Report: Whelan goal earns Albion crucial WSL victory

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Albion began the new year in style after Aileen Whelan’s first-half goal secured a precious win over Liverpool in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League.

By Bruce Talbot • 05 January 2020

By Kyle Hemsley
Aileen Whelan put Albion in front with a close-range finish.
  • Albion start 2020 with important Women's Super League win over Liverpool
  • Hope Powell’s team seal 1-0 victory thanks to goal from Aileen Whelan
  • Victory lifts Albion up to ninth in the table
  • The Seagulls are back in action next Sunday at home to Arsenal

Whelan scored her third goal of the season to settle a game during which Albion had to defend diligently for long periods at The People’s Pension Stadium.

Their second league win of the campaign lifted them up to ninth in the table and will give them plenty of confidence ahead of another big home game next Sunday against Arsenal.

By Kyle Hemsley
Lea Le Garrec takes on a shot.

Albion made four changes to the side beaten by Manchester City in their last WSL fixture three weeks ago with Megan Walsh, Kate Natkiel, Kirsty Barton and Maya Le Tissier all recalled.

Bristol City’s win over Manchester United earlier in the day, which had temporarily at least lifted them off the bottom of the table, made this an even more important game and in the early stages both teams struggled to find any fluency.

Liverpool had the first chance in the 20th minute when striker Rinsola Babajide, whose goal had won the corresponding fixture last season, swivelled eight yards out after finding some precious space but her left-foot shot went just wide.

By Kyle Hemsley
Today's Barclays FA Women's Super League match has been postponed.

Albion began to enjoy a spell of possession and after winning a couple of corners they took the lead in the 34th minute. Fliss Gibbons’ cross from the left into a crowded six-yard box was knocked goalwards by Le Tissier and Whelan stooped to guide a right-foot shot past Fran Kitching.

It was a little harsh on Liverpool at that stage, as the visitors had been more threatening, and they nearly equalised just before the break when Jade Bailey swung a corner from the left onto the corner of the near post and crossbar.

By Kyle Hemsley
Kate Natkiel looks to get ahead of Liverpool's Becky Jane.

The dangerous Babajide had another sight of goal five minutes into the second half but shot wide, then Rachel Furness met a loose ball just inside the box but also failed to test Walsh as Liverpool made a good start to the second half.

Babajide threatened again when she raced clear of the home defence, but Walsh raced out of goal to smother at her feet before making a more routine save from the Liverpool striker.

By Kyle Hemsley
Megan Connolly tries her luck with a shot from distance.

Powell made her first change when Lea Le Garrec was replaced by Megan Connolly but the game had become increasingly scrappy, although it was Liverpool who were still the more threatening and Bailey wasn’t far away with a free kick from the edge of the box which was only a yard or so wide.

Connolly fired over from distance and Albion began to pose more of an attacking threat in the closing stages with Ini Umotong replacing Natkiel to give them a different option up front. Albion negotiated five minutes of stoppage time without too many alarms to pick up three very important points.

ALBION: Walsh, Barton, Kerkdijk, Le Tissier, Gibbons, A. Whelan, Bowman, Simpkins, Natkiel (Umotong 82), Green, Le Garrec (Connolly 71).

SUBS NOT USED: Harris, Roe, Nilden, Lundorf, Williams.


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