Brighton & Hove Albion's women ended a momentous week in style, as they produced what many will consider their most emphatic performance and biggest win during their time in the Women's Super League.
This week Hope Powell's side moved into their state-of-the-art facilities at the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre, and they made it the perfect week as they fired five past Birmingham City in a dominant display from start to finish.
Powell was looking to build on an excellent opening day home win over West Ham United at the Amex, and Albion got off to the perfect start as Emily Simpkins' near-post corner was spilled by Blues' goalkeeper Emily Ramsey and Victoria Williams smashed home from close range.
Albion were in control from the off, but they did survive an early scare after Danique Kerkdijk was adjudged to have passed back to Megan Walsh, after a shot by Blues' striker Sarah Ewens.
Referee Lucy May awarded an indirect free kick on the edge of the six-yard box, but thankfully Aileen Whelan was quick off the mark to charge down the resulting free kick from Ewens.
Home defender Cecile Sandvej was fortunate not to be in referee May’s notebook just before the half-hour mark, after she pulled back Danielle Carter on the edge of the box. From the free kick, Ramsey made a diving save to push away Inessa Kaagman’s curling effort.
Albion deservedly doubled their lead from the penalty spot in first-half stoppage time. May awarded the spot kick after Harriett Scott pushed Whelan over in the box, and Dutch international Kaagman fired into the roof of the net for her second successful penalty in as many matches.
A superb third goal came early in the second half, as Carter started and then finished the move in style. She won the ball deep in her own half, before dashing clear down the left wing.
Kayleigh Green found her run with a measured pass into the inside-left channel. The former England striker, advancing into the box, looked more likely to cross from the angle, but the precision of an audacious right-foot shot caught out Ramsey on her near post for her first goal for the club.
The fourth came just before the hour mark. After more good work from Carter, Kaagman, wide on the left, picked out the clever run of Emma Koivisto with a lovely ball into the box, and the Finnish international’s deft downward header flew past Ramsey.
But Albion saved the best for last, as Green got on the scoresheet with her first of the season. It was a beautiful instinctive chip. Green’s clever run saw her chase clear behind the home team’s defence to latch onto Simpkins’s through ball, and then lift the ball over the onrushing Ramsey with a classy first-time lob to make it 5-0.
Everything about this is outrageous.— Brighton & Hove Albion Women (@BHAFCWomen) September 12, 2021
Walsh in Albion’s goal had been a virtual spectator throughout, but was out smartly to save from Veatriki Sarri late on; before getting behind a speculative attempt from Lucy Quinn.
Powell will be delighted with the team’s start to the new campaign, and her team heads into the international break on the back of a very impressive start to the new season: top of the league, with maximum points, and back-to-back clean sheets from their opening two fixtures.
Albion: Walsh, Koivisto, Kerkdijk (Gibbons 45), Le Tissier, Williams, Whelan, Green (Brazil 77), Lee (Symonds 77), Kaagman (Bababjide 64), Carter (Robinson 64).
Unused subs: Stenson, Bowman, Connolly, Adebowale.