Albion women moved a step closer to the title today.
C&K BASILDON 1
Cooper 26, 57
- Albion move eight points clear at the top of the league
- Defender Deanna Cooper scores a brace
- Charlotte Gurr, Amy Taylor, Jay Blackie and Kate Natkiel also on the scoresheet
- Albion repeat their 6-1 win from the reverse fixture at Culver Road
Brighton & Hove Albion women went eight points clear at the top of the Premier League Southern Division, following a comfortable 6-1 victory over C&K Basildon at the Frost Financial Stadium today.
Charlotte Gurr and Amy Taylor put Albion 2-0 ahead, before Claire Lacey pulled one back for the hosts all inside the opening 20 minutes.
But Deanna Cooper's brace and second-half goals from Jay Blackie and Kate Natkiel claimed an emphatic win in Essex.
James Marrs made three changes from last week's SSE Women's FA Cup tie against Sporting Club Albion, with Blackie, Lily Agg and Charley Boswell replacing Natkiel, Lucy Somes and Lisa Fulgence in the starting line-up.
Albion took the lead in the fifth minute, as some neat build-up play from Agg and Amy Taylor led to Gurr finding the net from close-range, following a cross from Albion's number nine.
Basildon had their first chance of the game, when Stacey Little tried her luck from long-range, but her wind-assisted effort sailed wide of Nina Wilson's goal.
Taylor went from provider to scorer after ten minutes, as she found space inside Basildon's box and managed to turn Boswell's accurate cross past Molly Povey from close-range.
Sophie Perry was penalised for a handball near Albion's byline and her team were made to pay from the resultant free-kick.
Lacey rose highest inside Albion's box to connect with a powerful header past Wilson, who had little chance of saving the Basildon captain's firm effort.
Albion remained patient in their build-up play after conceding, spraying the ball around the pitch looking for opportunities to increase their lead.
Their persistance paid off after 26 minutes, after Gurr's free-kick found its way through a crowd of bodies to Cooper, who slotted home.
Gurr was the provider once again in the closing stages of the first half, when her deflected cross bounced towards the back post, but Boswell was unable to connect in front of goal.
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After a relatively quiet start to the second half, Albion made it four just shy of the hour mark, as Cooper fired the ball past the Basildon shot-stopper after breaking out from defence and into Basildon's penalty area.
James Marrs then introduced fresh legs in the form of Somes and Natkiel, replacing Perry and Agg.
Blackie got her name on the scoresheet, making the most of Povey's poor attempt to gather the ball, as Albion's captain prodded home from close-range.
Taylor came close to extending Albion's lead when she hit the crossbar with a speculative, long-range effort.
Boswell had a great chance to add extra gloss to the score-line late on, but her half-volley was saved well by Povey and cleared away from danger.
But Natkiel made it six in the closing stages, rolling the ball into the bottom corner with ease, rounding off a comfortable win for the Albion.
The result takes them eight points clear at the top of the Premier League Southern Division with just two games left to play.
ALBION: Wilson; Ashton-Jones, D Cooper, Ritchie; Boswell, Barton, Blackie (Fulgence 75), Perry (Somes 64); Agg (Natkiel 61), Gurr, Taylor.