- Nikita Parris’s penalty gives City the lead after three minutes
- Gemma Bonner and a second for Parris extend the hosts’ lead before half time
- Marie Hourihan goes off injured in the first half
- Next up for Albion is the SSE Women’s FA Cup fourth round match against Manchester United
Brighton & Hove Albion were beaten 3-0 by FA Women’s Super League leaders Manchester City at The Academy Stadium.
Nikita Parris’s brace and Gemma Bonner’s strike secured City all three points, as they returned to the top of the FA WSL.
Hope Powell made several changes from last time out, bringing in 16-year-old defender Ellie Hack for her first professional start as well as the experienced Fern Whelan, who returned from injury.
It was a cold, blustery day in the north west, as Albion returned back to the scene of their FA Continental Tyres Cup defeat against City earlier this month.
It didn’t take the hosts long to find their stride and after just two minutes played, Lauren Hemp won a penalty after going down in the area under the challenge of Ellie Hack.
The FA WSL’s all-time record goalscorer, Parris, stepped up and converted the kick to the left of Marie Hourihan.
Albion grew into the match following the goal, limiting City to chances from distance, and almost got themselves level on the 23-minute mark.
Fliss Gibbons was released down the left side and whipped in a cross towards Ellie Brazil, but the forward couldn’t direct her header beyond Karen Bardsley, who claimed made a comfortable save.
Despite the positive signs, City doubled their advantage less than ten minutes later.
Caroline Weir’s 20-yard attempt was deflected wide for a corner and from the resulting piece of action, Bonner managed to convert from close range with Hourihan left stricken on the ground.
The Republic of Ireland international was treated by the physios after the goal, but an apparent ankle injury meant she couldn’t continue and the goalkeeper was replaced by Sophie Harris.
Just before half time, City added another, again from a corner. Jill Scott rose above the Albion defence to nod the ball towards goal, and Parris was on hand to convert a low header from barely two yards out.
City started the second half as quickly as they had begun the first, and could have extended their lead further early on.
Claire Emslie did well to break behind the Albion defence and whip in a dangerous cross, which was cut out at the near post. Then from the resulting corner, her cross almost found its way past Harris, who did well to tip the ball over the crossbar.
Harris was on hand to save again just minutes later, after her misplaced clearance fell to Weir, but the Scot couldn’t direct her shot beyond the keeper.
As the match reached the hour mark, Albion started to create chances of their own.
Firstly, Chloe Peplow’s 25-yard effort cleared the crossbar of Bardsley, before the England international had to be at her best to turn away substitute Ini Umotong’s near-post effort, after the Nigerian broke clear of the defence.
City continued to dominate possession, but lacked any goal threat as the match entered the closing stages, with the Seagulls defence limiting the hosts to long range shots.
After a much improved second-half performace, the referee blew her whistle for full time.
Albion’s attentions now turn to the SSE Women’s FA Cup where they take on Manchester United at The People’s Pension Stadium.
ALBION: Hourihan (Harris 35); Williams, Hack, F. Whelan, Gibbons; Peplow (Simpkins 73), Green, Buet; Natkiel, Brazil, A. Whelan (Umotong 46).
SUBS NOT USED: Barton, Brett, Connolly.