WSL: Nikita Parris brace delivers tough defeat for Brighton

Nikita Parris of Manchester United celebrates scoring a goal
Nikita Parris of Manchester United celebrates scoring her team's first goal during the Barclays Women's Super League match vs Brighton (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

New Brighton manager Mikey Harris understood the large task ahead of him as Nikita Parris fired Manchester United to victory with a double goal-scoring performance.

The game kicked off with Brighton hoping the head coach change would provide some inspiration and that the ‘new manager boost’ would kick in. It took only nine minutes for that dream to be dashed.

Geyse De Silva outfoxed left-back Poppy Pattinson and cut the ball back for Parris to lash it home. It was only the beginning of a torturous game for Pattinson. Geyse added her name to the list of left-backs who she has run ragged so far this season.

United eventually took their foot off the gas and let Brighton to get back into the game. They allowed Elisabeth Terland, the third-highest scorer in the Women’s Super League this season. two clear chances. The first was a volley when the Norweigan was set up by Lee Geum-Min, who outside of this pass struggled to do much. And the second, a near post shot. Both were saved by the indomitable Mary Earps.

It was clear what Harris was trying to implement with this struggling Brighton side. They managed to keep the ball well in the first half and forced a few turnovers in possession. The ex-Brighton men’s academy coach stated he was proud of his side’s first half performance afterwards. However, their subpar performance in the second half was to be expected.

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Parris on song once again

The second half started with neither side getting into rhythm. Brighton appeared seemingly tired from their immense efforts in the first half. The Seagulls committed multiple fouls to get close to the United players. Pattinson was eventually cautioned after numerous fouls on Geyse. She was right to be fearful of the Brazilian winger as she went on to set up United’s second.

Geyse collected the ball on the right wing after skipping past Veatriki Sarri, who came back to double up on her. Pattinson didn’t engage her, seemingly frozen in fear of the Brazilian, and offered her time and space to cut the ball back for Parris to stroke in her eighth of the season. Harris withdrew Pattinson soon afterwards.

The game ended 2-0, solidifying United’s position in fourth and leaving Brighton five points above the relegation zone. With Arsenal losing as well, it leaves United just four behind them. The Gunners currently occupy the key final Champions League qualification spot.

With United facing the Norton London outfit in their next league fixture, it will be key in determining who will finish in Europe and who will not.

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