Bartlett ’67 (pen)
- Kelly Isaac and Kerry Bartlett (penalty) on target for Cardiff
- Sophie Perry scored an equaliser for Albion
- Charlotte Gurr hits the crossbar with a late free-kick
- The Seagulls drop to third in the table
Brighton & Hove Albion women were leapfrogged at the top of the Premier League Southern Division table by Cardiff City after a 2-1 defeat to their promotion rivals at Culver Road.
A goal from Kelly Isaac and a penalty from Kerry Bartlett gave the Bluebirds all three points, despite Sophie Perry temporarily restoring parity with a cracking strike.
The result saw Albion side slip down into third place after Charlton’s 2-1 win over Portsmouth, as James Marrs’s side experienced back-to-back defeats.
Albion created a couple of chances in the early stages of the game, as Charlotte Gurr’s free-kick was tentatively thrown up in the air by Cardiff keeper Laura O’Sullivan before being cleared for a corner.
Kirsty Barton then met the subsequent set-piece with a close-range header that went wide of the post.
Perry was next to test the Cardiff defence with a dangerous in-swinging cross, but Amy Taylor narrowly failed to make a connection with the ball.
Lucy Somes also cut in from the left-hand side and set up Jay Blackie with a shot from distance that sailed over the crossbar.
But despite Albion’s early chances it was Cardiff that took the lead in the 28th minute though Isaac. The midfielder rifled home a free-kick that beat Faye Baker in the Albion goal.
The Seagulls tried to get back into the game, but Taylor’s strike from just outside the box was comfortably saved by O’Sullivan.
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Brighton did level the scores just two minutes into the second half, when some fine play by Charley Boswell on the right-hand side set up a chance for Perry, who smashed a shot off the inside of the bar and into the net.
Somes played a through ball towards Taylor inside the box, but O’Sullivan was out quickly to bravely deny the forward a chance to shoot on goal.
The visitors still carried a threat going forward though, as Bartlett’s looping strike went narrowly over the target after a sweeping move.
But Bartlett did regain the lead for Cardiff just moments later from the penalty spot. After some nervy Albion defending, Hope Suominen was brought down inside the box and Bartlett made no mistake in dispatching the subsequent spot-kick past Baker.
Gurr attempted to work an opening for Taylor with a well-timed pass, but the ball was cleared away by a stubborn Cardiff defence.
Baker raced out of her box in an attempt to set up an equaliser in stoppage time, but her long ball missed Taylor in the area and O’Sullivan collected the ball.
There was one final opportunity for Albion to claim a share of the spoils, but Gurr’s superb free-kick was tipped onto the crossbar by O’Sullivan and Cardiff claimed all three points.
ALBION: Baker; Boswell, Ashton-Jones, C Cooper; Perry, Barton, Blackie, Somes (E Baker 82), Gurr; Natkiel (Young 72), Taylor.
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