- Albion are beaten 4-1 by Reading
- Own goal gives the Royals a half-time lead
- Brooke Chaplen, Fara Williams and Gemma Davison add further goals
- Aileen Whelan heads home for the Seagulls
Despite a battling display at the Broadfield Stadium, Brighton & Hove Albion were beaten 4-1 by Reading in the FA Women’s Super League this afternoon.
An unfortunate own goal from Marie Hourihan set the Royals on their way, and although Aileen Whelan pulled a goal back in-between strikes from Brooke Chaplen, Fara Williams and Gemma Davison, the Berkshire club picked up a deserved victory.
Jade Moore created the first opportunity of the game for the visitors, but Albion goalkeeper Hourihan made a comfortable stop from the forward’s tame 20-yard effort.
But the Royals were able to break the deadlock in the 20th minute and the goal came in fortuitous fashion — Williams’s shot came back off the upright and hit Hourihan on the back, which sent the ball into the back of the net.
Chaplen then broke into Albion’s penalty area and fired a low shot towards goal, but Hourihan was able to make a smart stop with her feet to prevent the Seagulls going further behind.
Hope Powell’s team continued to defend well and restrict the Royals to few opportunities on goal, but Ini Umotong looked isolated at times as Albion worked the ball forward into the attacking third.
Another Williams effort for the visitors was tipped over the crossbar shortly before the break, with Jo Potter also striking the woodwork directly from a corner, but the score remained at 1-0 for the interval.
Powell made two changes ahead of the second half — Ellie Brazil and Kayleigh Green were introduced in place of Kate Natkiel and Dani Buet, as the Seagulls went in search of an equalising goal.
But in the 58th minute they found themselves further behind, and it was Chaplen who was able to make the most of space inside Albion’s penalty area to fire into the top corner to make it 2-0.
Albion needed to show a positive reaction and that’s exactly what happened, as Whelan raced to the front post and glanced a brilliant header beyond Grace Moloney from Umotong’s inch-perfect cross.
The goal lifted the mood around the Broadfield but Albion were soon dealt another blow — Hourihan was unable to claim a long-range shot from Williams at the second time of asking, and the ball bounced over to restore Reading’s two-goal lead.
The timing of the goal took the wind out of Albion’s sails, and the visitors extended their lead further in the 81st minute when a deflected long-range shot from Williams found its way past Hourihan to make it 4-1.
Whelan came close to pulling a goal back for the Seagulls, as she volleyed straight at Moloney from Sophie Perry’s corner, but the final whistle blew and the Royals travelled home with the points.
ALBION: Hourihan; Barton, Rafferty, Williams, Perry; Natkiel (Brazil 46), Peplow, Buet (Green 46), Brett, A.Whelan; Umotong.
Subs not used: Gillett (GK), Gibbons, Legg, Simpkins.