Brighton & Hove Albion women’s first-team had a mixed bag of results this December after playing four games in 11 days, but were able to qualify for the quarter-finals of the FA Continental Tyres League Cup.
Albion came into the month with confidence after taking the lead against league leaders Arsenal, who at the time had a 100% record in all competitions, before eventually losing 4-1.
The first match of December saw Hope Powell’s side take on fellow FA Women’s Super League newcomers West Ham United.
Chances were few and far between at the Broadfield Stadium and the match was settled by a single goal from Hammers and Scotland forward Jane Ross, whose deft header from a cross found its way past Marie Hourihan in goal.
Just three days later, the Seagulls switched their attention to the FA Continental Tyres League Cup where they took on local rivals and Women’s Championship side Crystal Palace.
Hope Powell took the chance to rotate the line-up and gave debuts to development squad players Maya Le Tissier and Abigail Mason.
Albion proved too strong for their opponents, as Kate Natkiel’s brace and a goal each from Jodie Brett, Sophie Perry and Fliss Gibbons sealed the three points that lifted Albion into second place in the group, to keep qualification in their own hands.
The Seagulls then played their third and final match of the week against current FA WSL title holders Chelsea.
Despite holding their own for the first hour of the match, Chelsea’s quality shone through and goals from Magdalena Eriksson, Bethany England (2) and Ji So-Yun sealed a flattering win for the visitors.
In their final match of 2018, Albion ended the year on a high after defeating Yeovil Town 4-1 to clinch a place in the knockout stages of the FA Continental Tyres League Cup.
Knowing a win would secure second place behind Chelsea in the group, Powell’s side started well in their pursuit of victory.
Ellie Brazil’s composed finish put the Seagulls 1-0 up after just 15 minutes, until Emily Syme drew the Glovers level eight minutes before half-time.
However, Albion were leading at the break thanks to a Dani Buet penalty with the last kick of the half, after Ini Umotong was fouled in the penalty area.
Further goals from second-half substitutes Kayleigh Green and Beth Roe sealed the win, which was Albion’s first victory of the season.
Powell’s side are next in action when they face Liverpool away at Prenton Park on Sunday 6th January, before a home match against Everton at the Broadfield Stadium on Sunday 13th January, kick-off 2pm.