- Albion beat Watford for a second time this week
- Aileen Whelan nets five minutes before half time
- Bronwen Thomas and Jenna Legg both hit the woodwork
- Lucy Gillett saves a late penalty
Brighton & Hove Albion kept up the heat at the top of the FA WSL 2 table thanks to Aileen Whelan’s solitary first-half goal at Watford Ladies.
It was a second victory in four days against the Hornets, following Sunday’s 4-1 win at Culver Road, and while the high-flying Seagulls created the game’s best chances, the hosts showed plenty of endeavour throughout.
In an even opening to the game, Watford had appeals for a penalty when Linda Afuakwah's cross was blocked by Fliss Gibbons, but a corner was given and then comfortably claimed by Albion keeper Lucy Gillett.
The scare sparked the Seagulls to life and they created their first opening on 15 minutes when Kirsty Barton tried her luck from distance with a dipping effort.
Laura Rafferty then connected with a Bronwen Thomas centre just moments later, while Kate Natkiel let fly with a fierce effort against her former club.
Yet it wasn’t all one-way traffic, with the Hornets looking dangerous on the break, and their best effort of the half came when Charlotte Kerr shot just wide on 29 minutes, having been played through by Adekite Fatuga-Dada.
With the half drawing to a close, it was Hope Powell’s side who again upped the ante, with Chloe Peplow sending a dipping volley inches over Fran Kitching’s upright, while a Gibbons volley was well saved by the Watford keeper.
It was only a matter of time before Albion made the breakthrough and it duly arrived five minutes before half time when Aileen Whelan latched onto a ball over the top before sending her shot into the bottom corner.
The Seagulls almost doubled their lead shortly before the break but Thomas’s effort hit the crossbar, much to Kitching’s relief.
The woodwork again came to the hosts’ rescue shortly after the re-start, this time Jenna Legg letting fly with a stinging effort, while Natkiel shot over having shown good feet down the left flank.
Kitching was then equal to Aileen Whelan’s 66th minute effort, pulling off a fine save, and her display was indicative of the effort the Golden Girls put in on the evening.
Indeed, it looked as if they would be rewarded for their efforts when Fatuga-Dada won a penalty with ten minutes remaining, but Gillett was the hero of the hour, pulling off a good save to deny Helen Ward from the spot.
Ward also fired over following a goalmouth scramble deep into injury time, but the Seagulls held on to extend their winning run to four games, with two left to play.