Bristol City 3-7 Brighton and Hove Albion: Seagulls soar in dramatic game
(Credit: Dan Mullan via Getty Images)

Brighton came out on top in a wild game at Ashton Gate, as they defeated Bristol City 7-3.

The game swung so many times. Brighton were in a 4-1 lead and looked set for a comfortable win, but City pulled the game back to 4-3 and suddenly, they looked like winning.

But a composed and professional ending for Brighton, led by Katie Robinson, meant it was they who ran out winners.

The win is a big one for the Seagulls, who now open up an eight-point lead on the bottom of the table Robins.

Story of the match

Lauren Smith elected to make three changes from Bristol City’s 5-2 defeat away to Leicester City. Olivia Clark, Emily Syme and Lisa Evans came in to replace Shae Yañez, Naomi Layzell, and Jamie-Lee Napier.

Mikey Harris only made the sole change from Brighton’s loss at home to Liverpool, with Pauline Bremer replacing the suspended Poppy Pattinson.

Straight away, Brighton settled into their trademark possession play, and were very content in knocking the ball around the back.

For the most part they looked good doing so, but occasionally would misplace passes, but the Robins weren’t able to capitalise on those errors.

Now finding their groove, the Seagulls pushed forward and started to create chances. Veatriki Sarri’s curling effort whistled past the post, but it had Olivia Clark rooted to her spot.

But they only had to wait a further minute to break the deadlock. Vicky Losada’s whipped corner was flicked on by Guro Bergsvand, who found her Norwegian counterpart Elisabeth Terland at that far stick, who slammed home from close range.

The City defence looked static for the opener, and they were static once more as they went further behind four minutes later.

Sarri kept the ball in expertly and crossed into Pauline Bremer, who hit the post. But the German poacher was alert and followed her shot in and tucked home into the bottom corner.

The second goal certainly knocked the wind out of Ashton Gate, but Smith’s side were trying to get back in the tie.

Their best outlet came in the shape of Carrie Jones, but the Welsh wizard bent a strike agonizingly wide, while Sophie Baggaley was on hand to deny her a second time.

Lisa Evans then went even closer as Brighton gave the ball away cheaply, but she could only find the side netting, as she attempted to slide the ball into the near corner.

Frustrations were beginning to boil over for the girls in red, because at the break, Brighton held a deserved two-goal lead.

But City came out with more gusto as soon as the second half resumed, and they reduced the deficit immediately, as Megan Connolly’s free kick sailed past Baggaley.

Now only being a goal down, you’d think the hosts would go for the jugular, but it wasn’t the case.

Instead, Brighton were able to move the ball forward with ease and find gaps in the Robins defence.

It almost felt like Bristol would be the undoers of their own success, and so it proved as Albion found a third.

Another corner caused chaos in the City box and they were unable to clear their lines. This allowed Terland to stride onto the ball and guide it clinically into the bottom corner.

Terland was purring and almost grabbed her hat-trick after being released one-on-one with Clark, but the keeper came out on top.

However, from the resulting corner, Albion found a fourth. Clark made a rash decision to come out of her goal, allowing Tatiana Pinto to head into an empty net.

To their credit, Bristol kept battling throughout; a good sign for them in their battle to survive the drop.

In a game that was becoming all about set-pieces, the Robins struck back and scored one of their own. Brooke Aspin towered over everyone to power her header home. Was it game on again?

Well as soon as the game kicked off, the lead was down to one! Maria Thorisdóttir was caught up field by Ffion Morgan, who raced into the vacated space.

Once in the box, she cut the ball back to Amelie Thestrup who swept home. The impossible was all of a sudden looking very possible.

Brighton looked shellshocked as Bristol City piled forward, but they were clinging on.

But once they weathered one storm, Brighton looked like the team on top once more. Bristol’s frantic nature had calmed the Seagulls down, who were now able to spot spaces in behind.

With the clock ticking down, Brighton found breathing space once more.

Katie Robinson scampered down the wing and put in a cross to Madison Haley, who squirmed the ball into the near corner.

If the dagger hadn’t been sunk into the heart of City enough, the Seagulls delivered the final blow from the penalty spot, as Robinson was brought down by Connolly.

Up stepped Losada, and despite Clark going the right way, she couldn’t reach the ball, which nestled nicely into the bottom corner.

Not contempt enough with her afternoon, Robinson managed to find a seventh Albion goal, as she broke through the back line, rounded Clark, and scored into an empty net.

A ridiculous scoreline which doesn’t begin to tell you the story of the match, but it’s a result eases Brighton’s relegation fears, but worsens Bristol’s.

Bristol City will next be in action in two weeks’ time, as they travel to face Manchester United. Brighton, meanwhile, face the Red Devils in the FA Cup next weekend.

Player of the Match: Katie Robinson

In a bonkers game, it’s difficult to pinpoint someone as a game changer, but Robinson was certainly that for Brighton. When Bristol made it 4-3, Brighton looked frightened, but the Lioness took the game by the scruff of the neck and dragged the Seagulls to a vital win.

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