D Cooper '27
FOREST GREEN 0
- Albion begin their season with a win.
- Deanna Cooper, Jay Blackie, Lucy Somes and Kirsty Barton on target.
- Charlotte Young, Kate Natkiel and Kim Stenning make their second Albion debuts.
- Annie Rolf makes her senior bow.
Brighton & Hove Albion women started their season with victory over Premier League Southern Division newcomers Forest Green Rovers.
Strikes from Deanna Cooper, Jay Blackie, Lucy Somes and Kirsty Barton ensured that James Marrs’s side began the campaign in the best-possible fashion.
Charlotte Young, Kate Natkiel and Kim Stenning all made their second debuts for the club since re-joining in the summer, while Annie Rolf made her first senior appearance.
Albion took the game to Forest Green straight from the kick-off, as Natkiel saw her effort blocked early on to force a corner, before Cooper headed a subsequent attempt over the bar.
The hosts took a deserved lead in the 15th minute, when Charlotte Gurr’s corner was powered home by Blackie.
Cooper made a number of trademark runs throughout the first half and forced a save from Forest Green keeper Georgina Macey after racing towards the box.
Just moments later, the centre-back added a second goal after reacting quickly to a free-kick and fired a shot through the hands of Macey.
Somes then showed some superb skill towards the end of the half by weaving her way through the Forest Green defence, but Macey was out quickly to address the danger.
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Albion continued to dominate proceedings after the interval, as Natkiel stretched to meet Blackie’s ball into the box but could not divert an attempt on target.
The former Watford winger was involved in the action again shortly afterwards after she played a dangerous ball across the area which an outstretched Stenning narrowly missed.
The game was effectively ended as a contest just past the hour mark when Somes ended a scramble inside the area with a composed finish past Macey.
Substitute Amy Taylor had the ball in the net a few minutes later after being played through one-on-one with Macey, but the assistant referee had ruled out the effort for offside.
But a fourth goal did arrive with eight minutes of normal time remaining, as Barton coolly converted an attempt past Macey to give the Seagulls a convincing opening-day victory.
ALBION: Baker; D Cooper, Ashton-Jones, C Cooper; Natkiel, Blackie, Barton, Somes, Rolf; Gurr, Stenning. Sub not used: Towers (GK).