- Albion are beaten 2-0 by Manchester United
- Lauren James scores twice for United
- Dani Buet’s second-half penalty is saved
- The Seagulls return to FAWSL action away at Bristol City next Sunday
Brighton & Hove Albion were knocked out of the SSE Women’s FA Cup at the fourth round stage, after a 2-0 defeat to Manchester United at The People’s Pension Stadium.
Substitute Lauren James scored twice in an otherwise evenly-contested cup tie, with Siobhan Chamberlain denying Dani Buet from the spot in the second half.
Hope Powell made five changes to the side that lost 3-0 against Manchester City last week, which included the introduction of new signing Megan Connolly for her Albion debut.
The game started on a cagey note with few clear-cut chances for either side, the first of which fell to United’s Ella Toone, who latched onto Kirsty Hanson’s cross with a volley that was superbly headed clear by Fliss Gibbons.
Aileen Whelan made inroads down the right flank and saw her first shot blocked, before her second attempt was headed clear by Martha Harris.
Chances were few and far between in a scrappy first half, but Ellie Brazil did almost capitalise on a sloppy back-pass from the United defence, but Chamberlain cleared the ball.
Casey Stoney’s side had arguably the best opportunity of the half when Toone showed some neat skill to work her way to the byline and cut the ball back to Charlie Devlin, who fired wide at the near post.
Whelan had an opportunity just before the half drew to a close, as she cut in from the right and saw her curling strike go just past the post.
Albion switched things round the break with the introduction of Kayleigh Green in place of Ini Umotong, but it was a United substitute that made an almost immediate impact.
James replaced Devlin at half time, and the former broke the deadlock in the 51st minute, as she latched onto Jess Sigworth’s cross with a close-range finish.
United sought to double their lead with two chances falling in quick succession to Toone and Mollie Green, but both their efforts were blocked.
Whelan had another opportunity to restore parity when she was picked out by Kayleigh Green in space, but Chamberlain made a strong two-handed save, before Buet’s follow-up strike went over the bar.
Toone had Sophie Harris scrambling to her post down the other end with a shot from distance, but the ball went wide.
Whelan had another opportunity to get Albion off the mark, but her close-range strike skimmed the side netting.
But the Seagulls were given a lifeline when Millie Turner was penalised for bringing down Green in the box and Powell’s side were awarded a penalty.
Buet stepped up to take the spot-kick, but the Seagulls skipper was denied by Chamberlain, who made a two-handed save to her right to maintain United’s slender lead.
Aileen’s namesake Fern was next to come close for the hosts, but she headed just over the bar from a corner.
But James wrapped up the contest with another close-range finish in stoppage time to end Albion’s cup run at the first hurdle.
Powell’s side will now turn their attention back to the FA Women’s Super League with a match away at Bristol City next Sunday.
ALBION: Harris; Barton, Williams, F. Whelan, Gibbons; Buet, Legg (Brett 71); A. Whelan, Connolly (Peplow 84), Brazil; Umotong (Green 46).
SUBS NOT USED: Hartley (GK), Hack, Simpkins, Natkiel.