- Kate Natkiel and Amy Taylor on target for Albion
- The Seagulls move to within a point of the league leaders
- Amelia Ritchie and Hollie Olding make their senior debuts
- Brighton end a run of three games without a win
Brighton & Hove Albion women returned to winning ways with an impressive 2-1 victory over title rivals Cardiff City.
Goals from Kate Natkiel and Amy Taylor secured Albion the three points, while Kelly Aldridge pulled one back for the hosts.
The result sees James Marrs’s side move to within a point of the league leaders and ended a run of three games without a win.
Both teams impeccably observed a minute’s silence before kick-off to pay their respects to those who tragically lost their lives in Paris on Friday night.
Albion took the lead in the 16th minute when some good link-up play involving Sophie Perry and Charlotte Gurr set up a chance for Natkiel, who fired the ball past Bluebirds keeper Laura O’Sullivan.
Natkiel and Charley Boswell both had further chances to double the scoreline after getting in behind the Cardiff defence.
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Taylor was also unlucky not to increase Albion’s lead when her shot cannoned off the crossbar, but the forward did manage to find the target when she was allowed to swivel in space before smashing the ball past O’Sullivan.
The deficit was halved just moments later, when Aldridge drilled a shot beyond Faye Baker to give the hosts a foothold in the game.
Cardiff were buoyed by the goal and put the Seagulls defence under significant pressure, as Laura Williams and Gemma Evans delivered a constant supply of balls into the box.
However, Albion’s defence remained resolute and a back three of Deanna Cooper, debutant Amelia Ritchie and Vicky Ashton-Jones produced a fine display.
Hollie Olding almost capped off her first senior appearance with a goal in the closing stages, after she raced through one-on-one with O’Sullivan, but fired her effort wide.
First-team manager James Marrs said, “We came here to do a job and that’s exactly what we did.
“I thought we were a bit sloppy in the second-half and Cardiff were the better side, but in the first-half we were the better team.
“On the balance of play, I thought it was fairly even, but we created a lot more chances.
“We had two one-on-ones that we should’ve dispatched to make the scoreline a bit more comfortable.
“I must say that Amelia Ritchie played exceptionally well on her senior debut; and it’s very pleasing to see one of our centre of excellence players rising to the challenge of playing in the first team.”
ALBION: Baker; D Cooper, Ashton-Jones, Ritchie (Somes 60); Boswell, Barton, Blackie, Perry; Gurr (Olding 70); Natkiel, Taylor (Stenning 80)..