Fulgence 90+1, 90+3
- Albion move six points clear at top of table
- Lisa Fulgence scores twice on her return to the side
- Albion record their third consecutive clean sheet
- Charlotte Gurr nets her 15th goal of the season
Brighton & Hove Albion women moved six points clear at the top of the Premier League Southern Division table with a 3-0 win over Plymouth Argyle at Culver Road.
Two late goals from Lisa Fulgence on her return from a long-term knee injury and one from Charlotte Gurr was enough to beat the Pilgrims, who remain rooted to the foot of the table.
Albion went close early on when Gurr’s long-range effort was tipped onto the bar by Michaela Phillips in the Plymouth goal. Kirsty Barton then tried her luck from 25 yards out, but her shot also cannoned back off the crossbar.
The visitors endured an early Brighton onslaught and had their goalkeeper to thank for it remained goalless. Phillips made some smart saves to deny Gurr, Amy Taylor, Charlotte Young.
Plymouth’s stout defensive play was frustrating Albion, who struck the woodwork for a third time when Kate Natkiel’s driven shot crashed back off the upright.
But Albion’s relentless pressure paid off just before half time, when Gurr scored her 15th goal of the season to give Albion the lead. Sophie Perry’s cut-back found the forward, who could not miss from inside the six-yard box.
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Brighton’s dominance continued after the interval and Taylor looked certain to double the home side’s advantage after Young’s shot hit the bar, but her close-range effort was somehow stopped by Phillips.
Plymouth offered little in way of a response as Albion poured forward in search of a second goal. Natkiel and Perry both had shots saved by the impressive Phillips before the former blasted a shot just wide.
Deanna Cooper replaced Ellie Dorey after 72 minutes, and she almost had an immediate impact when her curling effort hit Jodie Chubb and grazed the crossbar as it went over.
Albion then hit the woodwork for a fourth time; Young’s effort was parried onto the bar by Phillips on this occasion.
Fulgence replaced Taylor with seven minutes to go and could have doubled Albion’s lead, but her header dropped just wide of the post.
Fulgence then made a memorable return to the side after over a year since her last appearance, when she smashed the ball home after being put through on goal. The striker secured the Seagulls all three points when she headed home from Catherine Cooper’s cross just moments later.
James Marrs’s side welcome Tottenham Hotspur Ladies to Culver Road next Sunday, before hosting Luton Town Ladies in the SSE FA Women’s Cup on 10th January.
ALBION: Baker; C Cooper, Ashton-Jones (c), Baker; Perry, Young, Barton, Dorey (D Cooper 72); Gurr; Natkiel, Taylor (Fulgence 83).
SUBS NOT USED: Towers (GK), Blackie.