#4: Brighton Women 0-4 Arsenal Women 28/04/2019

#4 BRIGHTON WOMEN 0-4 ARSENAL WOMEN Women’s Super League
Sunday 28th April 2019 BT 2015

ARSW Titles

PRESENTER Clare Balding GUEST Alicia Ferguson-Cook
COMMENTATORS Adam Summerton & Lucy Ward REPORTER Connie McLaughlin
12.15pm Kick Off; Amex Stadium     12-2.30pm Live on BT Sport 2

ARSW Sting ARSW Sting 2 ARSW Intro

Context of the Match: Approaching the business end of the season, today was Brighton’s final home match in their debut season in the Women’s Super League; England’s top professional Division. The campaign was thought of a success; reaching the Quarter Finals of the WSL Continental Cup, the Fourth Round of the SSE Women’s FA Cup and securing survival in the top flight for another year with games to spare. Victories were extremely hard to come by, with as many in the Cups as in the League – three in each thus far. In the WSL, only one team were relegated to the Championship and for a long time there was a three-way battle between the Albion, Everton and Yeovil to avoid the drop. This came to a premature conclusion at the end of March when struggling Yeovil Town Ladies were forced into administration amidst huge budget cuts. This gave them a ten-point deduction from the Football Association and, having already secured the lowest number of points of any team with just five at the time, were a long way from safety on a negative tally. Relegation was then confirmed mid-April with a five-nil home defeat to Reading. This boosted the confidence of Brighton, now able to play the final couple of rounds safe in the knowledge that they would be a WSL club again. Today’s opponents Arsenal in contrast had everything to play for; a win would secure them the League title for the first time since 2012. The Gunners ran out four-one winners in the reverse fixture back in November, Live on the BBC Red Button, and were strong favourites ahead of this one. Albion chiefs elected to host the match at the American Express Community Stadium in Falmer for its first Super League game, instead of the usual home in Crawley. A bumper crowd was anticipated with men’s team season ticket holders able to claim a free ticket. Attention was heightened as BT Sport broadcast the match Live to the nation at the earlier time of a 12.15pm kick off. With the World Cup to come in France in the summer, a season-long behind the scenes BBC documentary on West Ham United Women, the FA Cup Final this coming Saturday evening Live in primetime and the launch of a new terrestrial magazine programme last weekend, the spotlight was increasingly shining on the Women’s game.

ARSW Brighton ARSW Arsenal ARSW Formations

The Teams: Hope Powell made two changes from the defeat to Reading last time out. Emily Simpkins came in for her second League start of the season in the middle, whilst Tory Williams returned at the back. Longest serving player Kirsty Barton’s more familiar in midfield but reverted to right back for this one. She appeared in both previous women’s matches held at this stadium; a two-nil victory over Charlton in May 2015 and a three-one win against Sheffield two years ago. On the left wing, Aileen Whelan was named the club’s Player of the Season, as chosen by the coaching staff. Kate Natkiel grew up through the ranks at Arsenal whilst captain Dani Buet spent seven years there. Republic of Ireland international Megan Connolly joined the club in January from College football in America. Wales international Kayleigh Green led the line up top hoping to add to her solitary League goal this term. Ini Umotong scored the opener in the reverse fixture in Boreham Wood but began on the bench today. She was joined by Northern Ireland international defender Laura Rafferty who had recently recovered from injury having missed the past couple of months. Joe Montemurro’s high flyers needed just one more victory to secure the title and named the same starting eleven as last week’s win over Everton. Defender Leah Williamson, a graduate of the Arsenal academy, and striker Beth Mead will both be hoping to go to the World Cup in Phil Neville’s England squad in the summer. Midfielders Dominique Bloodworth and Danielle Van de Donk were amongst the scorers in the four-one win over the Seagulls in November. Captain Kim Little won the League with Arsenal when they last claimed the title seven years ago. Striker Vivianne Miedema broke the record for most number of goals in a WSL season back in December and was looking to add to her tally of seventeen; a figure higher than the entire Albion squad’s goals to date. She was also named PFA Women’s Player of the Year for this season. The referee was Lucy Oliver, whose husband Michael officiates in the men’s game.

ARSW Balding ARSW Ferguson ARSW Studio

Presentation Team: Hugely popular multi-sport broadcaster Clare Balding anchored BT’s coverage of today’s fixture. A former amateur jockey, Balding made her name hosting horse racing on firstly the BBC before switching to Channel 4 when they secured exclusive terrestrial rights from 2013. She’s also the lead presenter for BBC Sport on major Games such as the Olympics and Commonwealths, earning ‘national treasure’ status for her superb handling of the swimming during London 2012. With her stock at its highest following those Games, her freelance work stretched across multiple broadcasters on a wide range of sports; from Rugby League and the Boat Race on the BBC, Crufts on Channel 4 and her own sporting chat show on BT Sport. In 2017 she fronted Four’s coverage of the Women’s European Championship football – her first step into this sport – and has maintained links since. Balding has presented the odd WSL match for BT previously and is the face of the new Channel 4 magazine programme Women’s Football World which launched Saturday morning. Alongside her at The Amex was former Australian international striker Alicia Ferguson-Cook. Having spent most of her playing career in her native land, she moved to England for work purposes and was used by ESPN as a pundit on the newly-launched professional WSL. She also worked for the American version during the 2011 World Cup. Whilst in England she resumed her playing career, joining Millwall Lionesses for a couple of years before retiring in 2013 to move full-time in media, specifically production. Her current role is behind the scenes, as a producer on Women’s Football World and with production company Sunset+Vine. In the commentary box were regular pairing Adam Summerton and Lucy Ward. Summerton is the voice of BT’s National League coverage alongside ex-Albion man Adam Virgo. Additionally, he’s used across Europa and Champions League games, European Leagues and England Senior Women’s and Men’s under-21 internationals, all on BT Sport. Prior to this he worked for Manchester United’s club station MUTV from 2007, taking over hosting and commentary duties from Steve Bower. Coincidentally he went on to also replace Bower on Conference and Women’s football with BT. Lucy Ward is the UK’s premier co-commentator on Women’s football, having been behind the mic for well over a decade across ESPN, BBC, Channel 4 and BT. With a strong Yorkshire accent, she spent her entire playing career there with Leeds and Doncaster before carving out a hugely successful media career. Completing the presentation line up was touchline reporter Connie McLaughlin. Having begun her media career in her resident Scotland, he made her name with BBC Radio hosting and reporting various sports programmes where she still contributes to this day. In the past eighteen months she’s been a regular on BT Sport, providing in-game updates on the biggest Scottish football match of the day for results service BT Sport Score. She also occasionally features on their SPFL Live coverage.

ARSW Dugout ARSW Warm Up ARSW Powell ARSW Nobbs

The Coverage: This was the penultimate Live match of the WSL season for BT Sport, who came on air fifteen minutes prior to the 12.15pm kick off. Host Clare Balding began the programme by interviewing Arsenal Women’s coach Joe Montemurro in the dugout before handing over to reporter Connie McLaughlin who was speaking with Albion coach Hope Powell in the tunnel. When asked if playing today’s match at The Amex brought on extra pressure, Powell said “Probably there will be some pressure. The crowd that’s expected is probably the biggest they will have played in front of so that in itself brings a little bit of pressure. But really we want them to enjoy the occasion. They’ve got to showcase themselves.” Balding then moved to the pitchside position from which the rest of today’s coverage would be presented from, in front of an empty West Stand, where she was accompanied by pundit Alicia Ferguson-Cook (captioned just as Alicia Ferguson throughout). They began by discussing the WSL as a whole and how initiatives like this, housing a match at the main stadium, will only improve upon the integrity and quality of the League. Ferguson-Cook highlighted Ini Umotong’s absence from the Albion starting XI, explaining she’s expected to come on in the second half, but emphasising how impressive she has been this season with pace and strength up front. However today was Arsenal’s day and they were focussed on for much of the build up as they attempted to secure the WSL title. Injured midfielder Jordan Nobbs joined the pundits pitchside to give an insight into the buoyant dressing room. She also discussed the key Arsenal players; record-breaking goalscorer Vivianne Miedema and fellow Dutch international Danielle Van de Donk. Clips of Scotland’s Kim Little were ran, showcasing her influence this campaign. An advert break separated the chat from the action, after which Balding handed over to commentary team Adam Summerton and Lucy Ward with the players ready to emerge from the tunnel.

ARSW Team of the Season ARSW Miedema ARSW BT Box ARSW Celebrations

At half time Balding and Ferguson-Cook analysed the key moments including both Arsenal goals. Miedema’s footwork was praised for the first goal whilst her vision was crucial to the second. The gap in quality between the home and away sides was evident. The presentation team also looked through the PFA Women’s Team of the Year, with three Arsenal representatives as well as several England players. Manchester City captain Steph Houghton and striker Nikita Parris were named, as was Demi Stokes and Chelsea’s Hannah Blundell; all of whom were set to join Phil Neville’s National side at the World Cup in June. The aim of BT’s WSL coverage is to be as inclusive as possible, whether you’re a first time viewer or seasoned fan. After the match, around fifteen minutes were afforded to wrap things up and celebrate the Arsenal title victory. The trophy wouldn’t be presented today – that would come during their Live broadcast in two weeks time at Boreham Wood when the season concludes – but the emotions were poured out and the joy evident on the Gunners players. The cameras joined the team on the pitch as their huddle took place for a quick debrief with the manager before they all burst into song and chants of “Championes!” Reporter Connie McLaughlin spoke to two of the scorers in the centre circle; Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema. Many of the record crowd stayed behind to join in with Arsenal’s triumph as the PA system blasted out Queen’s We Are the Champions. Following an advert break, we returned to our pitchside position to review the match with our host and pundit who were joined by a few of the Arsenal squad and proud boss Joe Montemurro. Captain Kim Little was alongside him firstly, singing the praises of her teammates. In a moment of inevitability, Danielle Van de Donk gatecrashed the interview to spray her captain and manager with water bottles. Of course, Clare Balding wasn’t immune and had to try and jump out of the way, to little avail! Talk immediately turned to next season and how Arsenal could improve upon this, with European glory the next aim. The final few minutes were devoted to analysing the terrific finishes in the second half that doubled Arsenal’s lead from two to four-nil. The BT Box – picture-in picture – was utilised as Player of the Match Van de Donk joined the team to review her own goal before it was time to sign off as another top class broadcast came to a close in an historic year for the Albion Women; the first season they’ve had Live television exposure and four matches to boot. They’d be back in the top flight for another campaign in the autumn and we look forward to further coverage of this ever-improving club.

ARSW Kick Off ARSW Comms ARSW Huddle ARSW Yellow

Story of the Match: The Sunday afternoon kick off saw a record Women’s Super League attendance of 5,265 flock to The Amex to witness the matchup between debutants Brighton and title-chasing Arsenal. The previous record also featured the Gunners, when 5,052 saw them face Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium back in 2012. The spectators didn’t have to wait long for the opening goal, a fantastic strike from Arsenal’s top scorer Vivianne Miedema. The Dutch striker dispossessed Tory Williams almost twenty-five yards out before unleashing a fierce shot. The effort fizzed past ‘keeper Marie Hourihan, whose fingertips brushed the ball before it crashed down over the line off the crossbar. The visitors were in the ascendancy, controlling possession and dominating chances. The second goal came after some nice play between Kim Little, Miedema and eventual scorer Katie McCabe. Little on the left found Miedema centrally. She chipped the ball over the Albion defence for Ireland captain McCabe to run onto. Using her body to shield the ball from defender Williams, she was able just to help the ball in with her outstretched left foot past Hourihan and into the far corner to double the deficit. Commentator Adam Summerton surmised; “They play some of the best women’s football in the country, Arsenal, and there was a fine example of it. A great move rounded off superbly by McCabe.” Later in the half Williams had to deny Arsenal a third, heading Quinn’s looping effort off the line from a corner. That ensured the scoreline remained just two at the break.

ARSW Mead Goal ARSW Umotong Sub ARSW Champions

Brighton began well in the second period and had their first proper opening early on. Skipper Dani Buet’s cross from twenty-five yards on the far side got the better of Arsenal’s failed offside trap but had just too much on it for Aileen Whelan to nip in. Sari van Veenendaal in goal had to get down low to her right to palm the ball behind. For all the encouragement in this half for the home side, the goal wasn’t coming and shots on target were few and far between. Meanwhile Arsenal looked a danger from every attack and with twenty minutes left on the clock, they put the game and indeed the title to bed with one of the goals of the season. The visitors won the ball back around the half way line and were quick to break forward. Van de Donk stroked a ball towards the left wing where Beth Mead was running to. Her first two touches controlled the ball before taking it past Barton to run into a bit of space. She took just two further touches to dribble forward before firing an unstoppable curler into the top left-hand corner of Hourihan’s goal. The Albion ‘keeper could get nowhere near it, struck to perfection it looked a better goal with each replay shown. The trajectory of the ball barely moved as it sailed in from more than thirty yards. Her celebration included running over to the bench where England teammate Jordan Nobbs was watching on; a long-term absentee which ruled her out of the upcoming World Cup. And the icing was put on the cake six minutes later with Arsenal’s fourth. Miedema’s cross was part-cleared by the back of Barton. The loose ball was picked up by Van de Donk who laid it off for Little. She returned the favour to Van de Donk who given space on the edge of the box to roll the ball with her studs and calmly place it into the bottom right of the net. Brighton went close to a consolation goal in stoppage time when the impressive Megan Connolly saw her right-footed attempt land just wide of the post from outside the area but it was Arsenal’s day in the Sussex Downs as they ran out four-nil winners and in the process became League Champions with a game to spare. Brighton’s aim would be to end the season on a high in two weeks’ time and a trip to FA Cup finalists West Ham, but survival was the overriding aim at the beginning of the campaign and that had been secured. The next women’s football at this stadium would see the England national team make their final preparations ahead of the World Cup in France with a friendly against New Zealand in June.

ARSW Table

BRIGHTON WOMEN 0 ARSENAL WOMEN 4
Miedema, McCabe, Mead, Van de Donk

ARSW Replay

 

EXTRA; BBC magazine programme The Women’s Football Show came from pitchside at The Amex today for the first time following this match with Arsenal. Broadcast on BBC One at 11.45pm after Premier League highlights on Match of the Day 2, the thirty-five minute show was hosted by Reshmin Chowdhury. The main focus was the match between Brighton and Arsenal, highlights of which formed the first half of the show. The extended edit had commentary as BT Sport, provided by Adam Summerton and Lucy Ward. This was the usual case that the highlights used the commentary from the Live matches shown on BT and BBC Red Button as well as the WSL Facebook stream.

Women's Football Show WFS Chowdhury

After the match, and with Arsenal securing the title with the win, reaction came from captain Kim Little and manager Joe Montemurro pitchside with Chowdhury. She then linked to highlights and round-ups of the other matches, as commentary was provided by Chris Sharples whilst Lynsey Hooper narrated. Following this, Brighton defender Laura Rafferty joined the presenter pitchside to discuss the Albion’s first season in the WSL and the aims of the club. Rafferty plays an important role as a Club ambassador and is often the poster girl for the Women’s team. She explained “It’s been busy, half of the team have come from being part-time to going full-time so it is a massive transition for the club.” The show continued with a further round-up and a look at the table before glancing at the Championship results and table. It concluded with a brief highlights edit of the Live Red Button match earlier today; Chelsea versus Lyon in the Champions League Semi Final 2nd Leg and comment about Youth Finals.

WFS Comms WFS RaffertyWFS Two Shot

 

PREVIOUS; #3 BRIGHTON WOMEN 0-4 CHELSEA WOMEN 09/12/2018

NEXT; #5 ARSENAL WOMEN 4-0 BRIGHTON WOMEN 29/09/2019

 

About Mark O'MEARA
I am Mark O'MEARA.

2 Responses to #4: Brighton Women 0-4 Arsenal Women 28/04/2019

  1. Pingback: #3: Brighton Women 0-4 Chelsea Women 09/12/2018 | Mark O'MEARA

  2. Pingback: #5: Arsenal Women 4-0 Brighton Women 29/09/2019 | Mark O'MEARA

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