'Just look at that scoreboard' - Hope Powell's delight as Brighton thrash Birmingham in WSL
Albion maintained their perfect start to the new WSL season and sent a message to their rivals with a dominant 5-0 win at Birmingham City.
Hope Powell’s side backed up their 2-0 triumph over West Ham United on the opening weekend with another impressive display as five different scorers struck at St Andrew’s.
Victoria Williams and Inessa Kaagman put the visitors two goals up at the break before Danielle Carter, Emma Koivisto and Kayleigh Green completed the comprehensive victory.
Brighton manager Hope Powell said: “I think we controlled the game quite well. I think at times they made it easy for us by dropping off a bit too much, giving us too much room.
“But we moved the ball well, we tried to shift them around the pitch and tire them out, open up some space to allow us to go forward and I thought at times we managed to do that okay.
“It’s great [to have five different scorers]. First of all it’s great to see Danielle Carter on the scoresheet as one of her ambitions coming to the club was about scoring goals.
“I think the five goals was the most pleasing thing. We have been on the end of a 5-0 drubbing and trust me it’s not nice so at the end I did say to the girls, ‘just look at that scoreboard’.
“That’s a first for us and that was nice. The fact that we didn’t concede as well, we tried to maintain standards. We got a little bit rattled but overall we were quite professional.”
It took only 90 seconds for Brighton to open the scoring as Scott Booth’s hosts experienced the worst possible start to their first home game of the new Barclays FA WSL season.
Emily Ramsey was unable to deal with an in-swinging corner from Emily Simpkins and Williams pounced to volley into the net from close range to put Brighton ahead.
But despite suffering an early sucker punch, Birmingham quickly regrouped and gradually grew into the contest as they began to put pressure on the visitors’ defence.
Sarah Ewens tested Megan Walsh with a fierce shot before a Brighton back pass presented an indirect free kick, only for the wall to do its job and see off the danger.
Brighton remained threatening every time they attacked and Carter came close to doubling the visitors’ lead on the cusp of half-time, with her powerful shot saved by Ramsey.
And Birmingham suffered a hammer blow in the final seconds of the half as Kaagman struck from the penalty spot for the second time in as many weeks after Harriet Scott fouled Aileen Whelan.
The result was put beyond doubt shortly after the restart as Carter opened her scoring account for Brighton in spectacular style, slotting past Ramsey after a weaving run into the box.
A fourth goal arrived just eight minutes later as Carter linked up with Kaagman, who darted down the left touchline before lifting a ball into the box for Koivisto to head home.
But the best goal of the game was saved until last. Green ran onto a superb ball over the top from Simpkins and lobbed the onrushing Ramsey to put the icing on the Brighton cake.
Birmingham refused to give up and created a few chances in the closing minutes but they were unable to find a late consolation as Brighton made it back-to-back clean sheets.
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Birmingham City manager Scott Booth said: “We lost some really bad goals from our perspective. Obviously, Emily [Ramsey] makes a mistake for the first goal and we lose that so quickly at the start of the game, maybe a minute or two minutes.
“That gets you off to a bad start and then we lose the next goal just prior to half-time which is a bad time to lose a goal so it changes the team talk and we we need to do in the second half.
“We knew by coming out a little but more, throwing bodies forward a bit more, we were going to have the potential to lose a goal the other end and that was exactly what happened.
“I think the three goals in the second half were while we were in possession higher up the park and they take the ball off us on the counter attack and they score from it.
“They were poor goals and if you lose poor goals at this level then you don’t give yourself a chance. It’s never easy when you lose like that, by that amount of goals and you don’t score.
Brighton & Hove Albion: (4-3-3): Megan Walsh; Emma Koivisto, Danique Kerkdijk, Maya Le Tissier, Victoria Williams; Aileen Whelan, Kayleigh Green, Emily Simpkins; Inessa Kaagman, Danielle Carter, Lee Geum-min
Substitutes: Felicity Gibbons for Kerkdijk 46’, Rinsola Babajide for Kaagman 64, Katie Robinson for Carter 64’, Maisie Symonds for Green 75’, Ellie Brazil for Lee 76’
Substitutes not used: Fran Stenson, Danielle Bowman, Megan Connolly, Juliet Adebowale Arimoro
Goals: Williams 2’, Kaagman 45+1’, Carter 50’, Koivisto 58’, Green 70’
Bookings: Symonds 79’
Referee: Lucy May