Brighton have earned a potentially vital point at Aston Villa as they battle relegation from the Women’s Super League.
They gave the hosts the lead when Kayleigh Green converted a cross into her own net in the 32nd minute.
However, they snatched a second-half equalizer through Julia Olme following a defensive confusion from Villa.
A draw puts Brighton five points above bottom club Leicester, who were beaten by Manchester City earlier.
Jens Scheuer’s side have eight points from 10 games after securing their first point under the German coach here, while Villa remain sixth in the WSL with 17 points from 12 games.
Gutsy Brighton smothers Daly
Brighton are yet to win a game under new boss Jens Scheuer and find themselves in the middle of the relegation battle.
They fought back on Saturday, pressing Villa much higher up the pitch in the second half and were rewarded with an equaliser.
Villa substitute Laura Blindkilde fed the ball deep in her own half, allowing Brighton to advance.
Hannah Hampton parried Veatriki Sarri’s first attempt but had no chance on Olme’s rebound, the Swede picking a perfect moment for her first goal of the season.
Leicester’s defeat also gives Brighton a hand – it was a largely uninspiring display, but as long as they pick up gifted points like they have here they can avoid falling in the Championship.
Villa, meanwhile, failed to put the game to bed, with Rachel Daly uncharacteristically missing a mere chance in the 56th minute, flying over the bar from six yards out.
It will be frustrating for Villa manager Carla Ward, who won January’s Manager of the Month award after his side won three of their four matches.
An unfortunate own goal opens the game
On paper, it looked like it could be a goal fest. Villa are managed by Daly, who with nine goals in 11 WSL appearances before Saturday was tied at the top of the league goalscoring charts with Manchester City’s Khadija Shaw.
Both teams have also been likely to concede this season – Brighton had scored at least three goals in each of their last five WSL games, 21 in total, while Villa had conceded 29 in their previous 13 WSL games.
However, neither side appeared to score for the majority of the first half as Daly was effectively targeted and stopped by a physical Brighton side who themselves lacked a forward edge.
The game needed either a moment of magic or an error – and it got the latter. Sarah Mayling sent in a lobbed cross and Brighton keeper Megan Walsh came out of her goal to try and fend it off.
She failed to get her hands on it and it was bad luck for the Seagulls Green midfielder as the ball bounced off his thigh and into the net.
Walsh redeemed herself slightly just before half-time, fending off a shot from Kenza Dali, before getting a slice of luck this time as the ball landed on the crossbar before bouncing behind.
It proved crucial for Brighton in this game – and could be vital at the end of the season.