denied a second goal after Bachmann’s cross into the box caused mayhem in the six-yard box, before Sansom claimed the ball to conclude a frantic scramble.
Kirby proved to be a constant threat to the Albion defence, as another shot from distance shaved the bar once again.
The livewire forward continued to trouble Albion’s defence, and after being played through on goal, she chipped her shot just wide.
But just as Chelsea looked to assert their dominance, Ini Umotong had an opportunity to score an unlikely equaliser, only to see her shot from the outside of her right foot deflected wide.
Danielle Buet drew cheers of appreciation from the Culver Road crowd after two crunching challenges set up a chance for Umotong, but Hedvig Lindahl was on hand to claim the ball as she raced off her goal line.
Sansom then made a stunning one-handed save to keep the deficit at one, palming away Maren Mjelde’s curling strike towards the left post.
But the west Londoners got a second in the 77th minute courtesy of Dunn, who ended a sweeping Chelsea move with a clinical finish past Sansom that clipped in off the underside of the crossbar.
Umotong continued to work tirelessly as the lone forward, and could’ve halved the deficit after racing through one-on-one with Lindahl, but the Swedish shot-stopper made a fine save.
The visitors added extra gloss to the scoreline in stoppage time though, as Ji capped a fine individual display with a clinical finish from inside the box.
The Seagulls face another game in the competition with a trip to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, and will take plenty of positives from a gutsy display against their high-flying opponents.
ALBION: Sansom; Roe, F. Whelan, Ritchie, Perry; Thomas, Buet, Legg (Natkiel 73), Barton, Gibbons; Umotong (Somes 88).
SUBS NOT USED: Gillett (GK), A. Whelan, Rafferty, Taylor.