Brighton & Hove Albion women’s first-team manager Hope Powell believes the result of Sunday’s match against Yeovil Town could be a key turning point in the season.
Albion take on a Glovers side that currently sit bottom of the FA Women’s Super League, and Powell is eager to claim three crucial points to move further clear of the one relegation spot in the division.
She said, “Everybody recognises that it’s a crunch game because of the nature of it and where both teams sit.
“Undoubtedly it’ll be a pressurised game for both teams and it’s about which one manages it the best.
“Both teams know what’s at stake. We win the game, we go four points clear and gives us some breathing space. They win the game, and we’re bottom of the league.
“Everything is to play for. I imagine the game will be tense and cagey too. It will be about how the players manage themselves on the day, which will be crucial.”
The Seagulls faced Yeovil in the Continental Tyres Cup last season, and despite securing a 4-2 victory, the Albion boss says the result counts for little going into the weekend.
“The fact that we beat them last season holds us in good stead, but their team has completely changed.
“They’ve got a new manager and a lot of new players from Millwall and Bristol City, and there are seasoned players in the top flight.
“We can’t take too much from the previous result, and we shouldn’t rest on that. It’s a completely different game at a completely different level.”
Despite a difficult start to the campaign, Powell has been proud of the endeavour shown by her players and the challenges of facing higher quality opposition each week.
“The Chelsea, Man City and Birmingham games were all very tough. The reality is they performed better than us, and they should do because of the quality in their squads.
“Chelsea and Man City are a team full of internationals, and Birmingham have young players that have played at that level too.
“But we can take heart from the Bristol and Liverpool games because we matched them in most instances, but learnt a harsh lesson in terms of taking our chances and we have to be ruthless in front of goal.
“While we’re in the position we’re in, we take heart from our performances against Liverpool and Bristol City in particular. We drew with Everton, which was unexpected, Birmingham was a very close match and we take heart from it.
“The positives are that we are learning and improving in every game. I am very pleased that the players have battled until the end, despite some of the results we’ve had.”