Brighton & Hove Albion beat local rivals Crystal Palace 5-1 at the American Express Elite Performance Centre in their first game of pre season on Sunday afternoon.
Albion boss Hope Powell fielded a strong line-up with seven of the 11 who started, featuring in the last game of the season against Arsenal at the AMEX Stadium.
Kirsty Barton did not waste time in opening her account, scoring after just 34 seconds to give Albion the lead. Forward Aileen Whelan fired in her first goal of the afternoon on 39 minutes with a fine strike from outside the box to give The Seagulls a two-goal lead at the break.
Whelan grabbed her second goal of the match just after half-time following excellent hold up play from Ini Umotong inside the penalty area before Emily Simpkins was then brought down in the area which allowed Umotong to step up and slot home Albion’s fourth goal from the penalty spot.
Opponents Crystal Palace scored a consolation goal on the hour mark to make it 4-1 before Albion rounded off an impressive display to with a goal from a superb long range Kate Natkiel strike.
Summer signing Megan Walsh was the only new addition to feature for the Sussex side, playing 75 minutes before being substituted. Her replacement Zara Cheeseman was one of two development squad players too get valuable first team experience. The second was Abigail Mason who replaced Ellie Brazil with 20 minutes left to
ALBION TEAM: Walsh, Barton, F. Whelan, Rafferty, Gibbons, Buet, Connolly, Simpkins, Brazil, A. Whelan, Natkiel
USED SUBSTITUTES: Cheeseman (76), Williams (46), Roe (57), Umotong (46), Hack (62), Mason (67).
By Jamie Farrin (@jamiefarrin)