Report: Resilient Albion hold City to 0-0 draw

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Seagulls dig in to make it four points from first two games in the WSL.

By Bruce Talbot • 13 September 2020

By Simon Davies
Rianna Jarrett puts pressure on the City defence.

Albion achieved one of the best results in their Women’s Super League history as they held last season’s runners-up Manchester City to a goalless draw at the City Academy Stadium.

As might have been expected, City had plenty of possession and their fair share of chances but they couldn’t break down a determined Albion side. And when they did get a clear sight of goal, keeper Megan Walsh was in fine form.

Hope Powell’s team had chances of their own and fully deserved to make it four points from their opening two games ahead of next weekend’s international break. It is a measure of their progress that they lost 5-0 on their last visit to City, but such an outcome was never on the cards this time.

Albion made three changes to the side that kicked off the new season with a 2-0 win over Birmingham City. Geum-min Lee was not allowed to play as part of the loan agreement with City so Rianna Jarrett came in for her first WSL start in attack. Danique Kerkdijk and Kayleigh Green also came in.

By Simon Davies
Aileen Whelan attacks the City defence.

Albion knew they would have to be defensively resilient and organised and showed those qualities in the first half as City pressed but the visitors stood firm.

Walsh made three good saves before the break, denying Steph Houghton, Ellen White and Georgia Stanway. Walsh had a moment of alarm when she had to grab Stanway’s cross-shot when it looked as if it might creep over the line, while Kerkdijk did enough to put off Stanway sufficiently for the England international to drag a shot from a great position wide of goal.

But it was far from one-way traffic. Albion had a good ten-minute spell after City’s early pressure and skipper Dani Bowman wasn’t far away with a curling effort from distance while later in the half Inessa Kaagman had more time and space than she thought when volleying wide from just outside the box.

Albion snapped into challenges, won plenty of second balls and could have been pleased with their first-half efforts, although Bowman blotted her copybook when she was booked for a foul on Sam Mewis.

Denise O’Sullivan replaced Megan Connolly at the break and there was an early second-half scare for Albion in the 49th minute when Laura Coombs played in Chloe Kelly, but she dragged her shot just wide.

By Simon Davies
Dani Bowman challenges City's Lucy Bronze.

It was, though, a rare moment of alarm in the second half for the Seagulls, who continued to work hard to prevent City finding any sort of rhythm. And when they attacked Albion were a threat, with Maya Le Tissier forcing Ellie Roebuck to save her shot at the second attempt.

Hope Powell made good use of the bench, with Nora Heroum, Emily Simpkins and Kirsty Barton all coming on and in the closing stages Albion came close snatching a goal.

Bowman hit a free-kick from the edge of the D inches wide after O’Sullivan was brought down then Heroum didn’t get quite enough power on her shot to test Bowman. The referee added on five minutes and City won a corner in the dying seconds but, as they had all afternoon, Albion cleared the danger and moments later could celebrate an excellent result and deserved point.

Albion: Walsh, Le Tissier, Williams (Barton 70), Stott, Kerkdijk, Whelan, Bowman, Connolly (O’Sullivan 45), Green, Kaagman (Heroum 67), Jarrett. Subs not used: Fiskerstrand, Simpkins, Gibbons, Robinson.

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