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Preview: Blues Women v Brighton & Hove Albion

Blues Women welcome Brighton & Hove Albion in their opening FA Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup tie on Wednesday night.

The Seagull’s visit is the first of three Group E fixtures for Scott Booth’s team as they begin their hunt for domestic silverware in a competition that the Club has reached the final of on three occasions.

Along with tonight’s visitors, Blues are joined in the Southern Section pool by Barclays FA Women’s Super League counterparts and weekend opponents West Ham United and London City Lionesses of the FA Women’s Championship.

But with only the group winner guaranteed progression to the quarter-finals every point is pivotal whether that be by winning the match in 90 minutes and taking all three, or through a bonus point obtained by coming out on top in a penalty shootout should the scores be level at full-time.

From the five groups, one runner-up – determined by a points-per-game ratio – will join the other table toppers and current UEFA Women’s Champions League participants, Arsenal and Chelsea, in the last eight.

And you can catch the start of the tournament at St. Andrew’s by purchasing your tickets online, over the phone or on the day of the game, with the Main Stand Ticket Office open from two hours before kick-of.

THE OPPOSITION:

Brighton have made a steady start to the season and will be hoping to carry their league form into the Conti Cup, a competition that they failed to get out of the group in last season. In the two campaigns prior to that, the South Coast side had made it one step further before being eliminated by each of the Manchester clubs in successive years.

This term, the Seagulls have won three of their five BFAWSL outings and sit inside the top-half as they look to improve on last season’s sixth-place finish - currently occupying the position one higher. To date, they have beaten two of their Group E foes, West Ham and Blues, as well as Tottenham Hotspur, suffering defeats to reigning champions Chelsea and Aston Villa.

Such results have given them the division’s third-best goal difference, aided by being the Super League’s joint-third highest scorers, with four players - Inessa Kaagman, Lee Geum-Min, Danielle Carter and Victoria Williams – all having four counters to their name.

As well as such firepower on the pitch, they also possess a manager who knows how to succeed at the top level as both a player and coach. Hope Powell is in her fifth season managing in Sussex, having previously led England Women for 15 years and been an FA Cup winner during her playing days.

LAST TIME OUT:

Blues put in an impressive display and battled hard to earn their first point of the season away to West Ham. Booth’s team put their bodies on the line throughout but were under pressure when former Blue Claudia Walker opened the scoring shortly after half-time. However, the away side refused to be beaten and Captain Louise Quinn led from the front to fire in the equaliser to get Blues off the mark in the BFAWSL.

Brighton continued their impressive early-season form by ending Tottenham’s one hundred per cent record at the People's Pension Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Lee gave the hosts a half-time lead and the Seagulls were given a further advantage when Rachel Williams was sent off for a second bookable offence after 76 minutes. Victoria Williams added goal number two ten minutes later, with Kit Graham’s instant response not enough to knock Brighton off course.

WE MEET AGAIN:

Blues Women 0 Brighton & Hove Albion 5, 12 September 2021

Blues were defeated by Powell’s side earlier in the season but to a scoreline that did not reflect the home side’s showing.

Despite falling behind to an early Williams effort, Birmingham had an on-target indirect free-kick blocked and were unfortunate to concede a Kaagman penalty after Harriet Scott was adjudged to have committed a foul.

And although further goals were added by Carter, Emma Koivisto and Kayleigh Green after the break, Blues continued to ask questions and had two efforts cleared off the line in the closing stages.

PREVIOUS MEETINGS:

BFAWSL 12 Sep 2021 – Blues 0-5 Brighton & Hove Albion

BFAWSL 17 Jan 2021 – Blues 0-0 Brighton & Hove Albion

Women’s FA Cup 27 Sep 2020 - Brighton & Hove Albion 2-2 Blues (2-4 on penalties)

BFAWSL 06 Sep 2020 - Brighton & Hove Albion 2-0 Blues

KIOSKS:

The Stadium kiosks will now be cashless, credit / debit card will be the only available method of payment.

WATCH LIVE:

The game is available to watch live on the Birmingham City Women Facebook page. Coverage begins at approximately 7.15pm ahead of the 7.30pm kick-off on Wednesday 13 October and there will be a familiar face on commentary, as BluesTV's Hayden Atkins is joined by Christie Murray.

MATCH OFFICIALS:

Referee: Lisa Benn

Assistant Referees: Chloe Matthews and Daniel Todd

Fourth Official: Richie Watkins

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