Maisie Symonds came off the bench to score a stoppage-time winner and lift Albion into third place in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League.
The midfielder curled a brilliant free kick into the top right-hand corner deep into added time to claim her first WSL goal and seal a 1-0 win over Leicester City at the Amex.
A crowd of 3566 loved it, and Albion will feel they deserved their reward. They had long spells of possession but looked like being frustrated by the visitors who defended superbly.
Danielle Carter, Victoria Williams and substitute Katie Robinson came close to breaking the deadlock before Symonds stepped up.
The winless visitors lined up with a very narrow 5-4-1 formation and straight away it was evident Albion would have to be patient to break them down, with Leicester relying on a very effective offside trap which frustrated Albion throughout the game.
The home side had two good chances before the break. In the 16th minute Maya Le Tissier’s pass released Danielle Carter in the box but Kirstie Levell made a fine reaction save to keep out her shot.
Then five minutes before the break Aileen Whelan broke clear of the offside trap in the inside right channel. The shot was on, but she elected to try and find Carter and the cross was cut out.
Leicester’s best moment before the break came when Molly Pike put Esmee De Graaf in on goal in the 21st minute but she fired straight at Meg Walsh. Nonetheless it was a warning for the hosts that they needed to be alert at the back.
Inessa Kaagman came on 11 minutes into the second half and Albion began to build momentum again, with Megan Connolly swinging a free kick from the left-hand corner of the box just over the bar before the Republic of Ireland international picked out Victoria Williams with a cross from the left but the Albion captain directed a free header straight at Levell.
Little was seen of Leicester as an attacking force but it needed a great clearance by Fliss Gibbons to keep them out after Albion struggled to clear Jemma Purfield’s left-wing cross.
Well that’s one way of sealing the win in the last minute 😅— Brighton & Hove Albion Women (@BHAFCWomen) November 14, 2021
Urged on by a noisy home crowd, Albion raised the intensity level in the closing stages and nearly broke through when Kaagman’s cross was met on the stretch by Emma Koivisto but she couldn’t keep her shot down.
An even better chance fell to substitute Katie Robinson moments after she came on, but with her first touch she sliced a half-volley over after Leicester failed to clear a corner.
It looked like Albion’s chance had gone but deep into stoppage time Kaagman was brought down on the left-hand edge of the box and Symonds stepped up to sweep the ball into the top right-hand corner and spark some great celebrations.
It still needed keeper Megan Walsh to produce a great save to keep out a shot from Natasha Flint as Albion nearly switched off at the back. But the keeper did her job and Albion had banked a hard-earned three points.
Albion: Walsh, Koivisto, Le Tissier, Kerkdijk, Williams, Gibbons (Robinson 85), Connolly (Simpkins 85), Whelan, Brazil (Kaagman 56), Lee, Carter (Symonds 73).
Subs not used: Bowman, Bance, Green, Angel.
Referee: Ryan Atkin