- Albion are beaten 1-0 by Bristol City
- Lucy Graham on target for the Vixens
- Ellie Brazil makes her Albion debut
- The Seagulls are in action next against London Bees a week today
Brighton & Hove Albion were beaten 1-0 by Bristol City in their FA Women’s Super League season opener.
Lucy Graham’s second-half strike was enough for the Vixens to claim all three points against an Albion side that will feel aggrieved not to take anything from the contest after a positive second-half display.
Hope Powell made six changes to the side that faced Tottenham Hotspur a fortnight ago, which included a start for 17-year-old goalkeeper Laura Hartley and a debut for summer signing Ellie Brazil.
Following a cagey opening quarter of an hour, Fliss Gibbons had Albion’s first chance of the game when she saw her in-swinging free-kick narrowly clear the crossbar.
Gibbons was involved in the thick of the action again when her searching corner into the area was headed clear at the last moment.
The Vixens then had a chance to break the deadlock when Ella Rutherford tried her luck with an acrobatic close-range strike, but Hartley was on hand to claim the ball.
Further attempts followed for Rutherford and Juliette Kempi, but it was Kayleigh Green who had the best chance of the half.
The Wales international latched onto Danielle Buet’s brilliant through ball but saw an attempt with the outside of her right foot saved by Sophie Baggaley.
Powell made one change at the break by bringing on Jodie Brett in place of Chloe Peplow, and the Seagulls began the second half brightly.
Aileen Whelan made a driving run down the right before sending an enticing ball into the box that was narrowly missed by the unmarked Brazil.
Kate Natkiel picked out Beth Roe in the box just moments later, and her close-range effort was tipped just past the far post by Baggaley.
The Seagulls continued to press forward through Natkiel again and she found Laura Rafferty, who blazed her close-range attempt over the bar.
Powell’s side were continuing to threaten down both flanks and Whelan was the provider again, this time for Brett, who headed wide at the far post.
Despite the positive start, it was City who took the lead through Graham’s looping long-range effort which caught out Hartley with 71 minutes played.
Albion rallied in the closing stages, but couldn’t get past a stubborn City defence, as Tanya Oxtoby’s side claimed all three points.
The Seagulls will now turn their attention back to the FA Continental Tyres Cup, against London Bees at the Broadfield Stadium next Sunday.
ALBION: Hartley; Roe, Rafferty, Williams, Gibbons; Peplow (Brett 46), Buet, Natkiel (Perry 79); A. Whelan, Green (Umotong 65), Brazil.
SUBS NOT USED: Gillett (GK), F. Whelan, Barton.