#7: Brighton Women 0-4 Arsenal Women 12/01/2020

#7 BRIGHTON WOMEN 0-4 ARSENAL WOMEN Women’s Super League
Sunday 12th January 2020 LIVE via Red Button

ARSW Intro

COMMENTATOR Vicki Sparks CO-COMMENTATOR Gemma Fay
REPORTER Patrick Austen-Hardy HALF TIME Eilidh Barbour & Jayne Ludlow
12.30pm Kick Off; People’s Pension Stadium, Crawley     12.20-2.30pm Live on BBC Red Button

ARSW Table ARSW Arrivals ARSW Arsenal arrivals

Context of the Match: Since Brighton’s last Live televised appearance, the five-nil loss at high-flying Manchester City in December, just one match had been played since the Christmas break. Last week, Brighton secured their second Women’s Super League victory of the season in an absolutely crucial game with Liverpool. Midfielder Aileen Whelan nabbed the solitary goal as Albion ran out one-nil winners, turning the ball home from close range following Lea Le Garrec’s cushioned header back. The victory put Brighton on nine points from ten games into ninth place but, more importantly, created a six-point gap between them and bottom of the table Liverpool. With only one team relegated again this season, this was a big opening as we entered the second half of the campaign today against table-topping Arsenal. The Gunners led the way, and would go back to being three points clear of Manchester City with a win today, as City played a day earlier to level things up in terms of points, goal difference and goals scored! Brighton did record a victory, of sorts, over Arsenal back in November in the Continental Cup group stages. After drawing nil-nil, to decide the match winner and a bonus point, the format of the competition meant a penalty shoot-out followed. Albion’s Kirsty Barton stepped up first but fired wide. Goalkeeper Sophie Harris kept it level when saving Arsenal’s first penalty from Kim Little. Kayleigh Green then converted to give Albion the lead in the shoot-out. Kirsty McCabe equalised before Maya Le Tissier restored the Brighton advantage. England striker Beth Mead blazed her kick over the bar and Dani Bowman converted to extend the Brighton lead to three-one. Danielle van de Donk squeezed the ball into the corner to pull one back but Lea Le Garrec scored the fifth and final penalty to secure the bonus point for Brighton, winning the shoot-out four-two. Brighton enjoyed more success in this competition than they had enjoyed so far in the WSL. A three-nil victory at Charlton kicked off the competition, with two goals from Kayleigh Green and one from Ini Umotong. A defeat at home to Bristol City hampered progress but after the Arsenal shoot-out win, the group concluded with back to back wins in the capital ensured progress to the knockout rounds where they were handed a difficult trip to Manchester United. Those two victories were high scoring ones; beating London Bees five-nil with five different scorers. Amanda Nilden, Victoria Williams, Emily Simpkins, Ini Umotong and Kate Natkiel all got in on the act. The final group game was a four-two win at London City Lionesses, where Matilde Lundorf, Umotong again, Emily Simpkins and an own goal secured progress. Looking ahead, the Women’s FA Cup draw had been made during the week. Brighton were handed a trip to Aston Villa for their Fourth Round last-32 tie. Villa were unbeaten and top of the second-tier Championship and a chance to test themselves against another in-form side. The WSL though was a whole different prospect but the Seagulls could go into today’s televised clash with Champions Arsenal with a bit more belief than before. The BBC cameras were present in Crawley to showcase the Albion Women Live on the Red Button.

ARSW Brighton ARSW Arsenal

The Teams: Hope Powell handed new deals to two of Albion’s women this week; goalkeeper Megan Walsh and midfielder Maya Le Tissier, her first professional contract. Whilst the former started here, the latter missed out. Walsh’s place was perhaps under threat after the club signed Norway international ‘keeper Cecille Fiskerstrand, with three now competing for the starting place. Defender Fliss Gibbons was an automatic starter. Returning to the starting XI as one of two changes was Victoria Williams. Prior to joining the Albion in 2018, Williams played for the Great Britain university football team win a gold medal in the 2013 Summer Universiade in Russia. Brighton’s longest serving player, Kirsty Barton, returned to the starting XI. Barton joined from Chelsea in 2011, making over 150 appearances for the Seagulls on the rise from the third tier to the top. Midfielder Emily Simpkins was featuring in her second season at the club, having joined from the now defunct Doncaster Rovers Belles and becoming their first player to be given a professional contract back in 2015. The other change from the Liverpool victory saw twenty-one-year-old Amanda Nilden come in for Kate Natkiel. Nilden represented Sweden at under 17, U19 and U23 level. Whilst Lea Le Garrec worked her way up the French youth levels, including winning the under-19 European Championships in 2010, before earning a senior international cap seven years later. Welsh striker Kayleigh Green’s two goals and one assist have been invaluable in Albion’s few wins this campaign. Before Brighton, Green played in the UEFA Women’s Champions League for Cardiff and played for Italian Serie B side Chieti. Goalscoring prowess on the bench included the only woman to score in a Live televised Brighton match, Ini Umotong, as well as Irish striker Megan Connolly and Kate Natkiel, who began her career in the Arsenal under-10s before progressing through the age groups.

Arsenal boss Joe Montemurro opted for a three-four-three formation. Their star player is the sensational striker Vivianne Miedema, who has fourteen goals and eight assists to her name in the WSL this campaign thus far. Centre-back and captain Leah Williamson came up through Arsenal’s youth ranks and represented England at under-15, U17, U19, U20 and U23 level before making her senior debut in the World Cup 2019 qualifier in Russia back in 2018. Her first goal for her country came last November, a late winner in a three-two result against the Czech Republic. Alongside her in defence for Arsenal was Republic of Ireland international Louise Quinn, who joined in 2017 and signed a new contract ahead of this season. Manuela Zinsberger returned to the first team in goal. In midfield, Jordan Nobbs, Kim Little and Danielle van de Donk all netted in the reverse fixture in September as Arsenal ran out four-nil winners against the Albion for the third League match in succession. The trio all started again here. Dutch international Jill Roord joined in May ahead of the Women’s World Cup, where she scored the only goal in the Netherlands win over New Zealand. Switzerland’s Lia Walti completed the quintet across the middle. Amongst the options on the sidelines were England striker Beth Mead, who scored the goal of the season when the sides last met in Sussex in the WSL back in April, and German defender Leonie Maier who joined for this season. The referee in charge was Kirsty Dowle.

ARSW Kick Off ARSW Comms ARSW Barbour and Ludlow

Presentation Team: Vicki Sparks led the BBC Red Button commentary, voicing her third Albion Women’s match Live and the second time it’s been against Arsenal. She combined her WSL schedule with reports for Final Score and Premier League and FA Cup commentaries for Match of the Day. Alongside her in Crawley was the former Scotland goalkeeper Gemma Fay. She retired in 2017 having been capped by Scotland a phenomenal two-hundred-and-three times over nineteen years, a record high for any British footballer. Fay captained the National side from 2009 and was earmarked for a place in Team GB’s 2012 Olympic squad, missing out behind Karen Bardsley and Rachel Brown-Finnis. She did make it to the 2017 European Championships in the Netherlands. Fay’s club career began in her native Scotland with St Johnstone, Aberdeen and Ayr before moving down to England. At the age of twenty-one, she joined Brighton Women for the 2002/03 season before returning North to Hibernian. Seven years were spent at Celtic Ladies, during which time she also turned her hand to acting for the lead role in one-off Sky drama Rubenesque. Since retirement she expanded on her media appearances, travelling to France for the Women’s World Cup coverage with the BBC in 2019 where she was a key member of the punditry team providing a Scottish angle. Reporting on the touchline was Patrick Austen-Hardy. A new name to this website and to televised sports broadcasting, Austen-Hardy was employed by production company Whisper for today’s match and others over the previous eighteen months, as it’s Whisper who dispatch the WSL Live match reporters. His previous work showcases a lot of written articles for a variety of online publications such as La Liga News and Ronnie Dog Media. As of this season he worked as Swindon Town’s media assistant and contributed to Southampton Solent University’s website, where he was completing his education. Present at pitchside in situ for The Women’s Football Show later in the evening were host Eilidh Barbour and pundit Jayne Ludlow. The pair also contributed to the half-time discussion. Barbour was one of the regular rotating hosts of the show and combined that with other BBC Sport work across football and golf, and was Sky’s Scottish football presenter this year, maternity cover for Hayley McQueen. Jayne Ludlow was a regular contributor to the BBC’s WSL coverage, both as a guest or co-commentating. The Wales manager previously called Brighton’s Live WSL clash at Arsenal, the reverse of today’s fixture back in September.

ARSW Fixtures ARSW Powell ARSW One to Watch ARSW One to Watch Arsenal

The Coverage: The second weekend of the new decade saw the second round of the Women’s Super League take place after the pause for the Christmas period. Ten minutes before the scheduled 12.30pm kick off, the BBC Red Button coverage came on-air. Commentator Vicki Sparks handled proceedings out-of-vision. She introduced the day’s fixtures with the featured match being in Crawley as the Champions came to town. One match had already taken place the day before, Live on BT Sport, as challengers Manchester City kept up the pace with Arsenal by defeating Everton by three goals to one. Elsewhere, a waterlogged pitch put pay to Liverpool versus Manchester United but still going ahead after the Albion’s match would be a London derby between Tottenham and West Ham, Reading faced Birmingham whilst the other hopefuls in the title race, Chelsea, hosted Bristol City. A look at the table saw how close things were at the top of the table, with Arsenal only top because of alphabetical order over Manchester City – with everything else level but Arsenal had played a game less. Shots of the two teams arriving into the People’s Pension Stadium in Sussex followed, getting off the team bus and into the reception area. We heard from both bosses ahead of kick off, speaking with our reporter Patrick Austen-Hardy. Brighton manager Hope Powell said the result from the previous Cup match against Arsenal would give confidence despite it being just a memory now; “It was a long time ago but we have to take heart from that. Obviously a really good performance from us, more importantly to win the game – albeit on penalties.” Arsenal’s Joe Montemurro spent a couple of weeks away from the squad to return to his native Australia last month but was back ready to take the team again as the season hotted up. With the news that Manchester City were losing their coach Nick Cushing to America next month, it was important to keep focus on the task ahead. “Every game’s got its own particular situation,” he said, “we don’t really look at what other teams are doing, we look at how we can improve and how we can be the best we can be.” Sparks introduced us to former Albion goalkeeper and Scotland’s record appearance holder, co-commentator Gemma Fay. They pair focussed on a couple of players to watch out for, starting with the current Brighton goalie Megan Walsh who was celebrating a contract extension this week. Fay said of Walsh, “She’s started, I think, all but one game and as a goalkeeper to be midway through a season, having just arrived at a club and to be offered that contract extension must give her great confidence.” Unsurprisingly the Arsenal one to watch was of course the WSL’s record scorer Vivianne Miedema. And with that, the teams were ready in the tunnel for kick off.

ARSW Half Time 1 ARSW Half Time 2 ARSW Half Time 3 ARSW Half Time 4

As usual with these broadcasts, the half time break is the most feature filled. The interval began with the commentary team looking back at the goals and key chances from the first half, in which Arsenal led by two goals to nil. Co-commentator Gemma Fay focussed on praising the attacking play for the goal, calling the first “a delightful finish”, but more critical of Brighton’s left side for the second as Williamson had time and space to pick a pass, likewise van de Donk for the shot. Next, we saw highlights from the only WSL game played on Saturday, as Manchester City defeated Everton. The game was Live on BT Sport and their commentary team of Adam Summerton and Lucy Ward voiced the best bits at the Academy Stadium. A regular half time feature this season on the BBC coverage has been the ‘Getting to Know’ segment, where each club had a player interviewed by twins Rosie and Molly Kmita. The chat took place on a golf buggy, for some reason, but allowed for a more casual environment. This time, West Ham’s Adriana Leon was the player involved. The Canadian international joined the Hammers a year ago. Supporting her fellow countryman, Leon revealed she was a fan of Justin Bieber. Shame. The final part of the half time break saw us head down pitchside to link up with the team fronting the evening’s highlights on The Women’s Football Show; Eilidh Barbour and Jayne Ludlow. Speaking from a tactical perspective, the former Arsenal woman noticed two key points; the use of Leah Williamson on the right almost acting as a right-winger at times, and the early switching of the play over to the left to utilise Danielle van de Donk. She emphasised the collectiveness this Arsenal group have; “There’s a team ethic that runs through this team whether they’ve got the ball or whether they haven’t got the ball, they work extremely hard for each other.” They also picked up on the slightly bobbly conditions of the Crawley pitch, with big soil divots dotted around the surface. After the match there was just enough time for Eilidh Barbour to grab a quick word with Gemma Fay’s Player of the Match; Leah Williamson. The Arsenal and England defender was involved in assisting the goals and put in a terrific shift. With a further reminder pushing us towards the magazine show later on in the evening, it was time for Vicki Sparks to wrap the broadcast up as, once again, Arsenal defeated the Albion on the telly.

ARSW Teams ARSW Opening goal ARSW Second goal

Story of the Match: Brighton’s Lea Le Garrec got the game underway, with the Seagulls kicking from left to right in the first half in the familiar stripes of blue and white. Arsenal wore their change kit of yellow shirts and socks with blue shorts. Brighton would have been aware of Arsenal’s ability to fly out of the blocks and score early, having inflicted that on the Albion in previous meetings. So, it was a disappointing start to the game when the deadlock was broken just three minutes in. Having just tried a crossfield ball from right to left in a bid to set van de Donk free moments earlier by Jordan Nobbs, this time Leah Williamson measured the skill to perfection. Her pass from effectively the right centre-back position sailed over the head of Albion full-back Kirsty Barton to set van de Donk in behind. She took three touches to drive into the box and showed terrific strength to outmuscle Barton as she attempted to track back. As she approached the six-yard line, the Dutch midfielder stroked the ball past Megan Walsh’s near post to strike an early blow. The finish described as “cool” by commentator Vicki Sparks, whilst summariser Gemma Fay believed Brighton allowed it to be a bit too easy for Arsenal. Williamson was enjoying a lot of freedom down the right-hand side, charging up and down the touchline for both defensive and attacking duties. The next chance came as a result of another marauding run from the English defender. Her pass down the line allowed Lisa Evans to get forward to cross into the danger area. Jordan Nobbs completely missed her kick but the ball fell to Jill Roord behind her just inside the box. She took a touch to steady it before trying to curl round the defence. Dani Kerkdijk’s foot deflected the shot up and Walsh had to scramble around on the line to collect under pressure from Miedema. After the half hour mark it was to be two-nil, this time Roord wasn’t to be denied. Again, it was Williamson who provided the assist, receiving the ball out wide and delivering the perfect pass between the two central defenders and into the area where Roord found space. Her finish gave Walsh no chance, just guiding the ball into the other corner of the net as it bounced up nicely for the hit. The Albion defence weren’t close enough to her and paid the price. Arsenal’s quick play and switching from one flank to the other caused all sorts of problems for Brighton, almost resulting in a third from Nobbs, instead landing just the other side of the post. However, there was one decent opportunity for the home side which arrived as we approached the break. Aileen Whelan played a fantastic through ball to cut out three Arsenal defenders and find Emily Simpkins. Her first touch just took it a little wide and struggled to get the ball out of her feet. As a result, she had to take the shot a little off balance and with the covering defender now back in position the effort ended up wide of the target. Just a one-off or something of a warning sign that the Seagulls weren’t out of it just yet? The first half drew to a close with the scoreline at nil-two.

ARSW Third Goal ARSW Fourth goal ARSW Player of the Match

Into the second half, it didn’t take Arsenal long to extend that lead further after some very neat interchanges over on the far side. Just six minutes in, Jordan Nobbs netted to make it three-nil. Leah Williamson spread the play from the centre to the left where it soon found Danielle van de Donk. Her low ball into the mixer was expertly dummied by Miedema to allow Nobbs to run onto it. She only needed a touch with the right then a shot with the left to slot the ball home and seal the three points. Gemma Fay on commentary was wowed by the passing play from the Gunners in the build-up. With this the first of three games for the visitors in around a week, substitutions were made to keep the legs fresh. England’s Beth Mead was brought on for Kim Little and the striker didn’t waste her opportunity when it was presented. Lia Walti’s ball forward seemed neither a cross nor shot and should have been a routine take for goalkeeper Megan Walsh. However, the bounce just in front of her made it that little bit more difficult and she spilled the ball at the feet of another substitute, Leonie Maier. In a desperate attempt to regain the ball, Walsh dived out and brought Maier down, who was first to the loose ball. If it hadn’t fallen to an Arsenal woman, referee Kirsty Dowle would have pointed to the spot. Alas, there was no need as Beth Mead firmly struck the ball into the open net to round things off in the final minute. The three previous meetings in the Women’s Super League had all finished four-nil to Arsenal. An unusually goal quiet Vivianne Miedema tried to break that sequence to add a fifth in stoppage time but her lob over the onrushing Walsh from the edge of the box landed just over. So, it was to be a fourth successive four-nil League victory for the Champions. Brighton disappointingly didn’t muster a shot on target in the ninety minutes and lacked the pace and level of quality that Arsenal brought to the game from the off. They restored their three-point cushion at the top of the table, whilst Brighton knew their biggest result was actually the week before by widening the gap between themselves and the foot of the table to six points. It wouldn’t be a comfortable end to the season just yet, but the hard yards would be fought against the teams around them rather than the elite few such as today’s opposition.

ARSW Full Time.JPG

BRIGHTON WOMEN 0 ARSENAL WOMEN 4
van de Donk, Roord, Nobbs, Mead

ARSW Replay

PREVIOUS; #6 MANCHESTER CITY WOMEN 5-0 BRIGHTON WOMEN 15/12/2019

NEXT; #8

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

One Response to #7: Brighton Women 0-4 Arsenal Women 12/01/2020

  1. Pingback: #6: Manchester City Women 5-0 Brighton Women 15/12/2019 | Mark O'MEARA

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