Brighton's Ellie Brazil battles for possession with Leicester's Ashleigh Plumptre

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Shannon O’Brien’s second-half winner lifted Leicester Women off the bottom of the Women’s Super League table after beating Brighton Women 1-0 at the King Power Stadium.

The Foxes had won just one WSL game this season heading into the match but responded well against their out-of-form visitors.

The opening 23 minutes was a stop-start, stilted affair littered with injuries and set -lays. However, once the first shot on target occurred, the game started to open up.

The first big chance came for Leicester as they dominated the middle part of the first half. Jemma Purfield sent a free-kick in from the middle of Brighton’s half, which Victoria Williams initially nodded away. The ball pinged around the area, before landing kindly for Ashleigh Plumptre. Her strike, although rather speculative, forced a leaping save from Seagulls goalkeeper Megan Walsh.

Soon after, the Foxes went close again as Abbie McManus had a free header towards the back post, but Williams was there again to nod away. Inessa Kaagman also made a fine clearance as Jess Sigsworth looked to shoot from the right of the area.

The pendulum soon swung for Brighton, although they failed to create many clear-cut chances. Emily Simpkins did try her luck on a few occasions – her first effort from range was an easy collection for Demi Lambourne, before seeing a hard shot deflected behind.

Leicester deservedly took the lead 10 minutes into the second half. Sam Tierney’s superb pass picked out the run of Jessica Sigsworth down the right. She easily breezed past Emma Kullberg – making her first Brighton start – before squaring for the waiting O’Brien, who neatly finished past Walsh.

Leicester could have added more to their tally too with a string of misses. Plumptre nodded just over from a floated O’Brien cross before Williams made another vital blog to deny Natasha Flint. Sigsworth also fired a weak effort straight at Walsh.

But as the clock ticked down, Brighton found their urgency, aided by substitute Kayleigh Green. She replaced Danielle Carter in the 70th minute and proved to be a handful. The forward just nodded over from Symonds’ lovely delivery, before getting in behind the Foxes defence soon after. Green drove into the area with no offside flag-up, but lifted her effort wide.

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Brighton have failed to win any of their last four WSL games

The final few minutes were frantic in the Leicester half, but they held on for a vital three points that lifts them above Birmingham Women into 11th place. They have won both of their WSL games this season in back-to-back home matches.

However, the result continues a worrying slide for Brighton, who have now lost their last four WSL games, and last six in all competitions. They remain seventh on 15 points.

What’s next?

Leicester are back in WSL action next Sunday when they host Aston Villa in a Midlands derby; kick-off 2pm. Brighton will host Chelsea on the same day; kick-off 12.30pm.

You can watch free match highlights of both games from midnight on Monday.



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