- Albion progress into the Premier League Cup second round
- Kirsty Barton, Kim Stenning, Kate Natkiel and Charlotte Gurr with the goals
- Amy Taylor hits the crossbar with an in-swinging cross
- Valentine Pursey makes her senior debut
Brighton & Hove Albion women progressed through to the Premier League Cup second round following a comfortable 4-0 win over Gillingham at the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre.
Goals from Kirsty Barton, Kim Stenning, Kate Natkiel and Charlotte Gurr were enough to send the Seagulls into round two and extend Albion's unbeaten start to the season.
Both teams paid tribute to those who lost their lives in the Shoreham Airshow disaster as a minute silence was impeccably observed prior to kick-off, with the Albion team wearing black armbands.
Brighton took the game to the Gills in the early stages, as Sophie Perry found Jay Blackie inside the box, but the latter's shot did not trouble keeper Courtney Shanley.
Gurr was next to test the Gills defence with an in-swinging free-kick which found Deanna Cooper inside the box, but the defender headed an effort wide at the far post.
The visitors struggled to create many goalscoring opportunities in the first half, the best of which fell to Shannon Redhouse, who cut inside the Albion defence and saw her shot comfortably saved by Faye Baker.
Perry was a constant threat for the Seagulls down the left-hand side and she found Stenning inside the box, whose shot produced a fine save by Shanley.
James Marrs's side broke the deadlock in the 34th minute thanks to Barton. The midfielder fired home at the second attempt from a Gurr free-kick to give Albion a well-deserved lead.
Amy Taylor almost doubled Albion's advantage in first-half stoppage time with a cross from the right-hand side that cannoned off the crossbar before going behind.
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Gillingham struggled to gain any sort of foothold in the game, as Fiona Constable's driving run was halted thanks to a superb last-ditch challenge by Vicky Ashton-Jones.
The Seagulls had a chance to score a second when Cooper shot over from Perry's cross, but a goal did come in the 54th minute courtesy of Stenning.
The Albion striker scored her first goal since returning to the club after slotting the ball from close range following Natkiel's cross.
Natkiel then got in on the act after 66 minutes to effectively end the game as a constest when she clinically fired home a loose ball on the edge of the box.
Just moments later, Natkiel and Annie Rolf were replaced by Phoebe Leitch and Valentine Pursey- the latter making her senior debut.
The visitors had few opportunities to net a consolation, the best of which fell to substitute Lydia Wills, who headed an out-swinging cross wide of the mark.
There was cause for concern for Marrs's side when Stenning was withdrawn from the game appearing to clutch her hamstring and was replaced by Danielle Rowe.
The Seagulls soon extended their advantage in the 76th minute, after Pursey's shot was tipped into the path of Gurr and the forward slotted the ball into an empty net on the rebound.
Pursey was inches away from scoring a goal on a first-team bow when her strike cannoned off the post and on this occasion, Gurr fired a follow-up shot over the bar.
ALBION: Baker; Taylor, D Cooper, Ashton-Jones, Perry; Blackie, Barton, Rolf (Pursey 67); Gurr, Stenning (Rowe 72), Natkiel (Leitch 67).
SUB NOT USED: Towers (GK).
Manager James Marrs said , "I thought it was a professional performance by us. We got the job done and I could have no complaints.
"I don't recall them having too many opportunities on goal. I thought we were defensively very resolute and caused them a lot of problems going forward.
"The way that Gillingham acted today was first class. They got us a wreath for the air disaster and presented that to us before the game which showed a tremendous amount of respect.
"I'm not surprised because I know their manager Jack Wheeler very well and he's a very respectful and professional man."