Man City Women will travel to the Broadfield Stadium, home of Crawley Town FC to face the second new addition to the WSL, in Hope Powell’s Brighton & Hove Albion. Nick Cushing’s side have faced the former England and Team GB manager’s side only once, playing them in the FA Cup last season and coming out 2-0 winners.
Brighton were awarded a first tier licence during the FA’s reconstruction of the women’s football pyramid but have been playing as Brighton and Hove Albion since 1990, when as C&C Sports, they became affiliated with the Premier League club.
The club played in the second tier of women’s football, the FA Premier League Southern Division and in 1995 they won the inaugural Sussex Women’s Cup, a competition they would go on to win 17 times. The team had a short time playing in the top tier before they were relegated back down to the lower tiers of the women’s football pyramid.
An unsuccessful bid for the second tier of football, WSL 2, when it was added didn’t deter the club or their fans as they set a 3,256 attendance record for a WPL match in 2015; one year later winning the WPL Southern Division.
Brighton had to wait over 15 months to play in the WSL, competing in the Spring Series under an interim manager, George Parris before former England manager Hope Powell was appointed in September 2017 and oversaw the club’s successful application for the WSL.
Man City fans will recognise goalkeeper Marie Hourihan from her time at the club, the Republic of Ireland international originally making a loan move to Brighton before making that move permanent. Other recognised names are Fern and Aileen Whelan, both former Notts County players who signed with Everton following the demise of the Notts side before joining Brighton, Kayleigh Green, the Wales striker who previously played for Yeovil and former Everton player Jodie Brett.
Youngster Ellie Brazil joined the side after she moved back to the WSL following a stint with Italian side AFC Fiorentina, Chloe Peplow joined from another of Brazil’s former clubs, Birmingham, while Emily Simpkins arrived from Doncaster Rovers Belles.
Brighton’s performances have mixed in both the WSL and Continental Cup, losing four times in the WSL to Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool and Chelsea while recording a 3-3 draw against Everton last weekend; putting 3 past London Bees in the Conti Cup.
City will no doubt have plenty to think about going into this game, especially with a number of players still injured including Karen Bardsley who is likely to remain out for some time. Lauren Hemp, Mel Lawley and Mie Jans could be fit enough to make the squad while Janine Beckie is unlikely to feature after playing in the CONCACAF tournament, qualifying for the WWC next year but losing 2-0 to the USA in the final.
Kick off is at 2pm at Crawley Town FC, the Broadfield Stadium. Tickets will be available on the gate from £4 for under 10s.