- Howells fires visitors into the lead
- Buet levels before Umotong and Whelan give Albion half-time advantage
- Albion put in solid second-half rearguard action
- Hope Powell’s side pick up first WSL 2 win at home in 2018
Brighton & Hove Albion ran out 3-1 winners over London Bees in FA WSL 2 at Culver Road.
Danni Buet’s free-kick cancelled out Paula Howells's early opener for the visitors, before Ini Umotong fired the Seagulls ahead and Aileen Whelan netted shortly before the break.
The second half saw the visitors put Albion under some sustained pressure as they looked to get back on level terms – but the hosts looked dangerous on the counter-attack and remained solid in defence to see out the victory.
In a frantic opening it was the visiting side who struck first, taking the lead in some style. Ex-Albion midfielder Howells cut in from the right-hand side before curling an unstoppable shot over keeper Marie Hourihan.
But no sooner had they gone ahead, Albion were back on level terms when Umotong drove at the London Bees defence and was brought down on the edge of the area. Captain Buet then stepped up to curl the set-piece past visiting keeper Nicola Hobbs.
Buet let fly once more just after the 20-minute mark but Hobbs comfortably caught her effort on goal.
Umotong had caused the visiting defence some problems with her direct running, and she fired the Seagulls ahead when her effort bounced in off the far post having been set in on goal by Buet – it was the striker’s sixth goal of the season.
Sophie Fogarty had to make way for the visitors just after the half-hour mark through injury, and was replaced by Evie Clarke, before the Seagulls went into a two-goal advantage four minutes before the break.
Amanda Nilden fired in a dangerous corner from the right, and as the visiting defence failed to clear their lines, Aileen Whelan bundled the ball home at the far post.
Emma Beckett drew Hourihan into a routine stop six minutes into the second period, and the Seagulls defended well as their opponents looked for a way back into the game.
Chelsea Weston was then replaced by Chelsea Jumratie with just under half-an-hour to play before Hourihan was forced into another good stop when she punched Howells’ free-kick over the crossbar.
Beckett let fly from distance once more inside the final ten minutes for London Bees, but Hope Powell’s side saw out the remainder of the contest well to seal their first WSL 2 win on home soil this year.
ALBION: Hourihan, Roe, Rafferty, F. Whelan, Gibbons, Barton, Buet, Legg (Natkiel 70), Nilden, A. Whelan, Umotong.
SUBS NOT USED: Gillett, Peplow, Thomas, Somes, Ashton-Jones.
LONDON BEES: Hobbs, Weston (Jumratie 63), Fogarty (Clarke 34), Toussaint, Lea, Lane, Wilkinson, Howells, Beckett, O’Leary, Will.
SUBS NOT USED: Rolandsen, Anderson.