- Nikita Parris gives Manchester City the lead
- Dani Buet equalises minutes later from the penalty spot
- Further goals from Lauren Hemp (2), Caroline Weir, Georgia Stanway, Claire Emslie and Janine Beckie secure the hosts a semi-final spot
- Albion’s next match is against Everton in the FA Women’s Super League this Sunday
Brighton & Hove Albion women bowed out of the FA Continental Tyres Cup following a 7-1 defeat at Manchester City.
Manager Hope Powell was absent from the sidelines for the match due to illness, with assistant manager Amy Merricks taking the reins.
With an important league match against Everton just three days away, the Seagulls took the chance to rotate personnel, with Sophie Harris, Jenna Legg, Kate Natkiel and Sophie Perry all starting.
Neither team managed to stamp their mark on the early stages but it was City who took the lead on six minutes when England international Nikita Parris broke clear of the Albion backline and dinked the ball over the onrushing Harris.
Albion didn’t let their heads drop and just a couple of minutes later Chloe Peplow whipped in a free-kick that fell to Ini Umotong inside the penalty area. The Nigeria international looked as though she had spurned her opportunity, but as the ball was rolling out of play, City goalkeeper Karen Bardsley brought her down.
Captain Dani Buet stepped up to take the resulting penalty kick and dispatched the ball low to the keeper’s right.
The hosts then started to assert their dominance, as two very good chances came in quick succession.
Firstly, Harris did well to turn Parris’s well-struck 18-yard effort over the bar, before Lauren Hemp fired over from six yards.
Hemp’s endeavour was finally rewarded on 24 minutes when Perry couldn’t clear her lines, and the City forward was on hand to fire low past Harris.
City then pressed on in search of a third, with Hemp’s header clearing the crossbar while Harris had to produce another good stop to deny Parris.
Albion’s best chance came when Natkiel was released down the right wing by Aileen Whelan, but her resulting cross fell too far in front of Emily Simpkins.
The fog then began to descend up on the stadium, limiting visibility for both teams as the referee brought the half to a close.
Harris was once again in action following the re-start, denying Claire Emslie’s tame effort, before Parris almost scored a second as she headed a cross wide.
Changes were made after 52 minutes, with Kayleigh Green replacing Peplow and goalscorer Buet giving way to Ellie Hack – making her debut for the first team.
On 59 minutes, City made their dominance count as Scottish international Caroline Weir thundered in an unstoppable strike from 20 yards, leaving Harris with no chance.
Albion struggled to break down their opponents in the second half, and their only chance of note was Whelan’s 70th minute drive, which fell straight into the hands of Bardsley.
The Citizens created several chances to extend their lead, mostly from low crosses out wide, and eventually got their reward with four late goals. Firstly Hemp secured her second of the game with a well-placed shot past Harris.
Emslie then cut in from the left to score with a curling effort, Georgia Stanway hit a low drive into the bottom corner from the edge of the area, and Janine Beckie rounded off the win with a stoppage-time goal.
Albion’s attentions now turn to Sunday’s game against Everton and a chance to build on the impressive win at Liverpool last weekend.
ALBION: Harris; Barton, Buet (Hack 52), Williams, Perry; Peplow (Green 52), Legg, Simpkins; Natkiel, Umotong, A. Whelan.
SUBS NOT USED: Hourihan (GK), Gibbons, Rafferty.
Tickets for Albion’s next FA Women’s Super League match against Everton this Sunday 13th January are still available to purchase online at a price of £7 for adults and £3 for under-10s. Visit BrightonAndHoveAlbion.com/tickets to buy yours.