- Albion beat Charlton 3-0 to secure their first victory of the season
- Ini Umotong scores on the stroke of half time
- Kayleigh Green converts two penalties to seal the win
- The Seagulls return to league action against Arsenal next Sunday
After coming so close to a shock victory against Chelsea in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League last week, manager Hope Powell had a week of training with the players in pursuit of their first win of the season against the Women’s Championship side.
Before the match, Powell spoke about rotating her team and giving more of her players minutes in this competition. She stuck with this mindset and made eight changes to the team that faced Chelsea, with Fliss Gibbons, Danique Kerkdijk and Ini Umotong the only survivors.
Following a sunny Saturday in the south east, the weather had tuned drizzly and wet for the occasion, and perhaps the conditions, along with the personnel changes, made it hard for Albion to find their fluidity early on.
The only incident of note from the opening 15 minutes came when England under-17 international Maya Le Tissier received a yellow card for hacking down Charlotte Kerr on the halfway line.
Albion looked to have sprung into life just moments later with Umotong being denied superbly by Shanell Salgado. The Nigerian leapt high to meet Kate Natkiel’s cross with her head, but Salgado managed to turn the ball over the bar.
But as the half wore on, Powell’s side struggled to break down their hardworking opponents, as Emily Simpkins and Natkiel fired shots that were routinely saved.
In a rare moment of spark for Albion, Amanda Nilden picked out Kayleigh Green with a neat cut-back, but the Wales forward couldn’t direct her right-footed attempt on target.
The Seagulls then suffered a scare on the stroke of half time. Rachel Newborough hit a fierce delivery along the ground, and as the ball flashed through the six-yard box, former Albion midfielder Jenna Legg was inches away from getting a decisive touch.
But the deadlock was broken in Albion's favour shortly before the interval. Natkiel delivered a corner to the centre of the penalty area, and this time Umotong made no mistake with her header to give the Seagulls a deserved lead.
The second half began much as the first ended, with few opportunities for either side. Despite the lack of action, Albion remained in control of the match and didn’t look as though they were going to give up their lead.
The opportunity to double their advantage then presented itself in the 74th minute, thanks to a penalty. Nilden burst into the penalty area and was brought down by Newborough. Green dispatched her effort straight down the middle of the goal.
Green was given another chance to convert from the spot just shy of the full-time whistle. This time it was the Wales international who was brought down by goalkeeper Salgado as she raced through on goal. The forward then dusted herself down and calmly slotted the ball into the net.
Good game management then ensured that Sophie Harris’s goal wasn’t pressured and the team were able to see out the victory.
Attention returns to the FAWSL next week, with a trip to Arsenal in front of the BBC cameras next Sunday.
ALBION: Harris; Barton, F.Whelan (Williams, 55), Kerkdijk, Gibbons; Le Tissier (Le Garrec 87), Simpkins; Natkiel, Green, Nilden; Umotong (A.Whelan 74).
SUBS NOT USED: Walsh (GK), Lundorf, Brazil, Connolly.