WEST HAM 0
- Albion move to the top of the league
- Jay Blackie on target for Brighton
- James Marrs's side are now unbeaten in three games
- The Seagulls kept their first clean sheet since 23rd September
Brighton & Hove Albion women moved top of the Premier League Southern Division with a hard-fought 1-0 win over West Ham United Ladies at Culver Road.
Jay Blackie scored the only goal in a well-contested match against the Hammers and the win means Albion have a two-point lead over title-rivals Cardiff City, who did not play today.
Brighton controlled the ball comfortably in midfield in the opening exchanges, but they lacked a clinical edge in the final third. Chances were at a premium but Kirsty Barton worked an opening after some skilful play, only to see her shot cannon back off the post.
The West Ham defence did well to hold off the relentless Brighton attack and the visitors seemed to spend the entire first 45 minutes inside their own half.
The hosts looked certain to take the lead after 26 minutes when Amy Taylor squared the ball for Blackie to tap into an empty net. But the Albion midfielder lost her footing and scuffed her effort wide with the goal at her mercy.
Kate Natkiel was seemingly everywhere in midfield and was shooting from all distances, a couple of which were just inches away from breaking the deadlock.
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The second half started as the first had ended and Albion enjoyed the bulk of the possession. West Ham could not play under the constant pressure from the hosts and they struggled to keep up with Albion’s quick passing and movement.
On so many occasions though, Brighton’s final ball just was not quite good enough and all their clever build-up play was undone in the final third. Charlotte Gurr replaced Phoebe Leitch after an hour and she too could have given Albion the lead if not for the brilliant Aditi Chauhan in the West Ham goal.
The Seagulls again hit the woodwork, this time Barton’s lofted effort crashed back off the crossbar with Chauhan beaten. Just when it looked like the game was heading for a stalemate, Albion’s efforts were rewarded with a stroke of good fortune.
From all of 40 yards out, Deanna Cooper curled a dangerous cross into the box, which appeared to take a nick off Blackie and nestled in the corner of the net with 74 minutes on the clock.
West Ham offered very little in way of a response and Albion could have added to their lead when Taylor had her shot blocked by Chauhan from point-blank range.
James Marrs’s side now turn their attentions to the Premier League Cup clash with Chichester City at Culver Road next Sunday, before they return to league duty against Charlton Athletic on 6th December.
ALBION: Baker; D Cooper, Ashton-Jones, E Baker; Boswell, Young (Stenning 79); Barton (Gurr 60), Blackie, Leitch; Natkiel, Taylor.
SUB NOT USED: C Cooper.