Albion Women reignited their promotion challenge following a hard-fought away victory over the league’s bottom side, Queens Park Rangers.A brace from Cherelle Khassal and a stunning strike from Lily Agg ensured the Seagulls left Honeycroft with all three points; and secured the side’s first league win of 2013.
The match got off to a rather scrappy start with both sides contesting a midfield battle in the opening minutes; but Albion’s first chance of the game eventually came through Charlotte Gurr’s free-kick, which went narrowly wide of the target.
Jay Lovett’s team then settled into their stride and took the lead in the 20th minute; Khassal latched onto skipper Kerrie Ryan’s long-ball into the area and slid home her effort from close range.*
Ryan continued to threaten the Rangers defence, as her cross was met by Catherine O’Hagan, whose volley went over the bar five minutes later.
The home side rarely threatened Albion’s goal in the first-half, with Sarah Staples’s free-kick being the extent of their opportunities.
Just before half-time the Seagulls doubled their advantage when Khassal nodded the ball on for Agg, who fired an unstoppable shot past keeper Sophie Cheadle into the roof of the net.
This seemed to trigger a greater sense of urgency among the home side after the break, and they brought themselves back into the match, thanks to Kirsten Thomson’s lob over Albion keeper Lucy Mangan three minutes into the second-half.
QPR then went in search of an unlikely equaliser, as Lauren Popovich’s cross was somehow missed by the entire Rangers attack.
It was a missed opportunity which came back to haunt the Hoops, as the Seagulls restored their two-goal cushion thanks to another effort by Khassal. Kirsty Barton’s corner was met by Agg, who nodded the ball on for the Irish international to flick home her header from six yards out just before the hour-mark.
The remaining half-hour then provided end-to-end action, with Rangers determined to get themselves back into the game once more and Albion aiming to add extra gloss to the scoreline.
Sophie Perry almost made it 4-1 after narrowly failing to make contact with Barton’s corner, before Kesha Petit squandered a great chance from close-range to potentially set up a tense finale from an Albion perspective.
But Lovett’s side held on for their second away league win of the season before meeting up with Rangers again at Withdean next Sunday.
Albion (4-3-3): Mangan (GK); Cheshire, Ryan (c), Waine, Boswell; Perry, Barton, Gurr; Agg, O’Hagan, Khassal. Subs not used: Sole, Thompson, Adams.**



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