Sporting Club Albion and Brighton have licence to thrill

Wednesday 25 May 2016
Sporting Club Albion and Brighton play to be crowned National champions

Sporting Club Albion and Brighton & Hove Albion do battle to be crowned National champions on Sunday and if their March meeting is anything to go by we are in for a cracker.

The FA Women’s Premier League Northern and Southern Division champions faced off in the SSE Women’s FA Cup fifth round with Sporting winning 4-3, but only after they had seen a three-goal lead wiped out.

In Leigh Dugmore and Abi Cottam, Sporting have two players on 20 goals for the season, while Brighton’s Amy Taylor and Kate Natkiel have hit a combined total of 33.

Brighton & Hove Albion v Sporting Club Albion

Women’s Premier League Play-Off Final

2pm, Sunday 29 May 2016

Adams Park, Wycombe Wanderers FC

And former Aston Villa forward Cottam is anticipating another shootout at Adams Park.

“I’d like to think we are in for another entertaining game,” she said.

“Both teams are free-scoring. There might not be as many goals as last time, but it certainly won’t be 0-0.

“Myself and Leigh Dugmore have 20 goals each, but even our centre-backs have been chipping in with a few this season and that’s our strength – goals can come from anywhere.

“I don’t think either of us were expecting to score that many goals and I didn’t realise we were level until the end of the season. If she scores on Sunday and beats me that really doesn’t matter, winning is all that matters.

“We are ready to play in the Super League, I think a few teams in our division are.

“It is a massive step up, but we have the squad and the staff to cope.”

Sporting’s run in the FA Cup ended at the quarter-final stage with a noble 2-0 defeat to current Women’s Super League 1 runaway leaders Manchester City.

Their travails meant a backlog in league fixtures and they have completed five games in May alone.

Brighton, by contrast, last played competitively on 10 April, lifting the title after a 2-1 defeat of Tottenham Hotspur.

Since then manager James Marrs has left the club and was followed out of the exit door by captain Jay Blackie, top-scorer Charlotte Gurr and exciting defender Deana Cooper.

Midfielder Lily Agg admits it has been a challenging time for the south-coast club, but there is a determination not to let a season of hard work fade away at the final hurdle.

“When we won the league everyone was on top of the world,” said Agg. “We were in a good place and excited for the play-off final.

“What happened after that was out of the control of the players. But managers do come and go, in the men’s game particularly, it’s part of football.

“So we had to remain professional, the majority of our players stayed and we had to ensure as a group we kept together and that we continued our hard work.

“We like to get the ball down and attack and we’ll play the same way we always do.

“Defensively we are strong, we’ll be targeting a clean sheet and hopefully we can take our chances at the other end.

“The general perception about the Northern Division is that it is a lot more physical than the Southern Division, so we’re expecting them to come at us at 100mph from the first whistle.

“But we are fit enough to press them and play at a high tempo, so there is a plan in place to cope with them and I’m sure they will have one for us.

“It will come down to who wants it more on the day.”

By Josh Richards Digital Producer