Tag Archives: Brighton & Hove Albion WFC

Match Report – Tottenham Hotspur Ladies v Brighton & Hove Albion WFC

Sunday 7th January

  Beginning 2018 with a game from FAWSL 2 a trip to Cheshunt FC to watch the leagues newest members Tottenham Hotspur Ladies take on Brighton & Hove Albion WFC.

 Two ambitious clubs joining the FAWSL as it enters a new and challenging era adjusting to a return to the winter calendar too. A reshaping of the leagues seeing clubs bidding for either a place in FAWSL 1 or FAWSL 2 having to meet stringent criteria. Tottenham Hotspur Ladies looking to retain their FAWSL 2 status have bid for place in that league whilst Brighton & Hove Albion WFC receiving significant backing from the club have bid for a place in the new FAWSL 1 where all clubs will have to be fully professional.

Both following the same path to the FAWSL, both prominent clubs within Women’s Football East the FAWPL Southern Division being the top league that is covered. Brighton & Hove Albion WFC were crowned Champion’s 2 season’s ago with Tottenham Hotspur Ladies winning the title the season after both going on to win the subsequent FAWPL Playoff game between their Northern Division counterparts to achieve promotion.

 Tottenham Hotspur Ladies have had a solid start to life in FAWSL 2 the move from summer to winter not affecting them at all. Have strengthened their squad by bringing in defender Ashleigh Neville from Coventry United Ladies and experienced WSL attacker Sarah Wiltshire from Yeovil Town Ladies and young prospect Lauren Pickett. A narrow opening game defeat away to Durham Women FC, Tottenham responded well winning their next 2 league games a along with their 2 opening Continental Tyres Cup group matches unbeaten in 5 before ending the year with 3 straight defeats in league and cup. In 6th place in the table a win today puts them onto 10 points amongst those challenging at the top of the table.

Although Brighton & Hove Albion WFC were promoted the season before Tottenham Hotspur Ladies this is technically their first season of FAWSL 2 football too as they entered the league during it’s transitional period prior to reverting back to the winter a one off Spring Series played during the 1st half of 2017 each side facing their opponents once. Would have benefited Brighton the most giving the club an opportunity to get used to the league and it’s strengths.

   Operating with an interim manger during that period the club has shown it’s ambitions by bringing in former England manager, Hope Powell to coach the 1st team. Several new faces joining the playing squad too bringing FAWSL experience with them, ex-Notts County player Danielle Buet along with Aileen Whelan and Fern Whelan who were with Everton ladies prior to coming down to the South Coast. Ini Umatong  who was previously with Oxford United Women along with Fliss Gibbons and goalkeeper Lucy Gillett. Currently in 4th spot in the FAWSL 2 table one of 3 sides on 10 points looking to challenge leaders Doncaster Rovers Belles for top spot with 3 wins and a draw from their opening 5 league matches.

 The two sides met in November in the group stages of the Continental Tyres Cup, Brighton & Hove Albion WFC winning the game away from home 4-1. The venue for today’s game Cheshunt FC a large pitch offering good width, has fared well despite the recent heavy rain. Quite an open stadium a bitterly cold day at the beginning of January but dry. Hold food and drinks available along with a bar. 

Tottenham Hotspur Ladies starting XI – Chloe Morgan, Lucia Leon, Ashleigh Neville, Jenna Schillaci (C), Renee Hector, Sophie McLean, Hannah McKenzie, Sarah Wiltshire, Lauren Pickett, Katie O’Leary & Ronnell Humes. Subs – Toni-Anne Wayne, Maya Vio, Wendy Martin, Coral-Jade Haines, Bianca Baptiste & Ryah Vyse. 

Brighton & Hove Albion WFC starting XI – Lucy Gillett, Beth Roe, Sophie Perry (C), Laura Rafferty, Fern Whelan, Kirsty Barton, Jenna Legg, Kate Natkiel, Bronwen Thomas, Fliss Gibbons & Ini Umotong. Subs – Laura Hartley, Sophia Pharoah, Lucy Somes, Natalie Taylor & Vicky Ashton-Jones.

It’s the away side to kick off the game Tottenham changing ends to have the low sun at their backs in the 1st half. Brighton in their away colours an all yellow kit with bronze across the shirt shoulders. Tottenham in their home colours white shirts and socks with navy shorts. Brighton looking to keep the ball moving along the ground work the ball forwards out to Fliss Gibbons on the left she is tackled by full back Lucia Leon the ball out for a throw in. 

Laura Rafferty on the ball for Brighton

Getting the ball forwards the long pass finds Ronnell Humes in space drifting right for Tottenham, Fern Whelan coming to put in the tackle prevents the striker getting a shot away as she enters the box. Brighton launch a quick counter attack the ball moved forwards quickly the diagonal ball aimed for Bronwen Thomas running down the right is tackled in the corner by Ashleigh Neville to concede the 1st corner of the game.

A quiet opening to the game both sides looking to get on the ball make progress up the pitch Brighton pressing the ball inside the Tottenham half well not letting the home side retain any meaningful possession. Leon gains ground on the right supporting Lauren Pickett, Whelan is across again to stifle the threat, when Tottenham eventually get a cross into the area it is caught by Lucy Gillett at her near post. 

Brighton come forwards Jenna Legg finding a bit of room on the ball 30 yards out central attempts the slide the ball forwards for Ini Umotong making a run towards the top of the area, Renee Hector closes her down for Tottenham gets her foot to the ball first directing it back to goalkeeper Chloe Morgan to clear. Sarah Wiltshire gets forwards for Tottenham sees her cross swung in from the right claimed by Gillett.

Tottenham’s Sophie McLean looks to find a way through

GOAL! Brighton are soon down the other end of the pitch a free-kick is won just outside the box to the left of the D, captain Sophie Perry comes forwards to take it as referee Stacey Pearson moves the Tottenham was back. A quality free-kick from the Republic of Ireland international the ball whipped past the Tottenham wall with plenty of pace just inside the post evading the diving Morgan to give Brighton an 11th minute lead 0-1.

Brighton captain, Sophie Perry opens the scoring from a free-kick.

Tottenham look to respond right away Wiltshire with the through ball for Humes is closed down by Laura Rafferty, Gillett coming out of her goal to prevent the ball spinning away for the corner. Brighton work the ball forwards through the centre enjoying good possession before the pass is played out to Thomas on the right cutting inside with the ball attempts to curl the shot towards goal, angled in is straight at Morgan who saves comfortably.

The visitors are working well as a unit to break up any Tottenham forward play then moving it forwards with purpose when in possession using the full width of the pitch, full back Beth Roe putting in the tackle as Humes is played in through the centre, Barton in the middle plays the ball forwards with Umotong making a good run from left to right across the top of the Tottenham area aims her cross back across the box for Gibbons far side who lashes the ball into the back of the net even as she receives the ball the flag is up for offside.

A free-kick to Brighton on halfway the ball lifted up in towards the top of the box is headed clear dropping for Barton 30 yards out controls well on her chest before volleying a shot in towards goal on target the ball is caught low by Morgan right behind the shot. Neville brings the ball on up the left for Tottenham plays a cross into the area cleared for a throw. A one two between Katie O’Leary and Humes the latter seeing her cross cut out as Whelan clears for Brighton. 

Brighton’s, Beth Roe

 A great tackle by Tottenham’s Hannah McKenzie to deny Brighton’s Umotong as Legg plays the ball into her path breaking forwards. Up the other end Whelan is reading the game well for Brighton winning the ball as the home side try to find a way in behind. Kate Natkiel coming forwards the ball played on to Legg out to Thomas right side 25 yards out takes on the shot curling in again top corner, Morgan has time to get across and take the ball into her gloves. 

Brighton’s Kate Natkiel evades Hannah McKenzie’s tackle

Tottenham come forwards Sophie McLean on for Wiltshire the pass out to Pickett on the right plays the cross into the box, Gillett claiming it well at her near post with Humes and Wiltshire both coming in. Another free-kick in a dangerous position for Brighton top right corner outside the area this time Perry with the step over as Gibbons curls the ball in towards the far post Tottenham win the header the ball cleared, Brighton quickly regain possession the ball played into the box Whelan still up from the back directs her header wide of goal.

Ronnell Humes in possession of the ball for Tottenham

The visitors are finishing the 1st half the stronger winning the ball in the middle Barton with a good challenge, Natkiel comes forwards lets fly form 25 yards out her shot deflected wide to the right Thomas after the loose ball sends her shot wide across the face of goal. Leon is fouled late in the 1st half a free-kick to Tottenham 10 yards inside the Brighton half players come forwards from the back as captain Jenna Schillaci plays a great ball into the area bouncing inside the six yard box their are appeals for a penalty as Hector goes down appearing to get caught by a high boot. Play stopped so she can receive treatment the protests are waved away.

  Half-time Tottenham Hotspur Ladies 0-1 Brighton & Hove Albion WFC

   Sophie Perry’s 11th minute set-piece goal the difference between the two sides at half-time Brighton leading 1-0 have had the better chances in the 1st half. Have enjoyed more of the ball pressing Tottenham inside their own half whilst defending as a unit have prevented their opponents getting anything meaningful going forwards in attack. Just the 1 goal in it however plenty of time for Tottenham a turn it around with the 2nd half to come.

It’s gotten decidedly colder with a strong breeze blowing across the stadium has had some effect on the ball too during the match towards the end of the 1st half. Tottenham to kick-off the 2nd half have made a change at the break Maya Vio on for McKenzie in midfield. An early attack for the home side a tidy spin as the ball comes into her for Wiltshire 30 yards out sends the pass on looking for Humes making the break into the box, Gillett spotting the danger is out to the top of her area quickly to slide in and take the ball at the strikers feet. 

Tottenham’s Maya Vio & Brighton’s Jenna Legg battle for the ball

Brighton counter attack the ball moved forwards quickly with Gibbons finding space on the left take on the shot from distance cutting across the ball sending it sailing over the crossbar. Umotong a powerful runner on the ball hard to shake off wriggles clear as she makes a run towards the area, Hector across on the cover cuts out her strike. Up the other end Humes evades Perry’s tackle right corner plays a cross into the area Whelan heading clear at the far post for Brighton. 

Tottenham’s Renee Hector

Neville getting forwards for Tottenham wins a corner left side the ball played in is cleared by Rafferty at the near post. A great run by Leon coming into the Brighton half from the right for Tottenham coming inside closing in on the box opens up for a shooting opportunity instead the full back opts to lay the ball on for O’Leary inside the area to her right, Gillett already on the move dives in to claim the ball at the strikers feet.

 A 2nd change fro Tottenham closing in on the hour mark with Bianca Baptiste coming off the bench to replace Humes up top. An immediate impact by the substitute too as Tottenham come forwards she provides a great run across the top of the Brighton area as Wiltshire picks her put with a superb pass right of the D sends a shot it towards goal the ball inches over the crossbar.

Bianca Baptiste

   Leon fouled wide right players up from the back into the box as Schillaci plays the ball into the area, caught in the strong breeze, Gillett is forced into the save pushing the ball behind for the corner kick. The ball in from the left is scrambled away by Brighton. The visitors make their 1st change of the match Vicky Ashton-Jones celebrating her birthday today coming on for Rafferty at the back. Tottenham doing better now getting more players forwards Leon down the right, Ashton-Jones slides in to tackle conceding the corner. Gillett calls for the ball catching the delivery at her near post.

A corner won for Brighton with 20 minutes left to play before it is taken Tottenham make their 3rd change bringing on Wendy Martin for O’Leary in attack. Neville wins the ball from the corner for Tottenham heading the ball clear of her box. Getting the ball up the other end Pickett gets the better of Whelan flicking the ball over the defender aiming to get in behind into the area Gillett is again out rapidly to stifle the threat. 

   Gibbons with the ball left side as Brighton advance plays the pass inside to Umotong she lays it on for Natkiel who puts the shot in towards goal from 25 yards out Morgan behind it all the way catches cleanly. The game is a little stretched late on as Tottenham look to try and find an equalising goal, Wiltshire’s ball into the box from the right is chested away by Whelan straight into the path of Baptiste coming in from the left her 1st time shot from 20 yards out flies wide of the near post.

Ini Umotong getting past the Tottenham defence

A deflection on Baptiste’s shot a corner given delivered from the left in high towards the near post Martin gets her head on the ball knocking it down towards goal, Gillett smothering it makes the save. Martin receiving the ball into her body turns and releases Baptiste on the left she cuts inside her shot landing in the side netting. 

  Brighton attack as the game moves into the final 10 minutes Umotong with the run right side her cross from the byline saved at the near post is deflected towards the top of the box with Natkiel looking to strike it back in towards goal, Vio racing back does enough to prevent the no 10 taking the 1st time shot, keeping her composure Natkiel still has the ball at her feet sends her shot up over the goal. 

Kirsty Barton beats Sarah Wiltshire to the ball

There are a few robust challenges being made late on Martin’s complaints she her shown a yellow card. Brighton make a 2nd change Legg coming off to be replaced by Natalie Taylor. The home side continue to press chances remain limited however Gillett claiming anything played from deep into the box. The game moving into injury time a late free-kick for Tottenham as Wilshire is brought down the ball curled in towards goal claimed comfortably by Gillett. 

A late chance for Brighton as they break the ball played up field into Umotong a powerful run on the ball into the box getting in behind the Tottenham back line as she moves left of goal six yards out looks to stab the ball wide back across goal past Morgan the goalkeeper down smartly makes a fantastic save.

  The final whistle blows and Brighton with a clean sheet win the 3 points thanks to Perry’s first half free-kick. Keeps the status quo at the top with Brighton staying fourth as the side above them all claimed victory too this Sunday.

Full time Tottenham Hotspur Ladies 0-1 Brighton & Hove Albion WFC

   One defeat from their opening 6 league games Brighton are looking well placed to challenge Doncaster Rovers Belles for the title along with Durham Women FC and Millwall Lionesses. A good performance today especially 1st half pressing Tottenham well for the ball inside their opponents half making it difficult for the home side to get any momentum going forwards. Solid at the back too with Gillett always alert to any threat behind her defence. Tottenham created chances in the 2nd half bringing on Baptiste and Martin just couldn’t find that one clinical chance to take anything from the game.

Women’s Football East – Player of the Match

   The 1st Women’s Football East – Player of the Match in 2018 goes to Brighton’s Fern Whelan. I thought the central defender had an excellent game at the back covering the ground well to keep Tottenham finding a way in behind and defending well from set-pieces. 

Good to be back at it after a lengthy break over Christmas enjoyed the football on display if not the cold. My thanks to the Tottenham staff for all their assistant today everyone was very helpful.  

Match Report – Tottenham Hotspur Ladies v Brighton & Hove Albion WFC

This Sunday’s football action on the SWF Blog came from the 4th Round Proper of the FA Women’s Cup with 12 sides left in the competition vying for 6 spots in the 5th Round when the 10 FAWSL 1 sides enter the cup. The venue today Cheshunt FC to watch FAWPL Southern Division leaders Tottenham Hotspur Ladies unbeaten in all competitions so far this season take on their biggest test yet FAWSL 2 opposition with Brighton & Hove Albion WFC the visitors.

Match Report – Tottenham Hotspur Ladies v Brighton & Hove Albion WFC

  This Sunday’s action on the Supporting Women’s Football Blog comes from the 4th Round Proper of the FA Women’s Cup the entrants whittled down to just 12 sideLondonontest 6 ties to be joined by the sides from FAWSL 1 that will enter the competition in the 5th Round, today it’s a trip to Cheshunt FC to watch FAWPL Southern Division leaders Tottenham Hotspur Ladies take on the newest side to join the FAWSL, Brighton & Hove Albion WFC.

  Have been trying to get down to see Tottenham Hotspur Ladies play twice so far in 2017 but the weather has put pay to that both times around, they are enjoying a fabulous season so far are undefeated in all competitions with just the one draw in the league to date. Into the semi-finals of the Capital Women’s Cup and FAWPL Cup where they are defending the trophy. Have also reached the Boux Avenue Final for the 3rd consecutive season. A tough challenge today against FAWSL opposition in the cup as Tottenham look to be one of the few remaining FAWPL sides to make it into the 5th Round Proper. 

  Tottenham Hotspur Ladies entered this season’s FA Women’s Cup in the 1st Round Proper of the competition were drawn at home to Leyton Orient WFC a single goal scored by Wendy Martin taking the FAWPL Southern Division leaders through to the 2nd Round Proper where they were drawn at home playing FAWPL South East Division One side, Gillingham FC Ladies a much more comfortable result winning 3-0 to set up a long away trip to play FAWPL Northern Division leaders Blackburn Rovers Ladies. The sides level at 1-1 going into 2nd half injury time Bianca Baptiste scored for Tottenham in the 93rd minute to seal a 2-1 victory and a home draw in the 4th Round against Brighton & Hove Albion WFC.

  Brighton & Hove Albion WFC did last season what Tottenham are hope to achieve this time around, win the FAWPL Southern Division title. Went on to beat Sporting Club Albion Ladies in the FAWPL Play-off game back in May last year. Making their bow in the FAWSL 2 Spring Series last Saturday earning a 1-1 draw away to London Bees. Played their 1st competitive match of the season in the previous round of the FA Women’s Cup before that the FAWSL 2 sides entering the competition in the 3rd Round Proper were drawn away to FAWPL South East Division One side, AFC Wimbledon Ladies won the game 4-1 to advance to the next round.

  Cheshunt FC  the venue for today’s FA Women’s Cup tie, the pitch a good size showing a little wear has seen alot of football this season, was nevertheless firm and dry underfoot. The weather has been poor at the start of 2017 plenty of matches called off but no danger of that this Sunday a fairly mild day for February dark clouds overhead a hint of a light shower but nothing else as the two sides walked out onto the pitch.

  Tottenham Hotspur Ladies starting XI – Toni-Anne Wayne, Renee Hector, Jenna Schillaci (C), Leah Rawle, Lucia Leon, Josie Green, Sophie McLean, Riana Soobadoo, Bianca Baptiste, Nikita Whinnett & Wendy Martin.
  subs – Megan Lynch, Kelley Blanchflower, Maya Vio & Eartha Pond.

  Brighton & Hove Albion WFC starting XI – Emma Byrne, Jenna Legg, Sophie Perry (C), Vicki Ashton-Jones, Charlotte Young, Kirsty Barton, Laura Rafferty, Lucy Somes, Alessia Russo, Kate Natkiel & Amy Taylor.

  subs – Leah Samain, Hollie Olding, Bronwen Thomas & Ellie Dorey

   It’s Brighton to get today’s FA Women’s Cup tie underway kicking off 1st half wearing orange shirts, white shorts and socks with Tottenham lined up opposite wearing white shirts, navy shorts and socks. Right from the 1st Brighton touch Tottenham move in quickly to press the ball winning possession the ball is played forwards up to Wendy Martin in attack inside the box is played back to Nikita Whinnett who joined the club from Charlton Athletic Women in the summer, outside the area is closed down go Jenna Legg as she looks to turn in behind the ball lost is picked up by Leah Rawle getting forwards from the back for Tottenham drives with the ball at her feet down the left wing squaring a high cross into the Brighton six yard box is comfortably claimed by goalkeeper, Emma Byrne.

Tottenham Hotspur Ladies, Wendy Martin

  Brighton get hold of the ball as it is played into the feet of Kate Natkiel helps it on out to the right wing with Alessia Russo getting forwards cutting back inside as she reaches the top of the Tottenham box cuts across her shot as she sends the ball goalwards causing it it swerve away from goal landing in the side netting. The game has started at a rapid tempo no one afforded much time on the ball, winning it at the back Tottenham captain Jenna Schillaci plays it long through the middle with Whinnett making a central run getting clear of the Brighton centre-backs, Byrne is well placed at the top of the area to gather before the striker can capitalise.

   Lucia Leon is forwards on the right for Tottenham as the home side builds an attack has support from Sophie McLean they exchange passes 25 yards out before Leon threaded a diagonal ball into the box looking for Martin near post, looks to see the ball across her body intending to take a shot, Whinnett slips her marker making a move for the ball leaning into the shot reaches it before Martin sends her effort curling wide of the post. 

Tottenham Hotspur Ladies, Nikita Whinnett

  Tottenham playing 3 at the back are playing a high line, looks risky if the opposition can get in behind however they drop back very quickly went their opponents regain the ball and with Josie Green playing just in front of the back 3 the defenders either side of Schillaci, Renee Hector and Rawle can move across to deal with their respective wide players. In attack Whinnett and Bianca Baptiste on the right side are providing the width but the Brighton defence is well organised and the final ball from both sides is being won by a defender in the early exchanges. 


Tottenham Hotspur Ladies
captain Jenna Schillaci

Leon get’s hold of the ball inside the Brighton half for Tottenham rolls it on for Baptiste down the right wing taking the ball down to the byline into the area her attempted cross is charged down by Vicki Ashton-Jones as she goes to ground the ball rebounding back to Baptiste tries again playing the ball in towards the near post is scooped up on the bounce by Byrne. A quick counter attack the ball played into midfield Laura Rafferty plays it to Lucy Somes on the left side playing it on for Amy Taylor the striker with Hector on her shoulder heads for the box left of goal is past the onrushing keeper but play is brought back as Taylor fouled hector in the process.

  Russo closes down Schillaci taking the ball from the defender as she tries to bring it out from the back running in behind takes on the shot from outside the box, her low drive stopped by goalkeeper Toni-Anne Wayne diving to her left. Green carries the ball forwards for Tottenham passing it onto Riana Soobadoo ahead of her sends the ball out towards Baptiste on the right a burst of pace before playing a pacey cross in towards martin moving towards the near post, can’t get a touch as the ball runs across her races across the face of goal and out of play for a goal-kick at the far post.

  Brighton captain, Sophie Perry is allowed to travel with the ball on the left plays it on for Somes ahead of her comes in field before rolling the ball across to Taylor outside the box, her 1st time strike is blocked by Schillaci. End to end Tottenham soon have the ball up the other end over the top with Baptiste giving chase Byrne plays the ball wide attempting to put it out for a throw is retrieved by Martin who plays it back in to Baptiste 25 yards out takes on the strike her shot sailing over the bar. Brighton are getting a little frustrated are pinned back inside their half with Tottenham pressing all over the park can’t get anything to stick higher up the pitch. 

Nikita Whinnett holds Brighton captain, Sophie Perry off the ball

  Somes is fouled wide on the left with around 10 minutes of the 1st half left, Charlotte Young makes a late run to get up into the area from the back as Perry delivers the ball into the area, is over Young dropping for Hector beyond her clearance is picked up by Natkiel 25 yards out drives the ball low into the area, is blocked too many bodies to go through, running out of play the referee gives a goal-kick. The 1st corner of the game doesn’t come until the 37th minute going to Tottenham, Martin forcing the error from Young the set-piece comes to nothing. 

Brighton’s Amy Taylor looks to get the better of Tottenham’s Jenna Schillaci

  Leon steals in to win the ball inside the Brighton half getting it forwards produces a defence splitting pass to thread the ball in towards Martin centrally positioned inside the area, Legg with a superb recovering tackle gets across in the nick of time to take the ball away from Martin’s toes Young clearing the ball from the area. The last 5 minutes of the 1st half is full of promising attacks but both defences working hard to stop the final ball see very little action inside the box. Late on into injury time in the 1st half Natkiel getting the ball out to Russo right earns Brighton a throw-in, played in towards Russo outside the Tottenham area turns in field heading for the box jinks right avoiding Rawle’s lunging challenge then rifles her shot over the crossbar.

 Half-time Tottenham Hotspur Ladies 0-0 Brighton & Hove Albion WFC

  An intriguing 1st half an entertaining game so far 2 closely matched sides testing each other out, few chances created in the match despite both sides constantly looking for an opening. Tottenham have edged the chances in front of goal although neither goalkeeper has been tested yet. Beautifully poised the 2nd half could go either way. 
  No changes for either side although Rafferty has a bandaged knee following a knock picked up in the 1st half for Brighton. Tottenham to get the 2nd half started. Have the early possession McLean playing the ball forwards into Martin with Whinnett close by, outside the area a shot comes in runs wide of goal.
  Tottenham have a throw-in high up the pitch on the right the ball is played into Whinnett’s feet turning inside pushes for the box right of goal unleashes a shot flies across Byrne positioned centrally, strikes the far post and rebounds out towards Baptiste racing into the area throws herself at the ball, flies up over Byrne coming down off the crossbar Brighton struggle to get it clear coming back to Baptiste has another go a wild strike flies high over the bar. 
  Rafferty getting the ball forwards has Somes in space out wide left picks her out with a well timed long pass, Somes looks to control and come inside top of the area thread the ball into Taylor in a central position, Leon has support from Soobadoo as the pair get back to squeeze Somes off the ball before she can deliver the final ball. Brighton push numbers forwards with purpose in the next attack the ball from Barton out to the right lifted into the area Taylor hitting it on the run is blocked at close range the rebound falling favourably for Tottenham to clear. 
 GOAL! 12 minutes played in the 2nd half and the deadlock is broken, Tottenham have a throw up on the the right inside the Brighton half the ball is played into Whinnett who comes inside with the ball 25 yards out across the face of the area rolls the ball into Martin back to goal inside the area turns her shot blocked by Ashton-Jones closely marking her the ball is cleared out to the left going straight to Baptiste, takes on the shot from distance her strike flying over Byrne and under the bar into the back of the net to give Tottenham the lead 1-0. 
Tottenham’s Bianca Baptiste with Brighton’s Charlotte Young
  McLean is fouled as she holds the ball up wide on the right Tottenham send players forwards into the box as Hector stands over the set-piece the ball is flighted in to the area with Whinnett making a run from the penalty spot to the near post, the delivery too close to Byrne the goalkeeper can get her gloves firmly around the ball 1st. Whinnett on the ball a powerful run on the right lays the pass inside for McLean 25 yards out central sends a high ball into the box, Byrne calls and claims it with Martin in behind her. 
  Young sends the ball long from the back for Brighton with Somes giving chase into the left corner coming back up the pitch plays it across the top of the area into Barton, shifts it looking for room to play a pass sending it on for Natkiel top of the D puts the ball into the area with Taylor after it, Green is ahead of her looks to shield the ball out of play as it runs wide, gets a shove from Taylor a bit of afters sees Taylor yellow carded. Natkiel gets possession of the ball on the right pushing forwards her cross into the area is headed away by Rawle, dropping towards Barton outside the area, has no time to see the ball down onto the floor goes for the acrobatic sends the ball goalwards too high however whistles over the bar.
Brighton & Hove Albion WFC’s, Kirsty Barton
 The game is stretched the tempo hasn’t dropped in the slightest, Brighton pressing looking for an equaliser, Tottenham wanting a 2nd goal. Ashton-Jones fouls Whinnett on halfway, Baptiste over the ball floats it up towards the top of the area, Young headers clear, falling to Soobadoo hits it back in along the ground, blocked then cleared. Legg is fouled as she brings the ball forwards giving Brighton a free-kick 35 yards out, Perry on the ball goes for goal, Wayne can see the ball run wide of goal. Tottenham make their 1st change on 71 minutes bringing on Maya Vio for Soobadoo. 
Brighton’s Jenna Legg is fouled as she brings the ball forwards
  Brighton respond with a double change on 76 minutes with Rafferty and Somes the players coming off, Bronwen Thomas and Hollie Olding. Martin and Whinnett try a one two outside the area Ashton-Jones nips in to tackle and win the ball. Russo is playing through the middle now for Brighton supporting Taylor with Natkiel left, Thomas right win a corner, Tottenham defend well threaten to counter attack, Barton wins the ball back. The ball is played out to Thomas attacking down the right fizzes a cross in towards the near post getting down falling onto the ball Wayne spills her initial save but recovers quickly to get up smother the ball with Taylor closing in. 
Brighton & Hove Albion WFC
captain, Sophie Perry
  Perry brings the ball on down the left for Brighton her cross is cut back towards the top of the area controlled well by Thomas just inside the area plays it back to Natkiel lays it out to Legg coming in from the right her ball lifted into the area runs wide at the near post. Perry again up the left for Natkiel who plays it inside to Russo sees Wayne off her line tries the lob from distance but off target bounces wide of goal. Baptiste run of running gets across from the left to the right winning a throw-in for Tottenham the ball is played into McLean plays it into Whinnett central takes on the shot places the ball straight into Byrne who holds onto the ball. 
  Into the closing minutes Brighton break down the right Russo with the ball at her feet sends in a low drive angling into the bottom corner, Wayne dives full stretch across her goal to get a glove to the ball push it with a vital save to keep Tottenham’s lead intact. Tottenham defend the corner kick. Brighton push everyone forwards late into the game everyone bar their keeper in the Tottenham half, risk the counter but need the goal get hit on the break Whinnett getting in behind on the right holds the ball up well before playing in inside to Martin a good turn before playing it on for Baptiste coming in from the left her goal bound effort blocked by Legg. 
  Into injury time and the last place Brighton want the ball is with the Tottenham attackers in the corner. The home side do a great job of keeping the ball there to see out the game and win, Bianca Baptiste’s strike enough to see the FAWPL Southern Division side into the 5th Round of the FA Women’s Cup.
Tottenham Hotspur Ladies celebrate at the final whistle
Full time Tottenham Hotspur Ladies 1-0 Brighton & Hove Albion WFC

  A really good contest to watch this one, 2 very good sides, a single goal enough to win the game, Tottenham continuing their excellent run of form, can see why they are doing so well and glad I got down to see them at last this season. Brighton created chances but not much inside the box, prevented very little inside their box as well both sides pressing the ball Tottenham just had the extra bit of movement in their legs to get the result on the day.
SWF Blog – Player of the Match

  A good all round team performance from Tottenham today, a well taken goal from Baptiste, however today’s SWF Blog Player of the Match goes to Josie Green in midfield covered plenty of ground in front of the defence stifling Brighton’s attack winning the ball and a range of pass to turn a defensive position into a rapid attack.
Tottenham Hotspur Ladies, Josie Green
  My thanks to Tottenham for helping me out with the teams today.
 *UPDATE* The draw for the 5th Round Proper of the FA Women’s Cup will see Tottenham Hotspur Ladies play FAWSL 1 side Arsenal Ladies away from home in a North London derby on the weekend of 18th/19th March.

Match Report – London Bees v Brighton & Hove Albion WFC

What’s this? A game from the FAWSL on Women’s Football East! Well it seems only right to give Brighton & Hove Albion WFC the coverage afterall they earned promotion to the FAWSL last May via the FAWPL Play-off game after winning the Southern Division title and after all Women’s Football East wants to see as many sides in the region reach and play at the top level of the women’s game. The Supporting Women’s Football Blog was at The Hive to cover their debut match in the one off Spring Series as the new season got underway.

Match Report – London Bees v Brighton & Hove Albion WFC

   A new season of FAWSL football begins this Saturday, although it’s a much shorter season compared to the one’s we’ve been used to. With the FAWSL preparing to move back in line with the rest of the women’s football pyramid in England for the 2017/18 season after 5 years of playing during the summer months there will be a one off Spring Series. A trophy for both the FAWSL 1 & 2 competitions with each side playing each other once to decide the overall winner. The FAWSL 2 Spring Series starts with London Bees versus FAWSL newcomers Brighton & Hove Albion WFC at The Hive.

 Wrote a preview for the FAWSL 2 Spring Series in the post prior to today’s match. As I said then I’m excited by what the one off competition has to offer, is silverware to play for but not the pressure a full blown season offers sides can bed in new players, try new thing’s for better or worse. Momentum can’t be under estimated mind a good Spring Series will send a side into the new 2017/18 season with confidence. 

  London Bees enter the Spring Series with a stride in their step having had a much improved season in 2016 under Dave Edmondson. Playing some attractive football eventually ending up 7th their highest FAWSL 2 finish in amongst the mid-table sides the perfect platform to go on and improve. Have made several new signings over the winter bringing in Laura-May Walkley from Reading FC Women. Defender, Anne Meiwald joins from Chelsea Ladies along with Watford Ladies trio, Jordan Littleboy, Amber Tullett and Mollie Burgess aswell as retaining the services of several of their stand-out performers last season.

  Brighton & Hove Albion WFC, winning the FAWPL Southern Division title last season went on to beat Northern Division Champions, Sporting Club Albion Ladies in the FAWPL Play-off match at Wycombe Wanderers in May to win their place in the FAWSL the 2nd side to be promoted to the league following Sheffield FC Ladies last summer. So began the long wait to make their league debut at the higher level in FAWSL 2. As I mentioned in my Spring Series Preview could benefit the most by the Spring Series as it will give their players time to adapt to playing at a higher level, although I do feel the top FAWPL sides are on a par with certainly the sides in the lower half of FAWSL 2. Have a strong fan base and behind the scenes have been working hard off the pitch to ensure they would meet the FAWSL 2 licencing criteria. 

  Brighton & Hove Albion WFC haven’t been quiet on the transfer front either strengthening their squad before the start of the Spring Series bringing in Chelsea Ladies trio, Laura Rafferty, Jenna Legg and Alessia Russo. Sophie Perry returns to the club after a short spell with FAWSL 1 side Reading FC Women. Have also added highly experienced Irish International goalkeeper, Emma Byrne to their squad, with regular 1st team goalkeeper Faye Baker working her way back to fitness following injury. 

  Has been a while since I last visited The Hive, London Bees home ground 18 months or so. Sharing with Barnet FC it is very much a club in the heart of the community, practice pitches open to all age groups outside the main stadium. The stadium itself has undergone development now has a large seated stand behind one goal aswell as the one along the side of the pitch opposite the former bar & clubhouse which is now divided into the Tea Hut where you can purchase hot & cold drinks & snacks along side the new Pecking Order Restaurant. Tickets for a London Bees match are £4 for an adult but for £15 you can purchase a deluxe ticket which gets you a meal at the Pecking Order Restaurant too and when we talk about the ‘matchday experience’ I think it’s a good deal. Car parking is a £1 you purchase a token from the club shop which stocks a good range of London Bees merchandise, and I may well purchase a London Bees mug the next time I’m in town. 

  Onto the playing surface itself is a large pitch plenty of width, holding up fairly well as the season enters moves into mid-February. It might be called the Spring Series but it’s still winter was bitterly cold with a few flakes of snow in the air before kick-off.
  London Bees starting XI – Shayla Burgess, Anne Meiwald, Sophie Fogarty, Ellie Perkins, Amber Tullett, Emma Beckett, Jordan Littleboy, Ashleigh Goddard (C), Lucy Loomes, Paula Howells & Jo Wilson.
 subs- Amelia Houghton-Boyle, Becky Anderson, Laura-May Walkley, Mollie Burgess, Evie Clarke & Hana Lalani

  Brighton & Hove Albion WFC starting XI – Emma Byrne, Jenna Legg, Sophie Perry (C), Vicky Ashton-Jones, Ellie Dorey, Laura Rafferty, Kirsty Barton, Charlotte Young, Alessia Russo, Kate Natkiel & Amy Taylor.

  subs – Bronwen Thomas, Hollie Olding, Lucy Somes, Natalie Taylor & Nina Wilson.

   On to the football, 4 of London Bees new signings were making their 1st start in FAWSL 2, Anne Meiwald, Lucy Loomes, Jordan Littleboy and Amber Tullett with Laura-May Walkley and Mollie Burgess on the bench. With Sophie Harris injured, Shayla Burgess was making her debut in goal for London Bees. Emma Byrne, Laura Rafferty, Jenna Legg and Alessia Russo all start for Brighton & Hove Albion WFC. 

 It’s Brighton to get the 1st half of Spring Series football underway wearing blue and white vertical striped shirts, blue shorts and socks with London Bees lined up opposite wearing orange shirts with a black sash and horizontal piping, black shorts and socks. Brighton make a positive start the ball played back into Kirsty Barton in the centre of midfield, has Alessia Russo on the move on the right, the pass to her is perfect in behind the London Bees defence takes the ball on into the box cutting across the ball as she shoots it swerves away from the near post.

  Both sides testing the other out on the flanks early on Amber Tullett playing the ball out to Sophie Forgarty on the left up the line Jo Wilson picks it up looks to get in behind is tackled by Brighton’s Vicky Ashton-Jones the ball out for a throw. Brighton work the ball from right to left sending Ellie Dorey down the line, Anne Meiwald goes with her sliding in to deny the cross the ball out for the 1st corner of the match. Goes long across the six yard box no one picking the ball up. Jordan Littleboy puts in the challenge in the middle of the park winning the ball plays it out to Paula Howells on the left wing sends the ball forwards for Wilson up front a surging run to take the ball into the area, Ashton-Jones gets across to challenge shoulder to shoulder forces the striker away from goal tackling well getting the goal-kick. 

Jenna Legg on the ball for
Brighton & Hove Albion WFC

 London Bees win a corner on the right side as Ashton-Jones puts Lucy Loomes cross behind. Taken short to captain Ashleigh Goddard the ball is played to Emma Beckett in position at the top of the area, is closed down quickly by the Brighton defence before she can find room to shoot possession is lost. Jenna Legg links up with Russo ahead of her on the right, Kate Natkiel provides the run in behind, Tullett tackling to put the ball out for a throw, the ball finds it’s way into the box, Tullett clears. Good build up play from both sides Brighton looking strong, runs from deep to pressure the London Bees back line.

  Loomes coming inside with the ball lays it forwards for Wilson, right of goal holds off Charlotte Young as she gets into the area, Emma Byrne comes racing out to close her down the striker takes the ball around her as she goes to ground looks to have an empty net to shoot at takes the shot, Legg saves Brighton getting back to throw herself at the ball clearing it off the line.  

Alessia Russo scorer of Brighton
& Hove Albion WFC’s 1st ever
FAWSL goal

 GOAL! 13 minutes played and the 1st ever Spring Series goal is scored. Brighton are on the attack Kirsty Barton in the centre of midfield plays the ball over the top for striker Amy Taylor to chase, Is won by Tullett in the area before she can reach it plays the ball out to Forgarty at left back, is caught on the ball as Russo moves quickly to close her down, taking the ball past her cuts in field driving into the area and sends a ferocious shot angling across the keeper into the top corner 0-1.

 Brighton are looking a real threat on the right Legg and Russo finding each other with their passes, both Taylor and Natkiel making positive runs, Russo taking the ball inside tries to pick out Taylor sending the ball in towards the penalty spot, London Bees goalkeeper Shayla Burgess gets to it 1st claiming the ball. Howells is left on the ground needing treatment after a coming together with Natkiel but is okay to continue. The game restarts the ball at the feet of Laura Rafferty as she brings it on through the middle Taylor breaking into space on the right the midfielder picks her out, Tullett gets across to mark shoulder to shoulder the Brighton attacker is fouled the free-kick awarded players forwards into the box, captain Sophie Perry plays towards the far post Dorey gets her head to the ball sending it high, before anyone can react plays is stopped by the assistant referee’s flag. 

 Natkiel with a threatening run carves open the London Bees defence on the left getting into the box pulls the trigger sending the ball goalwards, Burgess get down sharply diving to her left getting her gloves to the ball an excellent stop the ball the pace taken off the shot the ball rolls across the face of goal, Fogarty reacts quickest getting the ball launched clear before Russo can reach it. The goal has seen Brighton dominate, London Bees a little careless in possession giving the ball away allowing the visitors to come at them. 

Brighton’s Amy Taylor looks to stop London Bees Emma Beckett

  Beckett getting the ball from Goddard picks out Howells making a move to get forwards down the left flank taking the ball down to the line screws her cross behind goal. A rapid counter from Brighton the ball played up to Taylor central controls well picking out Russo looking to get in behind on the right, Forgarty recovers well to slide in and prevent the cross coming in winning the goal-kick off Taylor. Natkiel looks to play the ball in over the London Bees defence with Taylor after it, Burgess comes out sliding in gather the ball keeps hold of it as Taylor having thrown herself forwards in an attempt to get to the ball crashes into her. 

Brighton’s Kate Natkiel with London Bees, Emma Beckett

  A throw on the right side for London Bees 30 yards out from goal the ball is played inside to Littleboy ties up a strike, sending it goalwards is straight and Byrne who gathers cleanly. The game is stretched end to end a high tempo as you’d expect from a FAWSL fixture, both keepers come out to the edge of their areas to clear a threat as the ball is played over the top. Howells closes down Russo winning he ball plays a great diagonal ball up towards Wilson heading into the area, Ashton-Jones closes her down quickly conceding the corner. From the left the ball bounces across the six yard box picked up by Wilson far post the referee spots a handball Brighton have the free-kick.

London Bees, Jordan Littleboy

  Beckett wins the ball in midfield for London Bees sends it forwards for Wilson who switches play out to the right with Loomes on the move shoots from outside the box the ball flying towards the near post area, Byrne makes the save deflecting the ball behind for the corner kick. Coming in high near post Perry get’s her head on the ball nodding it behind for a 2nd corner, this one goes long no one can get onto the end of it as it flies across the six yard box. London Bees have regained some composure and playing some neat triangles are getting forwards better, Fogarty bringing the ball forwards on the left lifts a high ball in towards the area, Byrne calls for it claims well. 

  Into the last 10 minutes of the 1st half Brighton attack the ball played out to Dorey on the left side getting down the pitch squares the ball into the area a touch from a London Bees boot just about deflects the ball away from Taylor looking to get on the end of it, retrieving the ball Taylor attempts to turn back inside get a shot away, is closed down by 3 London Bees defenders the chance is gone. Howells gets a throw on the left as she tries to get forwards linking up with Fogarty the cross is is swept in towards the near post Wilson trying to get their is claimed well by Byrne.

  Russo surges forwards with the ball at her feet on the right her powerful cross into the box misses everyone going out to the opposite flank Natkiel regains possession some 30 yards out coming inside, strikes the ball goalwards is well held by Burgess in goal. 

Half-time London Bees 0-1 Brighton & Hove Albion WFC 

  A fast paced and entertaining 1st Brighton starting life in FAWSL 2 with a confident stride taking the game to London Bees early on clearing the ball off their own goal line then going up the other end to take the lead. Dominated for a spell after that before London Bees found their way back onto level a level footing chances created at both ends.
  A change for Brighton at the start of the 2nd half Bronwen Thomas coming on to replace Dorey on the left. London Bees to kick-off the 2nd half or they would if they had all their side on the pitch the midfield is missing, Littleboy and Goddard arrive the game kicks-off without Beckett as she emerges from the tunnel. Brighton win the ball early on get it out to Thomas on the left driving forwards her shot is saved by Burgess at her near post. Thomas influential in the opening minutes of the 2nd half looking to link up with Natkiel is tackled by Ellie Perkins inside the area the ball cleared. Thomas then wins a corner kick take short played back to the taker the cross is swept into the six yard box well claimed by Burgess.

Kate Natkiel on the attack for Brighton

  Howells over on the right for London Bees as she and Loomes switch sides early on  gets the ball down the line whipping a cross in towards the near post dropping forwards to take it Byrne spills the ball giving away the corner kick. Played in towards the near post is cleared. Howells is limping a bit picked up the injury 1st half is inside the D as London Bees win possession back on the left Goddard onto Fogarty the ball is squared across the face of the Brighton area into Howells, controls well and sends a curling shot narrowly over the crossbar. 

London Bees, Paula Howells with Brighton’s Jenna Legg
  London Bees make their 1st substitution, Littleboy the player coming off to be replaced by Hana Lalani in the middle. Perry plays the ball out from the back towards Natkiel moving left a powerful run taking her up the other end of the pitch wins the corner of Meiwald. The set-piece comes out to Rafferty top of the area, central her shot is charged down, London Bees look to counter, Legg wins the tackle on halfway. Russo with a good run down the right cuts the ball back for Taylor top of the area right of goal shoots sending the ball wide across the area.
 GOAL! 10 minutes played in the 2nd half and London Bees get themselves back on level terms. Meiwald wins the ball back in defence playing it into Lalani in the middle, picks out Howells free on the right side getting forwards ties up the cross as players make runs into the box the cross goes long dropping far side beyond the goal, Goddard has timed her run to perfection getting her head onto the ball to drive it back in across Byrne and into the back of the net beyond 1-1.

London Bees captain,
Ashleigh Goddard
 London Bees having equalised find that extra bit of pace that Brighton had in the 1st half after they took the lead. The tempo remains high, but it is freezing too so everyone might be running around to stay warm too. Loomes coming across to the right as London Bees build an attack plays the ball on for Howells as she looks to get into the area is stopped by a firm tackle form Perry. Brighton threaten to counter Natkiel with acres of space to run into on the left is prevented from doing so by Goddard as the London Bees captain comes running in sliding to tackle and put the ball out for a throw.
  Goddard on the ball as London Bees attack passes forwards into Loomes top of the D looks to divert the ball into the area with Wilson looking to get inside from her left, calls for handball as the ball is stopped from reaching her, the referee waves the plea’s away. Competitive tussles all over the pitch, the referee has a word with Rafferty and Goddard. London Bees are almost through on goal to take the lead as they ball put forwards early threatens to send Loomes clear, Byrne comes racing out of her area doesn’t get their as Loomes knocks the ball past her, Wilson goes after the ball running wide of goal picking it up on the right inside the six yard box goes for goal but by the time she has it the Brighton defence is back to block. 

London Bees, Jo Wilson with Brighton centre backs, Vicky Ashton-Jones & Charlotte Young
 Closing in on the final 15 minutes and London Bees make their final substitution bringing on England Youth International Evie Clarke for Howells who has had a fantastic game. Clarke has an early opportunity to take a shot as she recieves the ball from a throw inside the Brighton half on the right plays the ball to Loomes outside the area right of goal laying it back to Clarke as she moves forwards her strike is charged down by a defender. Brighton come forwards Barton on for Russo with Taylor to her right her cross into the area goes long, Thomas tries to keep it alive inside the box, can’t get a ball around Perkins the defender winning the ball back with a good tackle.
   Brighton make a change bringing on Lucy Somes for Taylor in the 75th minute. A break is on for London Bees Lalani playing the ball out to Loomes on the right sends an early cross into the box, takes a deflection on the way through to the near post, not enough to wrong foot Byrne who is across to lay claim to the ball. One end to the other Russo slips the ball in behind for Somes, Fogarty on her shoulder has support from her goalkeeper as Burgess comes racing out to slide in and gather the ball. Burgess is in the wars as she is clattered by Russo coming out to kick the ball clear as it is played down the wing. Is okay to continue. 
London Bees, Anne Meiwald

  Close from Wilson for London Bees as Loomes wins possession inside the Brighton half on the right passes infield into Lalani outside the box lays it across to Wilson left of the D sends her strike narrowly over the crossbar. Moments later Clarke has a shot from inside the six yard box right of goal that flies into the side netting after she controls a cross fizzed into her from the right wing. Somes controlling the ball 25 yards out back to goal turns an rolls the ball in for Russo to try and burst into the box, both Meiwald and Goddard are quickly n the attacker squeezing her off the ball. 

  The game could go either way neither is settling for the point Beckett plays a long diagonal ball into the area from the right looking to pick out Wilson, Byrne coming for the ball punches it clear of her area. Goddard finding space on the right squares her cross along the penalty spot, just beyond Clarke she manages to lay it back for Loomes who sends her 1st time shot wide of the goal. Loomes on the right manages to squeeze a cross in Clarke winning the corner as her attempt to help the ball on is blocked by Young. The corner is won by Brighton headed out of the area they threaten to break, again it’s Goddard who tackles to win the ball.
  Into injury time late chances for Brighton, a 50/50 challenge in the middle sees the ball squeezed forwards to Russo on the left drives forwards into the box closing in on goal is a clumsy looking challenge goes down as Burgess gets hold of the ball, cries for a penalty, nothing doing London Bees attempt to clear their box get the ball forwards lose it in the middle the ball placed into the run of Natkiel right 20 yards out, Burgess comes rushing out to close her down as she enters the box making an excellent save on the final whistle. 
Full time London Bees 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion WFC

  A dramatic opening game to the Spring Series watched by 703 supporters, the points shared London Bees might feel they could have taken all 3 late on Brighton the same a draw in the end both get a point on the board. Brighton leading the table with the alphabetical advantage. Played at a high tempo throughout, no sign of rustiness or nerves from Brighton right from the start the early goal no doubt adding the their confidence their new signings fitting in well, Russo scoring their 1st ever FAWSL goal. London Bees new signing also doing well Tullett and Meiwald at the back, the London Bees fans already knowing what Loomes is all about, Littleboy too doing well in midfield. Getting themselves back into the game levelling in the 2nd half.
SWF Blog – Player of the Match

 Several contenders, both Lucy Loomes and Paula Howells with great performances on the flanks for London Bees, more often than not they were put through by Ashleigh Goddard, the London Bees captain with some fantastic tackles to break up Brighton’s attacks and scoring their 2nd half equaliser so the SWF Blog – Player of the Match goes to Ashleigh Goddard.

  Enjoyed my return to The Hive don’t think I’ll be leaving it so long next time.

Match Report – Tottenham Hotspur Ladies v Brighton & Hove Albion WFC

Football action featured 1st on the Supporting Women’s Football Blog Sunday 10th April

Match Report – Tottenham Hotspur Ladies v Brighton & Hove Albion WFC

  As most of you know when I’m not writing match reports on this blog I also look after the @WF_East twitter account and it’s website www.womensfootballeast.com which tries to cover as much women’s football in the East of England as it can. The top league covered there is the FAWPL Southern Division, but to date I haven’t seen the side that has been leading the way for most of the season, Brighton & Hove Albion WFC. Have one more league game left away to Tottenham Hotspur Ladies and it is a huge game for them one of the biggest they’ve ever played the scenario is simple, win and Brighton & Hove Albion WFC will be Champions.

  Brighton & Hove Albion WFC have gotten matches played when others haven’t earlier in the season having gotten themselves into an early lead, were only off the top briefly in November when they lost 2 back to back league games. Those though were the only 2 league defeats to be suffered and recovering from that mini wobble went on to storm ahead in the table get their games in to leave themselves their destiny in their own hands knowing a win today will see them win the league even though their rivals Charlton Athletic Women (2nd) and Cardiff City Ladies (3rd) both have games in hand the maximum points tally both can achieve is 52 and 53 points respectfully, Brighton have 51 points now, 3 more from today’s game and it’s all over.

  Can’t and won’t take anything for granted a tough away trip for their final league match of the season, playing Tottenham Hotspur Ladies, who I have seen a few times this season, but not in league action. Sitting in mid-table have won half of their league matches with 20 played to date, lost 9 with just the 1 draw have reached 3 Cup Finals, knocking Brighton out of the FAWPL League Cup at the quarter final stage back in March thanks to a goal in the final minutes. Manager Karen Hills has if all players are fit a large squad to chose from however of late that has not been the case with several unavailable again through injury or international duty.

  That defeat of Brighton in the FAWPL League Cup to place at today’s venue, Brimsdown Sports Ground, home of Brimsdown Rovers FC instead of Tottenham’s usual home venue Cheshunt FC. The pitch situated behind a large clubhouse and function room. A large playing surface looked a little cut up, but good grass cover the ground itself could do with a little TLC, a small seated stand on one side opposite the dugouts. A bright sunny day, some cloud cover but no chance of rain. The crowd swelled by a good number of Brighton supporters hoping to see their side make history.  

Tottenham Hotspur Ladies starting XI – Toni-Anne Wayne, Lucia Leon, Shannon Moloney, Eartha Pond, Alex Keown, Maya Vio, Riana-Devi Soobadoo, Josie Green, Rosie Kmita, Wendy Martin (C) & Kelley Blanchflower.
   subs – Bianca Baptiste, Ronnell Humes, Kate O’Leary & Shakira Waithe.

   Brighton & Hove Albion starting XI – Faye Baker, Catherine Cooper, Vicky Ashton-Jones, Deanna Cooper, Jay Blackie (C), Kirsty Barton, Sophie Perry, Charley Boswell, Kate Natkiel, Charlotte Gurr & Amy Taylor.

   subs – Ellie Dorey, Lucy Somes, Lisa Fulgence, Nina Wilson & Lily Agg.

   Lucia Leon was partnering Alex Keown in defence for Tottenham in the absence of regular captain Jenna Schillaci, Wendy Martin wearing the armband for them this afternoon lined up in their white shirts and socks with navy shorts with Brighton having kick off 1st half lined up in their away kit off what Nike call ‘Volt’ shirts and socks, (lime green) and back shorts. The ball is played out to the left side early on with Sophie Perry pushing down that flank up against Shannon Moloney played at right back for Tottenham today she defends well winning the ball, puts it long into the Brighton half, goes all the way back to goalkeeper Faye Baker, who shows good distribution of the ball from the back picking out Perry with a long kick, runs into traffic the ball going out for a throw.

Brighton’s Catherine Cooper keeping close tabs on Tottenham’s Kelley Blanchflower

Obvious early on this match is going to be played at a fast pace and both sides are going to close the ball down quickly, forcing both sides into rushed passes several are going astray. Charley Boswell attacking down the right for Brighton finds herself in space high up the pitch as the ball pops free from the pinball in the centre out to her, drives with it to the touchline cuts a cross in along the six yard box, racing back Tottenham’s Alex Keown cuts it out turning the ball behind for a corner kick. A high ball swept in from the right comes central, Tottenham goalkeeper Toni-Anne Wayne rises unopposed to claim the ball.

   Brighton’s Vicky Ashton-Jones plays a long ball out from the back left side coming central drops for Gurr 20 plus yards out knows Wayne is off her line behind her goes for the lob sending the ball high, but it bounces harmlessly wide of goal. Brighton have started well Boswell and Perry providing good outlets for the ball right and left. Perry fires in an early cross on the diagonal from the left side racing across the six yard box, Natkiel chasing in far post can’t quite get her toe on the end of the cross to turn the ball home. 

Riana-Devi Soobadoo wins the header against Brighton’s Amy Taylor

  Tottenham are contesting the ball well enough in the midfield have found it hard to get it into the attacking trio of Martin, Rosie Kmita and Kelley Blanchflower the latter two try to link up create something as Riana-Devi Soobadoo gets hold of the ball and releases Kmita down the left wing, pushing in has Blanchflower inside her looking for the ball to be played ahead of her run into the box, Kmita sends it in, seeing the attack build Baker has already started to come and calling for it collects as her defence blocks off Blanchflower’s run.

   A free kick wide left for Brighton, Perry to whips the ball in comes in towards the near post, bounces right before Wayne who has the angle covered gathers 2nd time despite a runner coming, Natkiel I think who ends up colliding with the post, but it’s alright. Brighton captain Jay Blackie plays a great ball from inside her own half up towards Amy Taylor the striker in a central position headers the ball down to the right where Boswell is in space, drives forwards, cuts the cross back in along the six yard area, Keown tracking back cuts the ball out putting it behind for a corner kick. The corner is put in long drifts out of play beyond the far post.

  Leon is looking to bring the ball out from the back for Tottenham when she is brought down by Taylor, clear the defender is in trouble as the trainer runs on a lengthy stoppage and sadly  the stretcher has to be brought on as she can no longer continue. Shakira Waithe is the substitute, goes to left back with Eartha Pond starting in that position moving into the centre of defence along side Keown. A free kick to Tottenham goes long, Brighton’s Deanna Cooper with a firm header clears the threat. Play continues to be constricted to the middle neither side finding the cutting ball into the area to send an attacker through. 

Josie Green looking for a passing option for Tottenham

 Martin is being well marked by Brighton as she looks to get hold of the ball up top for Tottenham. Maya Vio, Josie Green and Soobadoo are battling hard in midfield not making it easy for Brighton to pick their way through. Green gets the ball up to Kmita left side again pushing on cuts a cross back in along the face of the area, Blanchflower the target, Ashton-Jones with the interception. Moloney gets a talking to from the referee as she commits a foul in front of the stand, From a deep position on the left it’s Deanna Cooper to take sends a fantastic flighted ball long towards the far post with Boswell totally free to run in and attack it with Wayne drifting across her goal, Boswell looks to nod the header back across her, the goalkeeper flashes up a hand to stop the ball then bring it under control and hold.

GOAL! Into injury time in the 1st half and the stalemate is broken, Brighton hit Tottenham on the break and for once as the ball is swung in from the left the visitors have managed to overload the area have two players spare coming in behind the defence into the area, Wayne has to come off her line try to get to the ball, reaches the closest Brighton attacker 1st, Taylor who gets her foot to the ball 1st prods it past Wayne to roll home just inside the post. An important game for Brighton and it’s clear from the enthused celebration that greets the goal it has released alot of tension 0-1.

  Half-time Tottenham Hotspur Ladies 0-1 Brighton & Hove Albion WFC
   Brighton take the narrowest of leads into the dressing room at half-time in what has been a scrappy 1st half, neither side getting hold of the ball for long. Brighton have had more opportunity to go forwards with the ball, the final pass more often than not failing to come off. Have dealt with the threat Tottenham’s attackers posed to their defence well with Blackie staying back to receive the ball and set up play further up the field. 
  The teams are out for the 2nd 45, a lead to defend as it stands Brighton are on course to win the title. Tottenham to take the kick off. Pushing up towards the Brighton area lose the ball is played out up towards Gurr who has Perry racing down the left flank plays the pass out to her, the cross is fired in towards Taylor in the centre, she ends up fouling Pond trying to get around the defender.
Tottenham’s Shannon Moloney
   Coming out with the ball on the left Kmita sends what looks to be a nothing ball into the Brighton area, Blanchflower is up there but it is going to bounce into the waiting Baker’s gloves, at least it should have, must have woken a mole up or something because it skips up and threatens to embarrass the keeper going over her head she punches it away to her left across the six yard  box her defence getting it clear. 
  Another awkward ball for Baker to deal with as Tottenham’s Blanchflower lofts a high ball into the area from a good distance out, is turned over for a corner kick. Pond to take from the right sends in a vicious ball dissecting the six yard box coming far post, Ashton-Jones does well to head it behind for a corner, with martin a dead cert to score coming in behind her. The 2nd corner from the left side is wasted.
   Perry is a constant threat for Brighton on their left Kirsty Barton puts the ball out to her feet on the wing Perry surges on up the line squares the cross in to the six yard box with Taylor at the near post tries to turn and hit her shot the ball is blocked by the defender up against her, rolls away Taylor goes for it trying to turn it back on target, slices the ball wide of goal. 1st change for Brighton with Lily Agg coming on for Gurr, going into the midfield Natkiel is pushed up along side Taylor for now. Another chance for Taylor to double her goal tally as Agg gets hold of the ball in the centre her pass up top is deflected off a defender into the run of Taylor 20 yards out goes to shot gets it wrong sends the ball over the bar.
Sophie Perry full of running on the left for
Brighton was a threat all afternoon
   Baker is getting some testing ball put her way in the Brighton goal, this one fired in from distance by Green who gets plenty of zip on the ball, bouncing before it reaches the keeper again skips up again and Baker does well to adjust and tip the ball over the bar for the corner kick. Tottenham see the corner cleared off the line as it is fired in low and fast along the six yard box coming all the way through to Keown racing onto it connect well, blocked on the line before eventually being cleared. Pond has another chance to play the ball into the area for Tottenham as they are awarded a free kick wide on the right sends the ball in high looping towards the far post area a great save from Baker to turn the ball over and out for a corner kick. Tottenham make their 2nd change of the match sending on Bianca Baptiste for Martin. 
  GOAL! Super sub! I had just written… ‘and immediately Baptiste starts by putting herself about.’ Straight away the Tottenham striker is after the Brighton defenders hustling them on the ball pushing them into taking the ball right 20 yards out she steals the ball and from the right corner outside the area looks to go for goal, is a quality strike coming in fast sweeps over Baker and drops behind into the goal 1-1, Tottenham get themselves back on level terms with 20 minutes left to play.
   Blackie with a quality pass out to Perry on the left sets up another Brighton attack the ball squared into the area again Taylor coming towards it has Keown on her shoulder, but despite being put under challenge connects with the ball turning her shot goalwards, flies over the crossbar. 
Amy Taylor scoring both Brighton
goals to seal a 2-1 win
  GOAL! Less than 15 minutes left and Brighton regain the lead. Again Perry is heavily involved with the build up, with the ball on the left fires it in to Taylor coming near post her turn and hit is blocked the ball rebounding out to Natkiel who pulls the trigger from outside the box into the crowd is deflected back out to the left, won back by Perry her 2nd cross comes to Taylor just inside the area this time she curls her shot around Wayne and into the back of the net to cue another round of exuberant celebrations 1-2.
  Before the goal Brighton were thinking about a change and make it anyway, with Lisa Fulgence coming on for Catherine Cooper, joins Taylor up top, Natkiel going back into the centre. 7 minutes left on the clock and Brighton are defending for their lives as Tottenham look to push on the ball. The ball is pinging about, Fulgence is flagged offside as Taylor latches onto the ball and drives into the Tottenham half.
  The match moves into stoppage time, Tottenham are applying the pressure, the Brighton fans in front of me don’t know what to do with themselves. Soobadoo gets her foot in wins the ball plays it on to Blanchflower, her pass comes to Green 20 yards out right side of the area hits the shot on the half volley, comes safely through into bakers gloves as she kneels to meet it no awkward bounce this time and that’s it the final whistle blows and Brighton & Hove Albion WFC win the game 2-1 and everyone races onto the pitch for a mass celebration inside the centre circle. 54 points secured and no one can catch them now! Champions!
  It might have sounded a simple scenario win and it’s yours but that is never as easy as that. A scrappy contest, a difficult pitch and a competitive Tottenham side who weren’t going to roll over made for a good contest, Baptiste’s superb equaliser making for a nervy end, Taylor’s brace securing the 3 points Brighton needed, they are FAWPL Southern Division Champions. Not only that but will be contesting the FAWPL Play-off match with whoever’s crowned FAWPL Northern Division Champions for a place in the FAWSL on Sunday May 29th. For now thought it’s time to celebrate winning the title and with a few weeks before that match the players can celebrate and let it sink in.
Brighton & Hove Albion WFC celebrating after the final whistle blows
  Thanks to both clubs for their help with the teams today. My congratulations to the players, management, coaching staff, volunteers and fans of Brighton & Hove Albion WFC on your title win.