- Albion lose 1-0 to Reading at the Madejski Stadium
- Rachel Furness scores the only goal of the match for the Royals
- Kirsty Barton hits the crossbar for Albion
- The Seagulls are next in action on Sunday 28th April against Arsenal at the Amex.
Brighton & Hove Albion fell to a 1-0 defeat against Reading in the FA Women’s Super League.
Rachel Furness scored the all-important strike to secure the three points, and despite their best efforts, including Kirsty Barton hitting the crossbar, Albion couldn’t quite find the equaliser.
Manager Hope Powell gave Nigeria striker Ini Umotong the nod up front and once again paired captain Dani Buet with Fern Whelan in the centre of defence.
Reading came firing out of the blocks in the first two minutes and created the game's first opportunity from a free-kick in a dangerous position.
England international Fara Williams clipped in the ball over the Seagulls defence and was able to find Remi Allen, but the midfielder could only poke the ball wide of onrushing goalkeeper Marie Hourihan’s net.
Albion responded almost immediately with their first chance of the game. Kate Natkiel found yards of space on the right-hand side and crossed the ball in for Aileen Whelan, but she couldn’t direct her header on target.
Reading midfielder Rachel Furness showed good agility from another set-piece, but her improvised overhead kick was straight at Hourihan.
The Royals then came within inches of finding a fortuitous opener. Another Williams set-piece caused danger in the Seagulls penalty area, and the ball deflected off Fern Whelan, but luckily the ball cannoned back off the crossbar and the defence cleared the attack.
On the half-hour mark, Albion created a good chance of their own. Kate Natkiel again crossed for Aileen Whelan, but the forward couldn’t get the ball out of her feet and Grace Moloney in the Reading goal was able to smother the ball out of danger and her defence cleared the ball away.
The Seagulls were once again one ball away from carving out a good opportunity. Natkiel, Chloe Peplow and Megan Connolly all combined well to break away from a Reading corner, but Peplow just over hit the final ball to Republic of Ireland international, Connolly.
Just before half time, Reading forward Millie Farrow was sent clean through on goal by Lauren Bruton, and powered clean through towards Hourihan. But just as it seemed as though she was destined to score, her effort was fired wide of the post.
Reading stepped out for the second half with intent and with less than four minutes played, they found themselves in the lead.
A Royals attack broke to Furness on the edge of the penalty area, and she stroked in a left-footed finish past an outstretched Hourihan into the bottom-right corner.
Albion responded well and had a chance to equalise minutes later. The lively Aileen Whelan skipped past the Reading defence into the penalty area, but she could only drag her right-footed effort wide from a tough angle.
Just after the hour mark, Reading squandered a glorious chance to double their lead. A defence-splitting pass by Laura Bruton released Allen, but her side-foot finish was inaccurate and flew wide of the goal.
With the match approaching the final quarter, right-back Kirsty Barton came close toy restoring parity. After an excellent run down the left from Kayleigh Green, the ball broke for Barton who fired a dipping 20-yard strike against the crossbar.
Albion kept pushing and as the clock hit 80 minutes a low cross found Green, but with a plethora of Reading defenders around her, as well as goalkeeper Grace Moloney, the ball was blocked away.
Reading then managed the game well to ensure they didn’t concede again to move above Bristol City in to fifth place for at least 24 hours.
Hope Powell’s side can now focus on next week’s match against title-chasers Arsenal which is taking place at the Amex on Sunday 28th April, kick-off 12.15pm.
ALBION: Hourihan; Barton, Buet, F. Whelan, Gibbons; Peplow (Simpkins 65), Connolly, Green; Natkiel, Umotong (Le Tissier 58), A. Whelan.
SUBS NOT USED: Hartley (GK), Roe, Nilden.
Tickets are available to purchase for Albion’s final home FA Women’s Super League match at the Amex on Sunday 28th April, kick-off 12.15pm. Adults are priced at just £3 and juniors are £1. Visit BrightonAndHoveAlbion.com/tickets to buy yours.