FAWSL: Leicester earn vital victory over Brighton

Ellie Brazil of Brighton & Hove Albion battles for possession with Ashleigh Plumptre of Leicester City.
Ellie Brazil of Brighton & Hove Albion battles for possession with Ashleigh Plumptre of Leicester City. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Brighton and Hove Albion travelled to the King Power Stadium to face Leicester City on Sunday. Both teams were looking to improve upon lopsided losses at the hands of Manchester City in the previous week.  

In team news, Emma Kullberg had her first start for Brighton since signing at the beginning of January, and Freya Gregory made her home debut for Leicester.

First half

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The first twenty minutes of the match had very little flow. Both teams struggled to maintain decent possession, and it became physical very quickly. A number of players went down injured, but luckily, no one needed to be substituted.

Things settled down around the twentieth minute. Much to the delight of their home fans, Leicester established a flow and rhythm to their play. The Foxes created opportunity after opportunity, earning set pieces and beating the Brighton defence. Despite good chances for Jessica Sigsworth and Esmee de Graaf, Leicester was unable to get on the scoresheet in the first half.

While the match was scoreless at the interval, Gregory and Jemma Purfield were in very good form for Leicester, and Kullberg defended well down the left-hand flank for Brighton.

Second half

In the second half, Leicester looked to build on their first-half flow, while Brighton strove for more control and connectivity in their play. Despite an early attempt from Maisie Symonds, Brighton were mostly on the back foot as Leicester took control of the match.

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The home side broke the deadlock with a deserved goal in the 54th minute through Shannon O’Brien. Sam Tierney delivered a nice ball deep into Brighton territory. Sigsworth slotted it into a perfect position for O’Brien to put past Megan Walsh for her first goal of the 2021-2022 season.

Brighton manager Hope Powell made a slew of changes in the second half to try to make an impact. As a result, the visitors put some late-match pressure on Leicester, but the Foxes’ defence was up to the task. Brighton substitutes Symonds and Kayleigh Green connected well, but couldn’t manage to put their efforts on target.

Looking ahead

Today’s three-point victory moves Leicester out of the relegation spot and into eleventh in the table whilst Brighton remain seventh. Both teams play next on 23 January. Leicester will look to build on today’s success against Aston Villa, whereas Brighton will hope to get their first win of 2022 against Chelsea.