#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

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#6: Manchester City Women 5-0 Brighton Women 15/12/2019

#6 MAN CITY WOMEN 5-0 BRIGHTON WOMEN Women’s Super League
Sunday 15th December 2019 LIVE via Red Button

MCW Intro

COMMENTATOR Vicki Sparks CO-COMMENTATOR Faye White
REPORTER Kelly Somers
12.30pm Kick Off; Academy Stadium, Manchester     12.20-2.30pm Live on BBC Red Button

MCW Fixtures  MCW Table

Context of the Match: The Women’s Super League broadcasters, BBC and BT Sport, did not like to pick matches where Brighton would be in with a shout of three points! Today was the Albion’s sixth Live match to be shown on television, with three of the previous five coming against Champions Arsenal and the latest showing was away at FA Cup holders Manchester City. Formed in 1988 as Manchester City Ladies, they spent the first ten years bumping around the North West Regional Football Leagues and then the subsequent years towards the bottom of Women’s Premier League. They didn’t gain prominence until the big shake up of English women’s football and the formation of the WSL. City missed out on a place initially in 2010 but applied again three years later, this time successfully, when the FA expanded the League into two tiers comprising a total of eighteen clubs. That was the point that Manchester City Women as we know it today really began, with a place in the top tier of the WSL for the start of 2014. A complete reform of the playing squad saw a number of England internationals flock, most notably goalkeeper Karen Bardsley, midfielder Jill Scott and captain Steph Houghton join new manager Nick Cushing. In the years since, they’ve won the League, two FA Cups and three League Cups as well as competing in Europe to become one of English women’s football’s most successful sides. Ahead of today’s game they sat in third, three points off the top. Whilst City were claiming trophies, Brighton were building to reach the point where they were here; playing as a fully professional club against the likes of City, Arsenal and Chelsea. The Albion Women’s last televised match came at the home of the Champions back in September, losing by four goals to nil. Since that afternoon, there were back to back League defeats to West Ham and Everton in a dreadful October. November began more brightly, particularly in the Continental Cup with a shoot-out victory over Arsenal the highlight. In the middle was the inaugural ‘Women’s Football Weekend’, taking place across Sunday 17th November during the international break in men’s football. Similar to the opening weekend, many WSL clubs played at men’s stadiums, with The Amex hosting Albion versus Birmingham. A sensational three-nil scoreline saw Brighton’s first WSL win of the season as Kayleigh Green’s brace and Lea Le Garrec’s first goal capped a memorable day. The Seagulls couldn’t capitalise on this momentum, going down four-nil at Manchester United and drawing two-two with Reading as a last-gasp equaliser cost Brighton all three points for the second time this campaign. There was a defeat to promoted Tottenham last week, but the progress to the knockout stages of the Continental Cup was capped off in style; beating London City Lionesses four-two on Wednesday. All this left Brighton tenth in the WSL table, two places and four points away from the sole relegation spot, and a trip to Manchester United awaited in the knockout stage of the League Cup. This afternoon’s trip to Manchester to face City was the final game in a relatively positive 2019. The BBC Red Button broadcast the match Live for some pre-Christmas football.

MCW Man City MCW Brighton

The Teams: The big team news from an Albion point of view was a change in goal, as Megan Walsh was dropped in favour of Sophie Harris. The former London Bees ‘keeper joined Brighton joined in 2018 and made her League debut against today’s opposition back in February. She went on to win the PFA Fans Player of the Month. In front of her, the familiar backline of Fliss Gibbons and Victoria Williams combined with summer signings Danique Kerkdijk and Matilde Lundorf this season. Another new face this year, French midfielder Lea Le Garrec, provided a touch of class in the middle. Aileen Whelan scored against title-chasing Chelsea back in September and opened the Brighton scoring in the recent two-all draw with Reading. Dani Bowman scored a consolation goal against Manchester City in January, during the crushing seven-one defeat in the League Cup. Left-sided winger Emily Simpkins netted in last month’s Continental Cup win at London Bees but is yet to get off the mark in the WSL. Welsh forward Kayleigh Green has five goals to her name this season, whilst Ini Umotong has four. Attacking options off the bench include Irishwoman Megan Connolly, who scored a consolation in the three-one defeat at home to West Ham. Sweden’s Amanda Nilden and England’s Maya Le Tissier also posed a threat in the final third. Missing from the squad was injured defender Fern Whelan joining long-term absentee Laura Rafferty on the sidelines.

Nick Cushing’s Manchester City side had enjoyed the luxury of picking from the cream of the England crop since their relaunch in 2013 joining the WSL. That continued here, with eight of the starting XI English. Goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck started at Sheffield United before joining City’s Development Squad as a seventeen-year-old in 2016. She made seventeen appearances last season and progressed through the ranks for the national team, making three senior England starts under Phil Neville. Steph Houghton has been the lynchpin of success, wearing the armband for both club and country and awarded an MBE in 2016. She rose to prominence during the 2012 London Olympics, scoring three crucial goals in four games for Team GB, including the decider in the match against Brazil at Wembley. Hailing from the North East she worked up the ranks at Sunderland, moved to Leeds and enjoyed three successful seasons at Arsenal in the WSL before moving to City in 2014. She’s won three WSL titles and ten Cups. Houghton has over a century of caps for England, being made captain by Mark Sampson in 2014. For a central defender, she’s scored an impressive thirteen international goals including one at each of the past two World Cups and lifted the SheBelieves Cup earlier this year. Fellow North Easterner Jill Scott has an incredible 146 England caps to her name and also played for Team GB during London 2012. Scottish midfielder Caroline Weir scored the only goal of the game in the first-ever WSL Manchester derby in September. Lauren Hemp signed a new contract earlier in the week and broke through to the England side in October for her debut cap. Up front, Ellen White shared the Golden Boot at this year’s World Cup with six goals, along with eventual winners USA’s Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe. White’s partner Georgia Stanway has become a key part of club and country, winning the 2019 PFA Women’s Young Player of the Year and scoring on her England debut a year ago. England left-back Demi Stokes, German forward Pauline Bremer and South Korean Lee Geum-min were amongst the substitutes. Refereeing this clash was Lucy Oliver.

MCW Kick Off MCW Comms MCW Somers

Presentation Team: Commentary was led by Vicki Sparks. A regular voice on the Women’s game, she also reported for BBC results service Final Score and magazine programme Football Focus. She became the first female commentator to voice a men’s World Cup match Live in 2018 when she was alongside Martin Keown for Portugal versus Morocco in the group stage. Alongside her today in the commentary box was Faye White. Born locally, in Horsham, White’s youth career was spent with Horsham Ladies, playing in the first team at the age of just fourteen. By sixteen she was called up to the national team before a career-making move to Arsenal Ladies, where she spent the rest of her career in the heart of the Gunners defence and captaining the side to glory. In seventeen years at Arsenal she made over three-hundred League appearances and lifted numerous trophies during the club’s most successful ever period. In just her second season in North London she was named the FA Women’s Player’s Player of the Year. In the same season she won the FA Cup and FA Women’s Premier League Cup to add to the Premier League National Division title from her first campaign. She would win the latter a further nine times, and all but one League title between 2000 and 2010, dominating the domestic scene before the WSL was introduced in 2010. She also lifted the inaugural Super League title in 2011. Four Community Shields, an additional eight FA Cups and five Premier League Cups were added to the collection. The trophy cabinet was completed in 2007 with the UEFA Women’s Cup, the first – and to date only – English women’s side to win the European prize. She made her England senior international debut aged nineteen in 1997 against Scotland and made a total of ninety appearances for the Lionesses, scoring twelve goals and captained them for a decade including at four major tournaments; UEFA Euros 2005 and 2009 and FIFA World Cups in 2007 and 2011. Current Albion boss Hope Powell gave White the England armband in 2002. She became a familiar presence on-screen too, in the studio for British Eurosport’s knockout stage coverage of Euro 2005 held in England, as well as at major women’s international tournaments for the BBC and domestically for Sky Sports, ESPN and BT Sport both during and after her playing career. Due to a number of serious injuries, White retired from international football in 2012 and professionally the following March. She was awarded an MBE in 2006 for her work on and off the pitch, Faye White is one of England’s all-time great women’s footballers. Completing the broadcast line-up on the touchline was Kelly Somers. Since joining the BBC in 2017 she has gone on to become a key part of the women’s coverage as well as reporting for Final Score and Football Focus. She is one of the regular presenters on The Women’s Football Show, along with Reshmin Chowdhury and Eilidh Barbour, and travelled to France to report on the Women’s World Cup 2019 in the summer. She came from a stadium presenting background, on the PA for the likes of West Ham and Surrey Storm and covered the 2018 men’s World Cup for Australian television.

MCW Brighton Arriving MCW Powell MCW Half Time Analysis MCW Coming Up

The Coverage: As always on the Red Button, Live coverage began ten minutes before the scheduled kick-off time; in this case 12.20pm. Proceedings were handled out-of-vision by the commentary team of Vicki Sparks and Faye White. With two WSL matches falling foul of the weather this weekend, there were only four League games taking place; two at 12.30pm and two at 2pm. Our trip to Manchester was the only televised game, whilst all the others were available Live on the FA Player app and website. This was introduced at the start of the campaign, allowing fans to watch any WSL match they wish to, Live and free, that isn’t already being televised. Because all matches were now being filmed with multiple cameras, replays and commentary, the BBC’s magazine programme The Women’s Football Show could show a comprehensive round-up of the weekend’s action and in an earlier 7pm slot, as well as the late night repeat after Match of the Day 2. Coverage began by looking at the surviving matches on a cold, winter’s Sunday. Leaders Arsenal and their visit to Everton being the other standout fixture. A glance at the current standings followed, where an unlikely win for the Albion would see them overtake Birmingham to go ninth with nine points. City needed the win to keep the chase on Arsenal, who held a three point advantage at the summit. The commentary team talked through shots of the two squads arriving at the Academy Stadium, adjacent to the Etihad Stadium on the campus. The other member of today’s BBC team, reporter Kelly Somers, spoke with both managers to preview the clash. City boss Nick Cushing was looking for an immediate response to their defeat against Chelsea last time out, saying it was “imperative” that they win today. “I’ve always said since I’ve been the coach here, that losing a game is disappointing but you have to make sure you win the next game after you lose.” Seagulls manager Hope Powell knew her side were in for another tough afternoon. She spoke positively of the overall achievements throughout the calendar year; “We’re in a better position this time compared to last season, so I’ve got to be pleased with that. Performances have been a little bit inconsistent; we’ve got to find that consistency going into the New Year, but generally I’m relatively happy.” Manchester City midfielder Lauren Hemp was picked out as the ‘One to Watch’ by the graphics as she warmed up. And before you knew it, it was time for the teams to emerge from the tunnel and the commentators to run through the line-ups before the big kick off.

MCW Getting to Know MCW Demi Stokes MCW Everton Arsenal MCW Player of the Match

The half time whistle blew after a very comfortable forty-five minutes for the home side. The break is when the BBC roll out a few features and VTs, with these fifteen minutes being longer than the pre-match and post-match coverage they have to fill the time. The commentators reviewed the three goals from the first period. The opener from Houghton was very tricky to save when hit with that much power from such close range. Co-commentator Faye White was impressed by the finish for the second goal; “There’s still a lot for her to do for Ellen White to get that on target, especially when it’s coming in at that pace.” Whilst the third was down to Steph Houghton’s movement and good knock down from the corner, finding Hemp for an easy nod home. They also took a look back at some of the other chances for Manchester City, who could have extended their lead on a number of occasions. The first VT of the interval featured City substitute Demi Stokes in the ‘Getting to Know’ feature. Twin sisters Rosie and Mollie Kmita interviewed the left-back whilst driving around on the golf buggy. The twins played together at Brighton when they were teenagers around 2013/14 and were most recently at West Ham. When the club went professional to join the WSL for last season they faced a choice. Rosie signed her first pro contract there and moved to London Bees for this campaign, whilst Mollie decided to go down her own route and manager a nationwide coaching academy. The pair presented radio shows for BBC 5 Live during the Women’s World Cup and were regulars during the half-time break as they interviewed stars from each WSL club to try to get an insight into the new breed of women’s footballer. Following on from that we saw first half highlights from the other 12.30pm kick-off as Everton hosted Arsenal. Commentary for the FA Player, and on this edit, was provided by Matt Davies-Adams. Goalscoring machine Vivianne Miedema’s strike separated them in the first half but the injury to Beth Mead being stretchered off was the concern for Faye White after the highlights edit. After reviewing the key moments from that half, it was time to switch focus back to the Academy Stadium for the second half of Manchester City versus Brighton. No involvement from the reporter with a special guest pundit on this occasion. After the full-time whistle, the broadcast remained on-air for around five minutes in order to wrap things up from the gantry. We got to hear from the Barclays Player of the Match, Lauren Hemp, speaking with Kelly Somers pitchside. And there we had it, Brighton’s heaviest televised defeat came at the hands of the FA Cup holders as the WSL signed off for 2019 and our commentators said their goodbyes to us for another day.

MCW Teams Emerge MCW Everyone on the goalline MCW Celebration MCW Hemp goal

Story of the Match: Brighton wore their change kit of all black against the blue of Manchester City’s shirts and white of their shorts and socks. The home team kicked off, shooting from left to right. Albion’s game plan should have been clear enough; as commentator Vicki Sparks pointed out after one minute, “It will be a tough test for Brighton. So important that they keep it tight early doors.” Ten seconds later, winger Janine Beckie struck a shot from the edge of the area to sting the palms of Brighton ‘keeper Sophie Harris. She palmed it away and it hit Matilde Lundorf to go comfortably back to the stopper and the danger passed. However, referee Lucy Oliver thought otherwise and gave an indirect free-kick some eight or so yards out for what she deemed a deliberate backpass. It was a dreadful decision from the official, there was no way that could ever be deemed an intentional pass when it just hit her leg, with no City players appealing for it and the commentator even assuming it was an offside, such was the banality of the decision. A shocker early on but a golden chance for Manchester City. Up stepped Steph Houghton, captain fantastic, who actually scored from a very similar position for England in the World Cup. That time she converted low to the bottom-right of the goal as she saw it. This time she went for power, driving it straight down the middle and under the dive of Harris and the leap of the covering defenders on the line. Manchester City were gifted a goal from the referee after just two minutes, it was going to be a very long afternoon for the Seagulls. Just before the quarter-hour mark, another goal arrived. Houghton played a nice ball wide to the right where Beckie was in space. She took one touch to control and the next to cross a fantastic ball into the middle, between defence and goalkeeper. Waiting to pounce for her opportunity was England’s summer goalscoring hero Ellen White, who executed an excellent volley into the top corner from close range. Two-nil and not much Harris could have done about that strike, the technique was terrific. Cue White’s now-familiar ‘goggles’ celebration, nicked from her favourite Bundesliga team Cologne and their striker Anthony Modeste. It was a half dominated by the blues and they added further misery to Brighton with eight minutes to go before the interval. Georgia Stanway’s corner was looped to the back post. Houghton won the header to send it back across and waiting to pounce three yards away was Lauren Hemp. She celebrated a contract extension in the week and signed it with a goal, heading home over the efforts of defender Fliss Gibbons to make it three-nil. Hemp couldn’t have asked for an easier finish. Further chances fell City’s way without adding to the scoresheet in the first period, and the half-time whistle was a relief for the Albion and a chance to regroup.

MCW Disallowed Albion goal MCW Harris save MCW Stanway goal MCW Five nil  

The second half began more brightly and more evenly. A few narrow misses from City at one end were followed by the ball in the back of the net up the other, as Ini Umotong thought she had pulled one back for Brighton. Aileen Whelan’s cross on the left was floated to that near post. City ‘keeper Ellie Roebuck hadn’t had much to do in the opening hour but had to be alert here. As she jumped to claim the cross, Umotong was up with her and the ball bounced down and over the line. As Albion players wheeled away, thinking they’d scored their first WSL goal away from home this campaign, the referee’s whistle was again to hamper them. There was a moment of confusion, as both the graphics department, the commentator and Roebuck herself believed the goal had been given. But Lucy Oliver slowly marched towards where the incident took place and awarded Manchester City the free kick for a foul. She signalled a push but replays showed that not to be the case. It was a harsh decision, the goalkeeper over-protected, as the challenge from Umotong seemed to be a fair one. Applying pressure on Roebuck, as did her own defender Gemma Bonner, the England goalie appeared to fumble and allow the ball to slip through her hands and tipped it in as it bounced down. Nevertheless, the Seagulls were denied and they remained three down. The half continued to be an open one, with Brighton looking much livelier and better organised. But the home side always looked more likely to add to their tally, posing so many dangerous threats with their wealth of talent across the field. This was emphasised with a move beginning from Roebuck and ending all the way up the other end with a one-on-one for Caroline Weir. An excellent through ball from Keira Walsh took four Albion defenders out of the game and set Weir through. Sophie Harris flew off her line to close the angle down, Weir’s shot saved by the ‘keeper and looped up and over for a corner. However, a fourth was added with eleven minutes remaining when another excellent through ball cut Brighton clean apart. This was another move starting at the back with City playing it around before Walsh, in her own half, decided to go long. Her pass through the gaps was outstanding to find Georgia Stanway in on goal. She used the pace on the ball to guide it past the outrushing Harris and give herself an empty net to tap into. It was another well-worked, clinical Manchester City goal. A fifth goal really put the icing on the cake to cap off a fantastic home display. Late substitute Pauline Bremer became the fifth different scorer when her thigh improvised to flick in from a cross with less than four minutes to play. Beckie provided the assist from the right and Bremer’s touch just looped up over Harris into the other corner of the net. Lea Le Garrec worked an opportunity on the edge of the area with the final shot of the match hoping to bring Brighton a consolation, but Roebuck watched it all the way to dive and gather. So that’s where the scoring ended, a five-star performance from Manchester City to keep them in the title race amongst the chasing pack. Brighton remained towards the foot of the table ahead of the Christmas break. The next WSL fixture for the Seagulls saw bottom club Liverpool come to Crawley. That was a much more important match in the bid to remain in this League for another season.

MCW Final Score

MANCHESTER CITY WOMEN 5 BRIGHTON WOMEN 0
Houghton, White, Hemp, Stanway, Bremer

MCW Replay

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

NEXT; #7 BRIGHTON WOMEN 0-4 ARSENAL WOMEN 12/01/2020

 

 

#5: Arsenal Women 4-0 Brighton Women 29/09/2019

#5 ARSENAL WOMEN 4-0 BRIGHTON WOMEN Women’s Super League
Sunday 29th September 2019 LIVE via Red Button

5ARS Intro

COMMENTATOR Robyn Cowen CO-COMMENTATOR Jayne Ludlow
REPORTER Kelly Somers HALF TIME Danielle Carter
12.30pm Kick Off; Meadow Park, Borehamwood     12.20-2.30pm Live on BBC Red Button

5ARS Fixtures 5ARS Table pre match 5ARS Home team arrival 5ARS Brighton arrivals

Context of the Match: The Seagulls survived their first season as a full-time professional top flight club, finishing the 2018/2019 Women’s Super League campaign in ninth spot out of the eleven clubs. Hope Powell’s side won four and drew four of their twenty League matches to give a final points tally of sixteen. Yeovil dropped down to the FA Women’s Championship, with two new teams – Manchester United and Tottenham – coming up to form a twelve club top level. Brighton’s aim was to maintain their WSL status for another year. With the increased competition from the strong promoted teams, as well as a huge gulf between the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City at the top, this would be another difficult season. The spotlight was on the Women’s game in this country following an incredibly popular World Cup in France during the summer. England’s Lionesses reached their second successive World Semi Final, losing to eventual Champions USA, and viewing figures went through the roof. The record audience was smashed four times during the tournament; culminating in a peak of 11.7 million on primetime BBC One, almost three times the record in this country pre-World Cup. It was important for the game to ride the crest of this wave to expand and improve further. Brighton reported a huge increase in season ticket sales, at a cost of just £30, hoping to attract record attendances through the Crawley turnstiles once more this campaign. On the broadcasting front, the television rights deal remained as it was last year with a Live match from each round of the WSL being broadcast on BBC via the Red Button and a further game on BT Sport. In addition, the Football Association launched their own app – the FA Player – which allowed anyone anywhere to watch every single WSL match Live and for free. It was a huge initiative and meant that, for some players, it would be the first time many of their friends and family would be able to watch their League performances in full. The BBC’s summer of Women’s sport was tag lined “Change the game”; this attempted to do just that. And financial support was provided by Barclays Bank, who became the first title sponsor of the League, now known as the FA Barclays WSL. For Brighton’s first Live televised match of the campaign, a tough trip to Champions Arsenal awaited. This was just the third match of the League season and both clubs went into it unbeaten. The Gunners defeated West Ham and Manchester United to have a 100% start, whilst the Albion drew the opener at Bristol City nil-nil and were just seconds away from beating Champions League Semi Finalists Chelsea, but for an injury time equaliser. If they could come away with something from Borehamwood here, it would be the biggest result in the Division so far, and in front of the BBC cameras.

5ARS Arsenal5ARS Brighton

The Teams: Hope Powell strengthened her Albion squad over the summer break, adding a couple of new faces to bolster the core that survived their first season as a fully professional top flight team. Goalkeeper Megan Walsh made the switch from relegated Yeovil, where she spent two years. Yeovil’s relegation followed a period of administration which hit the club dearly, forcing them to move down to the third tier after their application to join the second tier Championship was rejected; forcing a mass exodus of their star players. The twenty-four-year-old represented England at under-17, 19 and 23 level. Another new signing was young Danish full-back Matilde Lundorf. She transferred from Aarhus and previously was part of Paris Saint Germain’s youth setup. Lundorf slotted in to an established back four including Fliss Gibbons and Victoria Williams. The latter saw her penalty saved in the opening day goalless draw at Bristol City. Completing the defence was Fern Whelan, with the Seagulls missing Laura Rafferty long term due to an ACL injury picked up in training. In front of the defence sat Dani Bowman, the midfielder better known as Dani Buet. She got married in the summer, hence the name change. On the left wing, Aileen Whelan’s goal in the previous League match at home to Chelsea almost caused a huge upset before the Blues scrambled home a stoppage time equaliser. Ellie Brazil featured heavily in the previous WSL campaign, whilst Emily Simpkins was more of a fringe player. This was her first start of the League season, coming in to replace French international Lea Le Garrec; a close season recruit from Guingamp. Irishwoman Megan Connolly could play either in the middle or up top. Completing the starting XI was Welsh international Kayleigh Green. Among the options on the bench were striker Ini Umotong, who opened the scoring in this fixture last season, and defender Danique Kerkdijk. She was part of the Netherlands World Cup squad that finished as runners up in France in the summer, having signed for Brighton prior to the tournament. For Joe Montemurro’s Champion Arsenal side, six of the starting line-up were in their nation’s World Cup squads over the summer. That included the deadly Dutch duo up top of Vivianne Miedema and Danielle Van de Donk. Miedema broke the WSL record for most goals in a single season last campaign, netting a total of twenty-two in twenty League matches. She also became the Netherlands all-time top scorer in June, scoring for the sixtieth time in international competition at the age of just twenty-three. Scottish duo Kim Little and Lisa Evans provide further goals and creativity in a star-studded line up. That meant no room for England’s Beth Mead, who started as a substitute today, whilst her fellow Lioness Leah Williamson held firm in the middle of the park. The big absentee from England’s Semi Final squad was Jordan Nobbs but back in the domestic side this season after recovering from the injury which kept her out of the entire first half of 2019. French reserve ‘keeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin kept goal for the Gunners, as they waved goodbye to Dutch stopper, and goalie of the World Cup, Sari van Veenendaal after four years. Refereeing today’s contest at Boreham Wood Football Club was Elliot Swallow.

5ARS Kick Off 5ARS Comms 5ARS Presentation team

Presentation Team: Commentary was provided by Robyn Cowen and Jayne Ludlow. Cowen is one of the leading voices of women’s football in this country. She commentated on the Women’s World Cup for the BBC in France, behind Jonathan Pearce as the number two. Two years earlier, Cowen was second choice behind Steve Bower for Channel 4’s coverage of the Women’s European Championships in the Netherlands. Since 2018, along with Vicki Sparks, Cowen is one of the BBC’s regular voices on Live WSL matches and has commentated on the men’s game for Match of the Day. As of the beginning of the 2019/20 campaign, she featured more heavily on the Premier League highlights and has been a reporter for Final Score and Football Focus for four years. This is the second time commentating on an Albion Women’s match Live, having been behind the mic for the defeat to Chelsea in December 2018. Co-commentator Jayne Ludlow is the Welsh Women’s national team manager, having been in the post since 2014. The forty-year-old retired from playing in 2013 and has a year in charge of Reading before her country came calling. The former midfielder spent thirteen years at Arsenal, of which she is a supporter, and captained the side to numerous League and Cup successes. Since the BBC regularly broadcasted Live WSL matches from the start of last season, Ludlow has become an increasingly frequent member of the team. She is a pundit on magazine programme The Women’s Football Show and rotates turns in the commentary box along with Sue Smith and Laura Bassett. As with the other BBC Red Button games, the programme is handled out-of-vision by the commentary team apart from a brief couple of minutes during half time. During this period, the presenter and guest for the evening’s Women’s Football Show provide a report on the match so far. That role fell today to Kelly Somers, who doubled up as the pitchside reporter, and guest Danielle Carter. Somers previous work included matchday stadium hosting at AFC Bournemouth and cricket side Surrey Storm before climbing the ranks at the BBC. She continues to do stadium presenting for West Ham but is better known as a reporter and presenter for The Women’s Football Show on the BBC for the past two years, sharing duties with Eilidh Barbour and Reshmin Chowdhury. Somers also reported on other BBC magazine programmes Football Focus and Final Score and on radio for Talksport. Outside of the UK, she can be seen by the world on the Premier League Productions preview and Fantasy Football fan shows. Her guest Danielle Carter is a current Arsenal Women’s striker out injured with a knee problem suffered in pre-season. She’s spent her entire senior career to date at the Gunners, playing over a century of matches in ten years graduating from the Leyton Orient youth setup to the Arsenal first team. She has also represented England at every level from under-17, under-19, under-20 and under-23s as well as the senior side, netting a hat-trick on debut in an eight-nil victory in Estonia.

5ARS Powell 5ARS One to Watch 5ARS Coming Up

The Coverage: From the beginning of this season, a brand new initiative was launched by the Football Association which transformed the coverage of the women’s game in this country. The “FA Player” app made every single Super League match available Live and for free, wherever you were in the world. This was in addition to the television broadcast deal in place from last year, where Live League games were shown on BT Sport and the BBC Red Button. The FA Player meant that all other non-televised matches were available to stream Live on the app. On the back of the success of the England team reaching the Semi Final of the Women’s World Cup, and the huge audiences achieved on the BBC, the FA attempted to capitalise on the growing interest. Matches were being played in men’s first team club stadiums such as Stamford Bridge and The Etihad, with record attendance figures being smashed in the opening days of the season. The national side would be playing at Wembley in November setting a new record for ticket sales as over 80,000 people were expected. In terms of the television coverage, BT Sport continued to broadcast at least one game per matchweek. The BBC provided their magazine programme The Women’s Football Show with a new primetime Sunday 7pm slot on BBC Four and a repeat on BBC One after Match of the Day 2. Like before, one WSL match per round was moved to an earlier kick off slot for Live broadcast on the BBC website and Red Button. Coverage began ten minutes before the 12.30pm start and was introduced by the commentary team of Robyn Cowen and Jayne Ludlow. The programme began with a glance at the day’s other WSL fixtures and the current table standings before previewing our clash with Champions Arsenal. We saw shots of the two teams arriving at the ground and getting off the coach, across a rainy Meadow Park stadium, before hearing from both managers who were interviewed by Kelly Somers. Arsenal’s Joe Montemurro called it “probably the toughest game of September”, aware of Albion’s impressive draw with Chelsea last time out. Brighton boss Hope Powell was in good spirits reflecting on the first matches of the campaign; “Really pleased we’ve started well, it’s a 100% improvement on last year which is great. Today we’re under no illusions on how challenging the test will be but we’re in fighting spirit, we’re gonna give it a good go.”  She went on to stress the importance of the defence standing strong and being diligent in order to get something out of this match. Jayne Ludlow picked out Leah Williamson as the ‘One to Watch’ for Arsenal, equally adept at playing in defence or midfield. Whilst the Albion’s Dani Bowman was her choice from our squad, highlighting the midfielder’s tough tackling and links to her time at Arsenal early on in her career. After a little more chat, the teams were ready and waiting to emerge from the tunnel.

5ARS Half Time 1 5ARS Half Time 2 5ARS POTM

New for this season was the replay transition wipe sporting a BBC logo instead of the WSL crest. During the half time break, fifteen minutes of air time had to be filled and this was where the BBC’s Red Button coverage would include a couple of features and interviews. The commentary team began by analysing the best of the first half action, including the two Arsenal goals separating the teams. The pass for Kim Little’s opener and the finish from Vivianne Miedema to double the lead were particularly good. They showed how tough it was for Kayleigh Green up front on her own for the Albion, having to do a lot with little possession and support. Our first VT of half time was an interview with Manchester United Women’s captain Katie Zelem in a feature called ‘This is Me’. She spoke about how she got into the game, her earliest memories of football and her influences. She’s the skipper and big United fan but used to play for Liverpool, and the two sides met in the WSL the day before. Extended highlights of that clash were shown next, with commentary from Michael McCann. With every match streamed Live on the FA Player, it meant each one had a commentator, which would then be used during the highlights show. Goals from Lauren James and Katie Zelem secured a two-nil victory at their Leigh Sports home, their first League win of the season. Then it was time to head down to the touchline to join Kelly Somers and Danielle Carter to review the first half, who were in situ ahead of recording that evening’s Women’s Football Show links. Carter said it was as expected from Brighton, sitting in deep and trying to defend for their lives making it trickier for Arsenal to break them down. She cited the difference in the quality of players being the difference, whilst the first half stats scrawled on the bottom right hand corner of the screen confirming the home side’s dominance. Arsenal enjoyed two-thirds of the possession, had six shots to Albion’s one and both on target resulted in goals. The pair also chatted about the League in general, England Women and the other matches that weekend. They ended by updating us on the progress of Carter’s knee injury, at the very early stages of her rehab and expecting to be out for quite a while yet. With that, it was time for the second half to begin. When the match concluded, there was just three or four minutes left to wrap things up before coming off air. Barclays Player of the Match Jordan Nobbs was interviewed on pitch by Kelly Somers, as the rain continued to lash down on them. The midfielder was delighted to back playing again after a long time out, this her first home game of 2019. She summarised by saying “I think we controlled the ball very well and kept possession but we’ve seen Brighton get points and play very well against Chelsea. So I think we’ve got the three points we wanted and Joe [Montemurro] will be happy with the way we played today.” After a quick look ahead to programmes to come on the BBC, it was time to say goodbye and bring an end to another Live Seagulls broadcast.

5ARS Lining up 5ARS Little opener

Story of the Match: The Gunners got the game underway kicking from right to left in the first half. The BBC scorebar initially struggled to cope with Albion’s change kit, wearing green instead of blue, and so disappeared from screen intermittently whilst they updated the colours. On the field, Arsenal dominated the ball and it did not take long for them to break the deadlock. In just the ninth minute, Vivianne Miedema slipped the ball through the back line for Kim Little to latch on to. The Scot took one touch to set herself before slotting low past Megan Walsh from six yards. The Albion had to dig deep for much of the rest of the half, with left back Fliss Gibbons in particular earned her pay cheque and preserved the scoreline. The Seagulls were restricted to very little by way of attacking threat. Kayleigh Green’s speculative right-footed effort from twenty-five yards was about as good as it got. The shot not a problem for Payroud-Magnin ten minutes before the break. Five minutes later, Arsenal doubled their lead through some nice, neat passing. A short corner found Little on the left. She looked for Jordan Nobbs whose lovely first-time cushioned pass sat nicely for Miedema in the area. She got her shot off early, a hard drive on the left of the six-yard box which flew into the opposite corner of the net. It was a very well worked move from the Champions and they deservedly went in two-nil up at the whistle. Hope Powell brought back Lea Le Garrec to bolster the attack for the second half, replacing Emily Simpkins. The Frenchwoman immediately showed positive intentions with a long-range shot, even if the execution left a lot to be desired.

5ARS Sub 5ARS Nobbs four

However, it took just eleven minutes for a third goal to go in, this time from Danielle Van de Donk. Brighton’s Megan Connolly was dispossessed twenty yards inside her own half by Maier. In an attempt to win it back, Connolly’s challenge deflected the ball into the path of Miedema who rolled the pressure of Victoria Williams. Miedema then laid the ball on for her fellow Dutch international Van de Donk, who took one touch and finished like a natural goalscorer. Deadly from Arsenal and it was game over for sure now, if it wasn’t already. The task for the Seagulls was now to keep the score respectable. Maya Le Tissier replaced Kayleigh Green for fresh legs in the midfield. A four-goal margin was about par against these top sides last season. And four-nil it was when Jordan Nobbs added her name to the scoresheet with twenty minutes to play. Substitute Beth Mead was set free down the right of the penalty area from Little’s pass. Her cross went over everyone and to the other side of the box. The cut back was headed out to the edge of the box for Nobbs to hit it on the half-volley. Her shot squirmed through the crowd of players to deceive Megan Walsh as it went between her legs and in for four. A chance to pull one back fell the way of right-back Matilde Lundorf ten minutes from time, but she scuffed her effort wide of the target after latching onto a loose ball in the area. Back at the busier end, Beth Mead saw her effort on the edge crash against the angle of post and bar after a one-two with Nobbs. It remained four-nil to the Arsenal as the final whistle brought to an end a miserable, tough afternoon for Brighton. It was clear the Albion were still a long way off those top clubs in the Women’s Super League. Onwards and upwards from now on.

5ARS Full Time

ARSENAL WOMEN 4 BRIGHTON WOMEN 0
Little, Miedema, Van de Donk, Nobbs

5ARS Replay

PREVIOUS; #4 BRIGHTON WOMEN 0-4 ARSENAL WOMEN 28/04/2019

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

 

 

#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

 

#3: Brighton Women 0-4 Chelsea Women 09/12/2018

#3 BRIGHTON WOMEN 0-4 CHELSEA WOMEN Women’s Super League
Sunday 9th December 2018 LIVE via Red Button

Intro

COMMENTATOR Robyn Cowen CO-COMMENTATOR Sue Smith
HALF TIME Reshmin Chowdhury & Eni Aluko
2.30pm Kick Off; Broadfield Stadium, Crawley     2.20-4.30pm Live on BBC Red Button

Brighton Arrival Chelsea Arrival  One to Watch Chelsea one to watch

Context of the Match: Brighton’s final WSL match of 2018 was to be played Live in front of the BBC cameras this Sunday afternoon at the Broadfield Stadium. Having lost their only two previous Live matches, and up against an excellent Chelsea side today was set to be no different. Chelsea sat third in the League table, winning their last four fixtures and had lost just once all season. Brighton in contrast came into this game on a high after a midweek Continental Cup win over Crystal Palace Ladies 5-1. However their form in the WSL was still poor, with just one win and one draw all season. The club sat 10th in the table, above only Yeovil who would be their next fixture in the coming midweek in the Cup. Having shown encouraging signs last time televised against Arsenal, Brighton were looking to continue this against a Chelsea side who did the WSL and FA Women’s Cup double last season.

Teams Brighton Teams Chelsea

The Teams: Fresh from their excellent 5-1 win in midweek, Brighton placed goalscorers Jodie Brett, Sophie Perry and Kate Natkiel on the bench today. Fliss Gibbons was also on the scoresheet that night and kept her place in defence. Laura Rafferty continued to skipper the side as club captain Dani Buet’s return was only to the bench. Sixteen-year-old winger Maya Le Tissier made her debut last Wednesday and remained in the side today for her first League start. Ini Umotong scored last time Brighton were Live on television against Arsenal two weeks ago and partnered Ellie Brazil up front. Chelsea included England international defender Millie Bright at the back and former international Karen Carney in midfield. Ji So-Yun was the star player just behind Scottish striker Erin Cuthbert. Ballon D’Or nominee forward Fran Kirby was out injured. England’s Drew Spence and Wales’s Sophie Ingle were at the heart of the midfield for the Champions. Chelsea have used more players than anyone else in the WSL this season, with twenty-one different women so far.

Kick Off Comms Half Time4 Pre Match

Presentation Team: Commentary was provided by Robyn Cowen and Sue Smith. We’ve already seen Sue Smith covering the Albion this season when she was a pundit on our first ever televised game at home to Liverpool on BT Sport back in September. She is one of the most experienced broadcasters in the women’s game, having been a regular pundit for well over a decade. She was still playing when she first started appearing on Sky covering their limited portfolio of Women’s FA Cup Finals. Since retirement she’s appeared more and more, including this season on the men’s coverage too – featuring on Quest’s Carabao Cup and EFL highlights as well as Sky’s midweek Soccer Specials. She’s guaranteed to go to international tournaments, be it with BBC or Channel 4 who covered the Euros in 2017. Robyn Cowen has been heard on Match of the Day intermittently over the past couple of seasons, covering mainly FA Cup highlights and very occasionally Premier League. She’s a regular on the BBC’s coverage of the women’s game, with Live England matches in the SheBelieves Cup and regularly on the WSL vying with Vicki Sparks every other week. They both can also be heard on BBC Final Score. Shown during the half-time break were Reshmin Chowdhury and Eni Aluko, on hosting duties for that night’s Women’s Football Show. Chowdhury has been a regular part of BT Sport’s Champions League coverage over the past couple of seasons as a pitchside reporter across Europe, as well as hosting sports bulletins on the BBC News channel and sharing the WFS duties with Eilidh Barbour. She also hosted clashing group stage matches at the 2018 World Cup from Salford for the BBC. Eni Aluko has been providing punditry on a number of channels for the past few years, particularly around international matches for which she fell out of favour with ex-England coach Mark Sampson. Still a player currently with Juventus, she went to Euro 2016 and World Cup 2018 with ITV Sport commenting on the men’s game, and Euro 2017 on Channel 4 covering the women’s tournament.

Half Time1 Half Time2 Half Time3 Half Time5

The Coverage: Like the previous Red Button match, Live coverage of this began just under ten minutes before the kick off. Commentator Robyn Cowen introduced us to the match before kicking off with a VT rounding up the season so far with Alex Scott. We witnessed the teams arrive into the stadium before Cowen and co-commentator Sue Smith discussed the wider League and today’s match out-of-vision. They highlighted just how tough a match this would be for the Albion, like most matches this season in the top division. With this being close to the festive period, crowd shots were full of Christmas jumpers and fancy dress as we awaited the teams to arrive. Key players picked out were Ji So-Yun of Chelsea and Victoria Williams in Brighton’s defence – Williams a former teammate of Smith at Doncaster. Once again, half time was where most of the features were used, following the same structure as at Arsenal by showing some VTs that would appear on that night’s Women’s Football Show, as well as a link-up pitchside with the hosts. After the commentators running through the first half highlights, we saw a clip from the BBC Three documentary , which followed the story of 19-year-old Jack Sullivan as he ran the day-to-day setup of the West Ham Women’s team as they went full-time professionals for their inaugural WSL season. On the back of that one of their midfielders, Rosie Kmita, featured in the ‘Scroll and Stop’ item in which players talk through some of their momentous career pictures. Ahead of next summer’s Women’s World Cup there was a promotional video, which looked like it was made by the official FIFA or Host Broadcaster. This became more newsworthy due to the draw for the finals taking place the evening before this game, with England and Scotland ending up in the same group! Interviews with England manager Phil Neville and Scotland manager Shelley Kerr played out, both looking forward to the showdown in France in June. And before the teams came back for the second half we went pitchside at the Broadfield where presenter Reshmin Chowdhury was joined by Juventus and England striker Eni Aluko. They discussed the World Cup draw and the recent news that England had been awarded the Women’s Euro 2021 final tournament with venues including Brighton men’s Amex Stadium. Finally they reflected on the Ballon D’or awards which included a women’s winner for the first time; Ada Hegerberg. It was then time to hand back upstairs to Robyn Cowan and Sue Smith for the second half commentary. Coverage ended shortly after the full-time whistle, with Cowen having just enough time to point us towards highlights of all the weekend’s matches on The Women’s Football Show later that night. No interviews were broadcast during the Live coverage and only snippets were shown on the WFS so it is unclear who was asking the questions and was most likely one of Chowdhury or Cowen.

Handshakes Full Time

Story of the Match: Chelsea immediately took the game to the hosts with star striker Ji So-Yun hitting the crossbar from a shot on the edge of the box, which required Marie Hourihan to be at full-stretch to tip onto the woodwork just two minutes in. Brighton’s first opportunity came when Aileen Whelan drove forward after picking up a loose ball and firing her shot towards the top corner, forcing Lindahl to parry behind for a corner. Then in the tenth minute confusion in the defence gave Umotong a crossing opportunity met by Whelan’s head. The ball just narrowly going wide during a great spell for the Albion. Pitchside microphones could audibly pick up coach Hope Powell’s words of encouragement for her team. Chelsea hit the woodwork for a second time after 33 minutes. A long corner found its way to the near side of the area where Sophie Ingle was waiting. Her half volley clipped the crossbar on the way over, as Brighton got another warning sign despite good passages of play. Organisation was key for the Seagulls in the first period, restricting Chelsea to limited chances of quality whilst at the same time carving out a couple of opening for themselves. The sides went into the break goalless. Like with the first half, Chelsea started the second on the bright foot. Erin Cuthbert had two decent chances in the first five minutes, thwarted on both occasions by Hourihan. Brighton’s best chance fell to Ellie Brazil who struck the outside of the post from a fierce shot. It was the substitution though around the hour mark of Beth England replacing Drew Spence which increased the intensity and piled on the pressure. The deadlock was broken with twenty-five minutes to go. Karen Carney’s free kick on the near touchline was flicked goalwards by Magdalena Eriksson, her deft touch all that was required to guide the ball in the net due to the pace of the cross. Three minutes later it was two. Jo’s chip from twenty-five yards towards the back stick was met by substitute England’s head which looped up over the goalkeeper across the goal to double the lead and secure the points. Another goal almost went in just minutes after that, with Fliss Gibbons on the line heading Ingle’s header onto the bar and then away. The third did come when Ji So-Yun tapped home from ten yards out after a mistake in the Albion defence. The goalscoring was completed in stoppage time as Beth England got her second of the match with a cool first time finish in the area. And that wrapped up a big win for Chelsea. They deserved the points as they were the better team, more clinical and technically better. But it was only a domination for the final quarter of the match. Brighton once again will take plenty of positive in defeat, with Gibbons, Hourihan and Whelan in particular the Albion standouts. They were organised, disciplined and with a bit more luck and creativity going forward could have got a couple of goals for the ever-lively Ini Umotong. As it was, Chelsea controlled the pace and increased the gears later on to run away with it. Brighton remained one above the single relegation place at the halfway stage of the WSL season.

BRIGHTON WOMEN 0 CHELSEA WOMEN 4
Eriksson, England (2), Ji

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PREVIOUS; #2 ARSENAL WOMEN 4-1 BRIGHTON WOMEN 25/11/2018

NEXT; #4 BRIGHTON WOMEN 0-4 ARSENAL WOMEN 28/04/2019

#2: Arsenal Women 4-1 Brighton Women 25/11/2018

#2 ARSENAL WOMEN 4-1 BRIGHTON WOMEN Women’s Super League
Sunday 25th November 2018 LIVE via Red Button


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COMMENTATOR Vicki Sparks CO-COMMENTATOR Laura Bassett
REPORTER Anita Jones HALF TIME Eilidh Barbour & Jayne Ludlow
12.30pm Kick Off; Meadow Park, Borehamwood     12.20-2.30pm Live on BBC Red Button

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Context of the Match: Brighton’s debut season in Women’s Super League was very tough. After the first eight League games the club had won just once (at home to fellow early strugglers Yeovil) and drawn once (at the only side before today’s game yet to win – Everton). Four points from a possible twenty-four left the club in 9th place out of the eleven teams. Arsenal in contrast were having an incredible season, destroying all in their path winning eight out of eight and scoring almost forty goals! The task the Albion had on their hands, Live on television, was immense. It had to be a case of trying to keep the scoreline to a minimum, surely.


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The Teams: Brighton captain and former Arsenal midfielder Dani Buet was absent due to injury. Green and Legg bring fresh legs to the team in green. Laura Rafferty skippered the side from the heart of the defence, with Ini Umotong leading the attack up front; both players were seeking to draw inspiration from the men’s team having both been in attendance for Brighton’s draw with Leicester the day before. The Le Tissier you can see on the bench is 16-year-old Maya, who is sadly no relation of the great Matt Le Tissier but she too is from Guernsey. She’s also captained England at youth level and is one to watch for the future. For Arsenal, they made just one change from their latest win – Evans coming in at right back. England Women manager Phil Neville was in attendance, primarily to witness Beth Mead up front. Alongside her was WSL top scorer Vivianne Miedema who has an amazing thirteen goals in eight games this season. England star Jordan Nobbs suffered a serious injury in the previous match and is a long term absentee.

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Presentation Team: As this match was Live on the Red Button and BBC Sport website, conventional television forms aren’t adhered to; such as presenter and timings. The coverage began about ten minutes before the 12.30pm kick-off with commentator Vicki Sparks linking things together out-of-vision. Sparks made history in the summer by becoming the first woman to commentate at a World Cup Live on UK television when she did a couple of the group stage matches. She is the voice of the WSL on BBC, covering their Live Red Button match most Sundays. Her regular co-commentator is former England defender Laura Bassett. Bassett was part of the team that finished with the Bronze medal at the Women’s World Cup in Canada in 2015, infamously scoring an own-goal in the semi-final defeat. She was most recently registered as a player in Australia but is due to give birth in December. She’s a regular in the media covering Women’s Football, working for BBC as well as BT Sport in both WSL and England coverage, and appearing on Sky Sports this season covering the men’s game on midweek Soccer Specials. Graduate reporter Anita Jones conducted pre-match interviews with the managers. She is a new name to national football coverage, having completed the BBC Kick Off Sports Reporter scheme. In previous Live matches on the Red Button the WSL production company Whisper Films have used similar new names as reporters, most recently Mitul Samji. Their interviews were broadcast in the few minutes leading up to the kick-off.

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Anita Jones BBC

The Coverage: With no formal presentation afforded to Red Button matches, coverage began shortly before the teams emerged from the tunnel. Commentator Vicki Sparks introduced herself and co-commentator Laura Bassett out-of-vision, talking us through the League table. She then linked to the pre-match thoughts of managers Hope Powell and Joe Montemurro being interviewed by Anita Jones. The commentary team then briefly singled out a couple of key players including Brighton striker Ini Umotong over shots of them warming up. There was just time to go through the line-ups before the match kicked off. The half time break was packed with features and VTs to fill the 15 minutes. After going through the first half highlights with the commentators (again out-of-vision unfortunately!) there was then a couple of general WSL features that would also be seen on the Women’s Football Show later that night. Firstly an interview Rachel Brown-Finnis conducted with Birmingham goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger who has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Then there was a feature called Scroll and Stop with Reading and England midfielder Fara Williams in which she’d talk us through various images from her career. And lastly Ini Umotong was interviewed about her life and career so far. All three items helped show off the personalities involved so you get to know the players and raise the profile of the game, which the Women’s Football Show and coverage of the WSL does very well. It’s something the Football League highlights programmes should do more in the men’s game as outside the Premier League and to some extent the Championship, we don’t see much of the lower division teams other than their goals. Before the second half was underway, presenter Eilidh Barbour and her pundit, Wales manager Jayne Ludlow, discussed the women’s game in general. They were there to present the Women’s Football Show for that night, which is broadcast from one of the grounds each week so made sense to squeeze that little bit more from them. Once the game had finished, there was little time to wrap up the game with the commentators before coverage ended for the day. Post match interviews and analysis were shown on the aforementioned highlights show.

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Story of the Match: The final score didn’t quite reflect how much Brighton could take from this. Arsenal had a chance within the first 30 seconds of the match saved well by Hourihan and then hit the post a few minutes later, setting the expectation for many. However it was Brighton who took a surprise early lead. Last season’s top scorer Ini Umotong was through on goal after battling brilliantly to win a bouncing ball over the top and finished well to shock the Borehamwood crowd and give her her first League goal of the season. Things nearly got even better for the Albion after a quarter of the match when Wales international Kayleigh Green smashed a shot from more than twenty yards which was just tipped onto the crossbar by the goalkeeper. This proved to be crucial as Arsenal went straight up the other end to equalise from Miedema after a lapse in concentration in the Brighton backline. The ball was played back from the halfway line to Victoria Williams who allowed the ball to slip under her feet and presented Vivianne Miedema with a clear sight of goal, who rounded the keeper and tapped into the open net. The game was turned around after 33 minutes when a throw in on the far side found it’s way to Miedema by the touchline who cut the ball back for Dominique Bloodworth to fire home first time in the box. This gave Arsenal the confidence to go for it like they’re used to so far this season and scored a third goal six minutes later. Beth Mead’s corner was driven in perfectly for the head of Danielle van de Donk to nod home a few yards out almost unmarked. Brighton had done well for the opening twenty minutes or so but the third goal killed off any hope of getting any points from this in the second half and the original gameplan of keeping the defeat down to a minimum was back in play. The second half was largely even with Brighton going close with an Umotong header but the seal was put on with ten minutes remaining when Mead was allowed to curl an effort into the corner above the goalkeeper from about fifteen yards out. Phil Neville had already left by this point to get to the Reading match kicking off at 2pm but this goal would have given her even more reason to remain in the England squad ahead of the Women’s World Cup next year. For Brighton, this match was never one marked out to get anything from so the goal and a decent all-round performance is plenty to take from this in their debut WSL season. Arsenal’s 100% record continued.

ARSENAL WOMEN 4 BRIGHTON WOMEN 1
Miedema, Bloodworth, van de Donk, Mead Umotong


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PREVIOUS; #1 BRIGHTON WOMEN 0-1 LIVERPOOL WOMEN 23/09/2018

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

#1: Brighton Women 0-1 Liverpool Women 23/09/2018

#1 BRIGHTON WOMEN 0-1 LIVERPOOL WOMEN Women’s Super League
Sunday 23rd September 2018 BT 2015

Women titles

PRESENTER Natalie Quirk GUESTS Sue Smith & Kelly Smith
COMMENTATORS Adam Summerton & Lucy Ward REPORTERS Natalie Quirk & Adam Summerton
12.15pm Kick Off; Broadfield Stadium, Crawley     12-2.30pm on BT Sport 1

Women presenter  Women guest 1  Women guest 2  Women studio

Context of the Match: This was the first ever live televised Brighton Women’s match. The Albion went into the match in their debut season in the Women’s Super League, the top division, having lost their opening two league fixtures under new manager Hope Powell. Liverpool came to Crawley without a manager after Neil Redfearn resigned having taken charge of just one league match.

Women line upWomen tactics

The Teams: Last season’s player of the year Dani Buet captained Brighton, linking up with ex-England boss Hope Powell again after she gave her her 8 international caps. Striker Ellie Brazil is the daughter of former Preston & Fulham striker Gary Brazil. Jess Clarke was amongst the more familiar Liverpool players with 52 England appearances.

Women kick off Women comms

Presentation Team: BT Sport regularly cover the Women’s Super League with a match on most weekends. Their top team consists of presenter Natalie Quirk and commentators Adam Summerton and Lucy Ward. Quirk and Summerton double up as reporters. Ward has been the go-to co-commentator for the women’s game for a number of years, working on live games on BBC, Channel 4 and BT. Summerton is also BT’s National League commentator and Quirk covers Speedway and reports on various football. The guests were vastly experienced pundits Kelly and Sue Smith, so this is pretty much BT’s strongest team for this league.

Women inplay Women interview

Story of the Match: A poor game in truth with very little quality or chances, substitute Rinsola Babajide scored the only goal of the game with five minutes remaining. Gillett in the Brighton goal was caught way out of position as Babajide’s shot from the edge of the box had her scrambling in vein across her goal-line. The defeat left Brighton on three losses from three in the league and second from bottom.

BRIGHTON WOMEN 0 LIVERPOOL WOMEN 1
Babajide

Women replay

NEXT: #2 ARSENAL WOMEN 4-1 BRIGHTON WOMEN 25/11/2018

The Pre-Season Training Camp 2015

The end credits of a television programme in 2015 will whizz by without most people taking any bit of notice. Continuity announcers will talk all over them. Promos will pop up telling you what to watch next before you’ve even finished this programme. There is barely time to breathe before being force-fed your next bite of the telly pie. You are constantly ‘consuming’, whether consensual or not. This is not exclusive to the small screen, this is now our way of modern life. We are always looking at what is next.

There was a time when football was reserved for August until May and that was that. Every four summers there would be a wonderful feast called the World Cup in between seasons. Then along came a treat of a European-only competition. The gap between one campaign and the next has steadily been closing. This summer it possibly has reached its nadir. My last game of the old campaign was on Sunday 7th June. My first game of this campaign began just 26 days later. That’s only if you take into account games I’ve attended, as during those lean days there was still a whole host of live football broadcast including the UEFA Under-21 tournament which England crashed out in the group stages, the Under-20 tournament in Toulon, and the Women’s World Cup in Canada. I enjoy the women’s game, I make no qualms about that. I went to the Cup final in 2011 in Coventry and regularly tune into the WSL on BT Sport. England achieved the unthinkable; performing well at a major tournament. Mark Sampson and his Lionessses went all the way to the semi final, losing agonizingly in the last minute through Laura Bassett’s unfortunate own goal. They went on to beat Germany in the Third Place Play-Off And secure a fantastic bronze medal and become overnight stars. It somewhat captured the nations attention, mainly through hard work, teamwork and a terrific ethic. It was a joy to watch.

#1 West Ham v FC Lusitans

My 2015/2016 season began in East London on Thursday 2nd July with a Europa League 1st round 1st leg qualifier. West Ham beat FC Lusitans 3-0. The Hammers qualified for this through the Fair Play league so understandably have the hardest path through to the proper competition. They would ultimately crash out in the third qualifying round before the league season had even started. When I was there there was pretty much a full house. It showed a great appetite for European football, indeed summer football. I had a seat at the very back with a great view of the Bobby Moore stand to my right and a lovely skyline to my left. This is the final season at Upton Park before moving to the Olympic Stadium so I wanted to revisit this old ground one more time.

#2 Arsenal v Liverpool Ladies

Ten days later I was back with further live football. With the Women’s World Cup done and dusted a few days earlier, and the heroics of England still fresh in people’s minds, I went along to Borehamwood to see Arsenal v Liverpool. Some of the national stars were in action, including Alex Scott and Fara Williams. The crowd was more than double the average attendance, and this was replicated across the country. The ground is easy enough to get to, having been in the area before for TV recordings of Room 101 and A League of Their Own. The ground is a short 10 minute walk from the station and easily accessible on a warm Sunday summer evening. The match itself was nothing to write home about, with Liverpool winning 2-1 to go top of the table. It was surprising that it had taken me this long to attend a women’s league match but I was glad I had and have pencilled in another here for next month.

The BrewDog pub

Despite the off-season becoming increasingly shorter, games are still not quite thick and fast so my final match in July came two weeks later on Sunday 26th July in Scotland. Aberdeen, to be precise, as Brighton played in a testimonial match for the home side goalkeeper Jamie Langfield. I’d never heard of him either but a new ground and an exciting trip was too good to turn down. Myself, Ciaran, Dean and Mark Raven (all now regulars on the England away trips) got a taxi in the early hours of the morning up to Gatwick to board the easyJet flight to Aberdeen and arrive nice and safe for just after 9am. We were inside the Wetherspoon for breakfast for half nine but were met with gasps when we were told they didn’t serve any alcohol until 11am! After a quick food break we, alongside several members of the famous GDC who arrived at similar times, were off on a pub crawl round many fine local pubs including the famous BrewDog.

#3 Aberdeen v Brighton

The game was a drab, dull one-nil defeat with nothing to write home about despite me doing that very thing now. It was an extremely cold and windy day and being on the coast amplified this. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a colder ground than that, with the wind swirling in off the North Sea through the big gaps between the stands. Of course on reflection it was a fantastic one to tick off but at the time the game was getting in the way of a very nice day round the city. The trip was made all the more adventurous when we arrived at the airport as our 9.05pm flight home was delayed by a couple of hours. They kept the airport bar open to serve us dinner and further drinks and we also managed to grab a quick word with Albion boss Chris Hughton, as the squad were also flying home that night. Sensibly they were on a different flight to us so we waved them goodbye without controversy. Although assistant manager Nathan Jones did have to suffer the embarrassment of a full bag search.

Albion boss Chris Hughton

After landing around half-past midnight we then had a long wait to get a bus across form one side of the airport to the other, before heading onto the train home. Ciaran and the others headed down south, I went back up to London. I made it home to Ealing via a night bus just after 4am. It was a long, tiring, drunk day but a fantastic experience to really whet the appetite ahead of the rapidly-approaching new season.

Waiting for our delayed plane

Summer wouldn’t be summer without a quick glance round some other sports. I’ve tried several times to replicate what I go through during football with something else but ultimately nothing can replace it. Darts is probably my second favourite sport, closely followed by athletics, cricket and rugby. Honorary mentions for snooker, pool, boxing and the occasional tennis match too. Next summer there is the Olympics, of which I adore. Ahead of that I went to the British Championship Athletics in Birmingham for my first trip to the Alexander Stadium. It’s a fine venue and very easy to get to via a bus from the New Street train station. The days was beautiful, the crowd was enthusiastic and the overall experience was a very good one for my first UK Athletics meet.

Birmingham’s Alexander athletics Stadium

I then attended the Anniversary Games and Diamond League meeting at the Olympic Stadium for my first visit back there since my Gamesmaker stint during London 2012. I do love that place. Usain Bolt, Jessica Ennis Hill and Mo Farah were all in action despite a horrible downpour for much of the afternoon and early part of the night. The two men both won their races and showed why they are so loved in a London. It’s still a bit of a nightmare to get away from the stadium but it will forever hold such incredible memories that I’ll overlook that aspect.

Back at the centre of the London 2012 Olympics

With The Ashes currently moving towards its climax, and with England going great guns, I decided to go back to live cricket. I made my first venture to The Oval where Surrey destroyed Northants in a One Day Cup match. I made the mistake of not bringing much cash so I had to forego the expensive beer and food for just a solitary burger all day. I also booked a trip to Edgbaston for the fourth day of the third test. However, England had such an incredible time the match finished on day three so I was left with just a refund rather than a great day out! I don’t think anybody could’ve predicted that.

A small crowd at The Oval, Surrey

My summer break from football incorporated going to cricket and athletics, as well as being glued to an excellent Tour De France (and outstanding coverage on itv4 from Gary Imlach and Ned Boulting) on TV, but the focus was always on football. Signings, transfers, fixtures, new shirts; it ultimately never really stops. The new season is nearly upon us and we’re opening the show live on Sky on the Friday night against Forest. It’s high time we started booking these trips and planning these weekends. I barely had time to read through the name credits of the editor and production assistant before the executive producer and Roman numeric year info appeared. The next programme is just days away now.