‘Character, fight and pride’ key to Brighton win, says Le Tissier

MAYA LE TISSIER enjoyed the greatest victory of her fledgling career as her south coast club stamped out Chelsea’s two-year unbeaten run on Sunday.

Maya Le Tissier in action for Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday away to reigning FA Women's Super League champions Chelsea, who the Seagulls beat 2-1 to end their hosts' 33-match unbeaten home WSL run in the process. (Picture by Kyle Hemsley / BHAFC, 29223242)
Maya Le Tissier in action for Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday away to reigning FA Women's Super League champions Chelsea, who the Seagulls beat 2-1 to end their hosts' 33-match unbeaten home WSL run in the process. (Picture by Kyle Hemsley / BHAFC, 29223242)

The Guernsey teenager and her Brighton & Hove Albion teammates triumphed 2-1 at Kingsmeadow, the home turf of a side that had entered with every expectation of extending their unbeaten Women’s Super League run to 34 consecutive games.

‘Character, fight, pride, desire shown every minute! A bounce back from last weekend was needed, onwards and upwards,’ a delighted Le Tissier tweeted afterwards.

Against the league leaders and reigning champions, whose enviable elite roster includes world-record signing Pernille Harder, it was a truly outstanding result.

And proud father Darren Le Tissier knows just how much that result means for a team that, in his estimation, might be playing on a fifth of Chelsea’s budget.

‘For little old Brighton, that is definitely the best result that they have had as a club in the WSL,’ he said.

‘With Sam [Kerr], Pernille and Fran [Kirby], you have three of the top 10 players in the world.

‘If you try to compare it to the men’s game, I don’t know, but I would say it’s like Man City versus West Brom.’

He also believes that 18-year-old Maya, while far from arrogant, is not deterred by facing such classy players.

‘With Maya, she will have full belief in her ability,’ he added.

‘You do not get to the level she’s playing without determination, sacrifices and belief in your ability.’

The result marked a dramatic turnaround for eighth-placed Brighton, who lost 3-0 to bottom-of-table Bristol City the previous week.

Le Tissier further strengthened an outstanding defensive performance that was topped off by goals from Aileen Whelan and Megan Connolly, both from set pieces.

Brighton boss Hope Powell credited her players’ hard work and going back to basics for the vastly-improved result.

‘We knew Chelsea would have more possession but we had a good attitude and we were organised and when we do those things we give ourselves a chance,’ Powell said.

We tried to stifle them and deny them space and be hard to beat. The girls executed the game plan superbly, but it was tough.

‘We spent a lot of time in our own half and we had a bit of luck perhaps with the second goal but we earned that. I am really delighted for everyone.

‘It’s a big result. They are top and were 33 games unbeaten with a team full of world-class talent.’

Match-winner Connolly, who scored direct from a corner, admitted that there was some luck involved in her decisive goal.

‘If you ask me to do that again, I’m not sure I could, but somebody somewhere wanted the ball to go in and I’m delighted for everyone,’ she said.

‘The wind took it in but if you’re going to beat Chelsea away you’re going to need that little bit of luck and I think we earned it.

‘We weren’t expected to beat Chelsea. Deep down you want to get something, but realistically you look at their starting XI and bench and know you’re in for a tough 90 minutes.

‘But when we perform to the levels we’re capable of we can get a good result from any game. We dug deep and we were disciplined. That was a big change from the previous two games where we were too easy to break down.

‘It’s a great result but we have to build on it. We’ve set a standard for ourselves and we have to maintain that now, starting at home to West Ham on Wednesday.’

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