- Albion’s development squad are beaten 1-0 by Chichester City
- Mollie Clark with the only goal of the game for Chichester
- The Seagulls name six players with first-team experience in the squad
- Maya Le Tissier hits the bar with a free kick in the second half
Brighton & Hove Albion fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat against Chichester City in the Sussex Women’s Challenge Cup Final at Culver Road.
Mollie Clark’s second-minute strike was enough to secure a largely full-strength Chichester City the victory against an Albion development squad side.
Coach Jack Fagan named six players with first-team experience in the line-up, which included England youth internationals Beth Roe and Maya Le Tissier and Laura Hartley, who featured in goal for Albion’s FA Women’s Super League opener against Bristol City.
Chichester scored what proved to be the only decisive goal of the game in the second minute, as Clark fired home a looping 30-yard strike over Hartley.
Aaron Smith’s side could’ve doubled their advantage moments later, but Jess Lewry sent her angled strike just over the crossbar.
Former Albion captain Tammy Waine also looked to beat Hartley with her shot from the right, but her effort also went over the bar.
Albion struggled to make inroads past the Chichester defence in the opening stages, but they worked their first opening after Kara Fordjour linked up well with Maya Le Tissier, however the latter’s cut-back went across the face of goal.
Lewry had another opportunity to get on the scoresheet with a header at the far post, which was gathered by Hartley.
Down the other end Albion had a better chance to restore parity to the scoreline when Poppy Derhun headed wide at the far post from an in-swinging free kick.
Goalscorer Clark had a chance to double hers and Chichester’s advantage from a set piece, only to see her subsequent effort drift over the crossbar.
There was a nervy moment for Hartley inside the Albion goal, as Nadine Bazan drifted a ball into the box and picked Tash Stephens, and the latter’s header was almost spilled over the line by the Seagulls shot-stopper.
Hartley did come to Albion’s rescue moments later though, as she made herself big to thwart Lewry.
The Albion keeper was then called into action again, this time to keep out a close-range effort from Tash Stephens.
Chichester almost had a second when an effort from Stephens smashed against the crossbar, before Lauren Clark’s follow-up shot was cleared off the line by Hartley.
Goalscorer Clark looked to turn provider for Rebecca Barron, whose header almost beat Hartley, only to see her follow-up shot blocked inside a packed Albion penalty area.
Fagan’s side did enjoy a promising spell just shy of the hour mark and came within inches of scoring an equaliser in emphatic fashion through Le Tissier’s free kick, which hit the underside of the bar with Lauren Dolbear standing motionless inside the Chichester goal.
Smith's side looked for a second goal, as a free-flowing move resulted in Lewry receiving the ball out on the left, but she couldn’t direct her angled attempt on target.
Chichester had two late chances to double their advantage, but substitute Lucy Williamson kept the deficit at one to keep out Bazan's angled strike before producing a fine one-handed stop to tip over Lewry's effort.
ALBION: Hartley (Williamson 66); Roe, Hack (J. Stannard 25), Isted, Mason; Pharoah (L Stannard 67), Le Tissier, Derhun; Mackey, Brayer (Eyre 59), Fordjour (Brayer 80).
SUB NOT USED: Clarke.