- Albion draw 0-0 with Bristol City in their Barclays FA Women’s Super League opener.
- Victoria Williams has a first-half penalty saved.
- Megan Walsh, Matilde Lundorf, Lea Le Garrec and Danique Kerkdijk make their Albion debuts.
- Albion are next in action against Chelsea at The People’s Pension Stadium.
Hope Powell and her players were satisfied with a point following a promising performance, but they were left feeling it could have been even better following Victoria Williams’s saved penalty in the first half, and along with the creation of several more good chances throughout the game.
Powell named three of the club’s summer signings in the starting line-up, with Megan Walsh, Matilde Lundorf and Lea Le Garrec all included, while Netherlands World Cup finalist Danique Kerkdijk was named on the bench.
The Albion manager deployed a 4-3-3 formation, with an exciting front trio of Ellie Brazil, Kayleigh Green and Aileen Whelan that had Le Garrec in behind alongside Megan Connolly and Dani Bowman.
Powell and her players have continuously reinforced the message of wanting to improve on last season’s ninth-place finish throughout the summer, and they would be filled with confidence given the start they made to the contest.
Le Garrec was at the heart of everything positive going forward for Albion, spraying the ball around with ease and always looking to find the pockets of space in front of the City defence.
The French midfielder gave the Bristol City back four cause for concern early on when her looping cross from the left was spilled by Sophie Baggaley ,with Matilde Lundorf ready to pounce before the hosts’ defence cleared the ball.
The Vixens looked to attack on the break and gave the home crowd a reason for encouragement when Carla Humphrey teed up Charlie Wellings, but the latter’s effort was comfortably saved by Megan Walsh.
Kayleigh Green had two quick chances in succession for the Seagulls with a close-range shot and header, but Albion wasted a golden opportunity to break the deadlock three minutes before the interval.
Aileen Whelan was brought down inside the box, and the subsequent spot-kick from Williams was pushed behind by Baggaley, diving to her right, to leave it all square at the break.
There was plenty of promise in the second half, but Albion lacked a cutting edge up front. The front trio of Aileen Whelan, Green and Ellie Brazil worked tirelessly, as Brazil was denied twice in quick succession by Baggaley.
Powell brought on Ini Umotong just past the hour mark in a like-for-like change for Green, and the Nigerian provided the new focal point for everything going forward.
Albion had Walsh to thank for keeping the scores level going into the final ten minutes of an edgy contest after she produced an excellent one-handed save to keep out Abi Harrison’s rising effort.
Umotong continued to prove a threat going forward and looked to turn provider for Megan Connolly, and the Irish midfielder managed to sting the gloves of Baggaley before the shot-stopper eventually gathered the ball. City could have stolen all three points at the death when substitute Ebony Salmon saw her long-range effort rebound off the crossbar, but the game finished 0-0.
Albion will be back to the familiar surroundings of The People’s Pension Stadium for arguably a much tougher test when title contenders Chelsea visit, but Powell and her team will head into the game feeling there is plenty to build on after an encouraging performance in the south west.
ALBION: Walsh; Lundorf, F. Whelan (Nilden 78), Williams, Gibbons; Connolly, Bowman, Le Garrec (Kerkdijk 78); Brazil, Green (Umotong 62), A. Whelan.
SUBS NOT USED: Harris (GK), Barton, Simpkins, Natkiel.
Tickets for next week’s home FA WSL encounter against Chelsea on Sunday 15th September, kick-off 2pm, are also available to buy in advance at a price of £4 for adults and £2 for over-65s and under-18s (including a £1 online booking fee – tickets purchased in person or over the phone have an additional 50p booking fee).
Season tickets for the 2019/20 FA WSL season are also still available, priced at £30 for adults and £10 for over-65s and under-18s.
To get yours, visit tickets.BrightonAndHoveAlbion.com or call the Albion Booking line on 0844 327 1901 (calls cost seven pence per minute plus your network access charge).