Albion were beaten for the first time in the FAWSL Spring Series.
ASTON VILLA 3
- Albion succumb to their first FAWSL Spring Series defeat
- Kerri Welsh, Maddey Cusack and Natasha Baptiste with the goals for Villa
- Bronwen Thomas on target for Albion
- Brighton are next in action against Watford at Culver Road on 16th April
Brighton & Hove Albion succumbed to their first defeat in the FAWSL Spring Series, after going down 3-1 to Aston Villa at the Lamb Ground.
A goal each from Kerri Welsh, Maddey Cusack and Tash Baptiste gave Villa a convincing victory, while Bronwen Thomas scored a consolation for the Seagulls.
Welsh had the first chance of the game for Villa, but Emma Byrne was on hand to keep out her close-range shot.
Albion also had a few early chances to break the deadlock, but Sophie Perry’s free-kick and further attempts from Lucy Somes and Kirsty Barton were comfortably saved by Villa keeper Claire Skinner.
Welsh had another opportunity to give Villa the lead, but Byrne thwarted the forward again with a comfortable stop.
Somes was involved in the thick of the action again, as she weaved inside the Villa defence, but her shot took a deflection and was easily dealt with by Skinner.
Thomas then linked up well with Kate Natkiel out on the left, and the latter’s angled strike was kept out by Skinner at her near post.
But it was the hosts that took the lead with 32 minutes played, as Welsh took advantage of a horrible mix-up in the Albion defence and fired the ball into an empty net.
Their lead was doubled just four minutes later, after Cusack capitalised on some more confusion in the Seagulls defence and scored easily.
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The hosts had further opportunities to increase their advantage after the re-start, as Charlotte Young did well to divert Cusack’s dangerous cross wide, before Baptiste saw her close-range shot go straight at Byrne.
Thomas pressed forward in a bid to gain Albion a foothold in the game, and her tame shot almost eluded Skinner, but the Villa shot-stopper scampered back to her line and claimed the ball.
Villa had three chances in quick succession to add a third goal on the hour mark, Baptiste and Cusack both fired against the woodwork before Welsh saw her follow-up strike go over the bar.
But Thomas gave Albion hope of a comeback in the 67th minute, as she clinically dispatched a loose ball past Skinner, after Ellie Dorey’s initial attempt was blocked inside the box.
Despite halving the deficit, it was Villa that pushed forward in search of a potentially decisive third goal, with Baptiste denied twice again by Byrne.
Welsh could’ve got her second and a third for the hosts, but her lob went inches wide of the far post.
Laura Rafferty could have netted an unlikely equaliser for Albion after she arrived late in the box to meet Amy Taylor’s cross, but Skinner made a straightforward stop.
The Villans wrapped up all three points with four minutes of normal time remaining, when Baptiste finally got her name on the scoresheet after firing home from Beth Merrick’s cross to make the final score 3-1.
ALBION: Byrne; Perry, Ashton-Jones, Young (Dorey 59), Ritchie; Barton, Rafferty, Somes (A. Taylor 59); Legg (Olding 82), Thomas, Natkiel.
SUBS NOT USED: Samain (GK), N. Taylor.