Hope Powell makes painful Aston Villa admission after Albion suffer first WSL defeat
Brighton manager Hope Powell said her team will learn lessons from their narrow defeat to Aston Villa.
Emily Gielnik’s second-half winner helped Aston Villa to a 1-0 victory over Brighton which ended the Seagulls’ 100 per cent record and knocked them off the top of the FA Women’s Super League table.
“We weren’t at our best which was pretty evident," said the Albion boss. "We didn’t move the ball as we have been doing over the last two games. I think credit must go to Aston Villa, they stifled our play as we couldn’t find our way today.
“From our perspective, we looked a little bit unsure, maybe its credit to Aston Villa in the way they scrapped and didn’t quite execute our game plan, so it came very difficult when they scored. I’ve got to give credit to our girls for the ‘don’t die’ attitude towards the end.
“I also think we’ve got caught in a scrap which we knew would happen and we didn’t manage it very well, so it’s a lesson on ‘how do you manage yourself’ when perhaps the opposition that work very hard to deny you space and time.
"We got to learn how to move the ball a bit quicker with some quality.“
Aston Villa leapfrog the Seagulls into second place and maintain their unbeaten start to the campaign.
Both sides had a cagey start to the game with plenty of possession and creating great passages of play, but failed to register an effort on target.
Brighton had their first effort on target in the 15th minute when some patient build-up play from Danielle Carter and Inessa Kaagman brought the ball into Villa’s box, squaring the ball to Rinsola Babajide who struck a powerful left-footed effort that forced Hannah Hampton to produce a fantastic save.
Moments later, Aston Villa applied further pressure on both flanks and tried their luck again as Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah fired a long-range effort towards the bottom corner that went straight into the hands of Megan Walsh.
Before half-time, Carla Ward’s side couldn’t capitalise on Brighton’s sloppiness and were gifted the opportunity to open the scoring. Brighton’s Victoria Williams failed to clear the danger as Boye-Hlorkah retained possession and glided the ball to Gielnik, whose close-range effort was excellently saved by Walsh.
The visitors broke the deadlock in the 48th minute through Gielnik who stayed onside to dink her effort over Walsh into the far corner to give Villa a deserved lead.
With twenty minutes remaining, Hope Powell’s side came close to equalising when Megan Connolly executed a fine cross that found Aileen Whelan, who almost glided an effort on goal past Hampton.
In the closing stages, Villa could have doubled their advantage after Ramona Petzelberger’s effort from close-range flew over the bar, and held firm to secure a resounding victory.
Aston Villa manager Carla Ward said: “Brighton are an exceptional side and it’s a side that I strongly admire, but I thought for ninety mins, we were outstanding and can’t fault our players.
“We knew when she [Emily Gielnik] picked up the ball, she’s got the pace and power, and it was an unbelievable finish that was to mark your first goal in the FA Women’s Super League, so I am delighted for her. The way we reacted straight after half-time and come out to get that goal was massively important.
“I am also delighted that we have been able to take seven points and it’s credit to the players because they’ve listened and take on what we are asking of them. It does takes time for the new players to build relationships and connections, but I think today they showed that they are starting to develop those relationships and looking after each other.
“The connections were there and we could see that and we are starting to come together. The message is that we are trying to develop a philosophy and understanding with a new group of players.”
Brighton and Hove Albion: (4-2-3-1): Megan Walsh; Maya Le Tissier, Danique Kerkdijk, Victoria Williams, Emma Koivisto; Inessa Kaagman, Emily Simpkins; Rinsola Babajide, Ellie Brazil, Aileen Whelan; Danielle Carter
Substitutes: Megan Connolly for Simpkins 46, Lee Geum-Min for Babajide 62, Kayleigh Green for Brazil 68, Katie Robinson for Kaagman 82, Felicity Gibbons for Williams 82
Substitutes not used: Frances Stenson, Faith Nokuthula, Libby Bance, Juliet Arimoro
Red Cards: N/A
Aston Villa: (4-2-3-1): Hannah Hampton; Sarah Mayling, Meaghan Sargeant, Anita Asante, Mayumi Pacheco; Remi Allen, Chloe Arthur; Ramona Petzelberger, Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah, Freya Gregory; Emily Gielnik
Substitutes: Olivia McLoughlin for Gregory 66, Jodie Hutton for Boye-Hlorkah 68, Natalie Haigh for Arthur 90
Substitutes not used: Shania Hayles, Gemma Davison, Marisa Ewers, Elisha N’Dow, Sian Rogers, Laura Blindkilde
Goals: Gielnik 48
Red cards: N/A
Referee: Lisa Benn