Manchester City Women 0, Brighton and Hove Albion Women 0
Manchester City were kept at bay following goalkeeping heroics by Brighton goalkeeper Megan Walsh who saved chances from Ellen White, Chloe Kelly, and Georgia Stanway as the visitors frustrated City.
Brighton ended their six game WSL losing streak away from home but might have unjustly escaped with the point after a lack of goal line technology to check a first half goal shout for City as Walsh saved from Ellen White – one of only 4 on target from 17 shots for City – which at first glance appeared to have gone over the line.
City lost the ball far too much and showed a lack of composure in front of goal against a Brighton side who had backed themselves to get a result against them and were prepared to put their bodies on the line for it.
CIty boss Gareth Taylor hadn’t seen the incident which might have denied City all three points today.
Taylor summed it up, saying: “Performance up till the final third was good. The final part let us down.
“We have to give the opposition some credit. We know the capabilities of the players that we have.
“Sometimes the anxiety kicks in a bit the longer it goes on. The girls will learn from that.
Although USNWT midfielder Rose Lavelle was out of quarantine and training with the squad, she was not selected in the match day squad for this game.
Taylor said his team would only improve the more time they spent together after admitting that they were catching up after the late arrival of some players.
He said: “Some of our players were elsewhere fulfilling commitments with other teams.
“We will improve the more we are together.”
Lucy Bronze and Alex Greenwood added to Man City starting side but Megan Walsh helps rescues a point for Brighton and Hove Albion
City made three changes to the side that beat Aston Villa last weekend.
New signings Lucy Bronze and Alex Greenwood replaced Esme Morgan and Demi Stokes while Laura Coombes came in for Caroline Weir in midfield.
All three players were making their first appearances of the season with Greenwood making her debut.
City’s new full backs were busy in the opening stages and Steph Houghton’s free kick was palmed away by Megan Walsh after four minutes in a sign of things to come.
Stanway was sent clear by Coombs but sent her shot wide.
Danielle Bowman went close for the visitors but City’s new look defence, despite some early wobbles, remained unbeaten.
There was clearly an element of rustiness in City’s play as they struggled to create further clear chances against the visitors and were more likely to lose the ball.
Walsh’s heroics saved her side from conceding an early goal – although without goal line technology a Chloe Kelly effort that was clawed away by the Brighton custodian might have been pushed out from behind the goal line.
Walsh denied Ellen White and blocked a shot by Stanway after she had been put through by Bronze.
White saw her shot go wide early after the break as City struggled to break the deadlock with balls into the box from the flanks.
Janine Beckie was introduced after 63 minutes for White to add some more width to City’s front line while Brighton responded by bringing on Nora Heroum for Inessa Kaagman.
Maya Le Tissier had earlier almost caught out Ellie Roebuck as City continued to struggle and Aileen Whelan found Rianna Jarrett but the forward could not escape Houghton as she tried to break clear.
Sam Mewis’ cut back was cut out by more heroic defending by Victoria Williams who appeared to wipe out Beckie as she shaped to meet it.
Mewis was replaced by Jill Scott while Caroline Weir came on for Laura Coombs as a last roll of the dice.
And Weir found Kelly whose effort was straight at Walsh as it began to seem that luck was evading them.
Brighton won a free kick of the edge of the D with 5 minutes to go, but Bowman put the set piece just wide of the left hand post.
Half time sub Denise O’Sullivan could have won it for Brighton with 2 minutes to go but her shot was easily saved by Roebuck while Stanway’s injury time shot whistled wide of the back post while Houghton’s 30 yard rocket summed up City’s day by firing well over the bar.
MATCH STATS – Manchester City Women 0, Brighton and Hove Albion Women 0
Man City Women: Roebuck, Bronze, Houghton, Bonner, Greenwood, Coombs (Weir 76), Walsh, Mewis (Scott 76), Kelly, White (Beckie 63), Stanway
Man City Women Subs not used: Bardsley, Benameur Taieb, Stokes, Morgan, Park
Brighton and Hove Albion Women: Walsh, Le Tissier, Kerkdijk, Stott, Williams (Barton 78), Connolly (O’Sullivan 46), Bowman, Whelan, Kaagman (Heroum 67), Jarrett, Green
Brighton and Hove Albion Women Subs not used: Fiskerstrand, Gibbons, Simpkins, Robinson
Referee: Helen Conley