- Albion lose their second FA Women's Super League 2 game of the campaign
- Fern Whelan levels for the Seagulls in the first half
- Kirsty Hanson (2), Jessica Sigsworth and Rebecca Raynor score for Doncaster
- Hope Powell’s team play Manchester City in the SSE Women’s FA Cup next week
Brighton & Hove Albion were beaten 4-1 by league-leading Doncaster Rovers Belles at the Keepmoat Stadium this afternoon.
Fern Whelan cancelled out Jessica Sigsworth’s penalty in the first half, but Kirsty Hanson’s double and Rebecca Raynor’s late strike secured all three points for the hosts.
The game was halted after just ten minutes when Doncaster midfielder Sophie Barker went down with a leg injury - but play resumed after she left the field on a stretcher.
Albion failed to take advantage of a string of early set-piece opportunities and were almost made to pay in the 19th minute, when Sophie Walton’s corner came back off the far post, via a questionable touch from Lucy Gillett.
The Seagulls shot-stopper was again called into action as she did well to cling on to a powerful effort from Simpkins, after the striker raced to the byline and drilled an effort towards goal.
But the hosts were presented with a fine chance to break the deadlock when Beth Roe was penalised for a foul on Raynor, and Simpkins picked out the bottom corner from the resulting spot kick on 33 minutes.
Powell’s team struggled to create anything substantial in an attacking sense, as Belles enjoyed the greater share of possession inside the opening half and defended well against Albion’s attack.
However, Albion levelled against the run of play in the first minute of first-half stoppage time, as Whelan rose highest to meet Sophie Perry’s free-kick and headed past Nicky Davies into the bottom corner.
It looked like the Seagulls would head in level at half-time, but there was still time for another goal, and it went to the hosts in the sixth minute of added time, as Hanson controlled well inside the box and lashed home to make it 2-1.
Gillett made another good stop at the beginning of the second half to deny Hanson, before Sigsworth’s tame effort from close range sailed straight into the goalkeeper’s arms.
Perry than came to Albion’s rescue just after the hour mark, as she raced across the penalty area to intercept Sigsworth’s shot at goal with a last-ditch tackle, with the Doncaster forward clear through.
Ini Umotong then broke away for Albion after a clever turn from Amanda Nilden’s pass inside, but the striker’s ambitious effort from 25 yards bounced into the grateful arms of Doncaster shot-stopper Davies.
The woodwork came to Albion’s rescue for a second time in the 73rd minute after Nilden’s vital clearance fell to Sigsworth inside the box, but the striker’s low shot cannoned back off the post.
The hosts continued to apply pressure in the closing stages and got their third goal on 79 minutes, and it came after two more strikes of the woodwork, following efforts from Simpkins and Mayumi Pacheco.
The goal frame wasn’t to deny Hanson from bagging her brace though, as the midfielder’s firm effort from outside the box beat Gillett and put Doncaster 3-1 ahead with under ten minutes to play.
The game was well and truly killed off in the 90th minute when Raynor’s looping effort from long range hit the back of the net, to conclude Albion’s second FAWSL 2 defeat of the season.
ALBION: Gillett; Roe, F.Whelan, Rafferty, Perry; Barton, Legg (Nesbeth 85), Natkiel (Peplow 63); A.Whelan, Umotong, Nilden.
Subs not used: Hourihan (GK), Buet, Somes, Gibbons.