- Fliss Gibbons and Ini Umotong open the scoring for Brighton
- Beth Hepple pulls one back just before half time
- Lucy Gillett sent off for Albion, Durham equalise
- Danielle Buet’s penalty wins the game for Brighton
Brighton & Hove Albion continued their 100-per-cent start to the season with a 3-2 win over Durham at Culver Road in Hope Powell’s first match in charge.
Powell fielded an unchanged side from the one that assistant Amy Merricks named in the 1-0 victory over Aston Villa in Tamworth last Sunday.
Albion made the breakthrough with just eight minutes on the clock, when Kate Natkiel produced a wonderful pass for Fliss Gibbons, who finished coolly into the far corner from a tight angle.
Durham had their first clear chance of the fame when striker Nicki Gears crossed for Zoe Ness, but the midfielder couldn’t quite reach the ball with her head.
Gibbons continued to meander down the left-hand side and she nearly turned provider for Umotong, but the Nigerian couldn’t get her shot off and the ball was scrambled away for a corner.
Brighton made Durham pay for their mistakes once again, as Sophie Perry launched a free kick into the box for Umotong to brilliantly flick the ball over her head and over the goalkeeper to make it 2-0 with 27 minutes played.
But the Seagulls made an error of their own moments later when keeper Lucy Gillett mistakenly passed the ball to Durham’s Rachel Lee, but she skewed her resulting effort wide.
Albion nearly put the game to bed minutes before half time, as Natkiel expertly executed a defence-splitting pass for Gibbons to run on to before her curling effort beat the keeper and the post.
Durham found a way back into the game right on the stroke of half time, as a defensive error allowed Beth Hepple to run clear and slot passed Gillett.
The second half started frantically with Durham looking to equalise, and they soon got their chance when a lapse in communication between Barton and Gillet caused the latter to foul the onrushing striker.
The referee’s decision was a red card for Gillett and a free kick, which Hepple bent over the wall and into the net just seconds after the re-start.
Danielle Buet almost got Albion’s third goal when her shot smashed the crossbar and saw s a separate shot blocked from point-blank range.
The midfielder finally got her reward with just under 10 minutes to play though, after Gibbons was fouled in the box. Buet stepped up and buried her penalty to secure the win for 10-woman Brighton.
ALBION: Gillett; Ashton-Jones (Roe 54), F Whelan, Rafferty, Perry; Thomas (A Whelan 45), Buet, Barton, Gibbons; Natkiel, Umotong (Samson GK 59)
SUBS NOT USED: Ritchie, Somes, Legg.