Brighton and Hove Albion Women 1 Everton Women 1
Albion and Everton shared the spoils on a sunny Sunday at the People’s Pension Stadium as the curtain came down on the Barclays FA Women’s Super League season.
Goals from Everton’s Nathalie Bjorn and Brighton’s Aileen Whelan meant the hosts had to settle for a point in Crawley as they missed out on an opportunity to rack up a club-record points tally in the WSL.
With 1,379 fans in attendance, Albion started the game on the front foot, patiently building in possession and pressing high up the pitch. The Seagulls’ high line left them prone to the odd counter-attack in the first half, but even as the Toffees threatened early on, the visitors lacked quality on the final ball.
Brighton’s front-foot football forced Everton to defend deep in their half, but the visitors finally caught a break on the brink of half-time.
After a rare sustained spell of possession, some quick interplay between Everton’s midfielders saw the ball fall to Nathalie Bjorn, who made no mistake to put the Toffees ahead.
Albion were unlucky to concede so close to half-time, with Hope Powell choosing to make a double substitution to start the second half.
The Brighton manager brought Emma Kullberg and Aileen Whelan on for Fliss Gibbons and Megan Connolly.
With the home fans turning up the volume in the second half, Albion embarked on a rescue mission, peppering Everton with shots on goal.
It took all of seven minutes in the second half for the hosts to draw level.
In the 52nd minute, Inessa Kaagman had a pop at the Everton goal from just outside the box, with her shot rattling the bar. The rebound fell to Whelan, who graciously obliged to even the scoreline.
Whelan, who announced her departure from Brighton earlier this week after five years at the club, was promptly greeted by chants of “Aileen Whelan, we want you to stay!”
The two sides went back and forth for much of the second half with Megan Walsh called into action for a quick double save in the 85th minute.
Maisie Symonds was named player of the match for her endeavour and tenacity throughout the game.
Brighton ended their fourth season in the WSL in seventh in a competitive division, with Powell expressing confidence that the club is on the right track in their quest to be a top-four side in the league in the long term.
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