Albion 0 Arsenal 3

This time Albion could not pull off a big performance or result against one of the WSL powers.

But a record sell-out crowd at the Broadfield Stadium were given a good contest until second-placed Arsenal scored a pair of late goals.

Albion followed a thrilling draw with Manchester United and magnificent win over City with this first defeat in three.

It took late strikes from Caitlin Foord and Frida Maanum to hammer home the Gunners’ superiority after the Seagulls had given everything to wipe out an early deficit.

Albion boss Melissa Phillips appreciated the efforts of her side.

But, ultimately, she felt quality at either end made the difference.

Phillips said: “It was a really competitive first half. I thought we found good space in wide areas and ultimately we didn’t ask enough questions inside the box.

“Then, in the second half, we weren’t as disciplined to find the same wide areas and same space to help us get out of our half and up the pitch.

“A 1-0 is probably a fair scoreline.

“We have been very resilient out of possession, especially in these last four games against top sides.

“But I definitely can’t knock the determination of the group and there will be lessons we can take from this.

“The players will definitely be disappointed, we all are, about the late goals we conceded.

“We know that is the threat Arsenal can pose and how clinical they can be.

“We are disappointed about that but not in a space where we won’t take ownership and pick ourselves up to go again.”

A picture as big as the game itself was a sell-out crowd of 4,921 packed into the Broadfield Stadium.

It was a turnout which underlined the club’s reasons for seeking a home ground within Brighton and Hove.

Not just in terms of accommodating more fans within the venue but also of making the travel (be it public transport or looking for a safe parking spot) as quick, easy and attractive as possible.

Of course it is unrealistic to suggest almost 5,000 were there to support the Seagulls, despite their recent performances and results.

There have been plenty of away fans at the last two games at Crawley.

And no doubt plenty of Sussex-based spectators keen to see star names who, this time, included Beth Mead, Foord and, operating in a more withdrawn role than for England, Alessia Russo.

But that is all part of developing a fanbase – both for the club and for the league in general.

The Manchester teams who could not  beat Albion in the last fortnight played before 43,000 in their derby.

Albion’s efforts to secure that new home, with council support, continue.

At the same time, the club will aspire to seriously challenge sides such as Arsenal on a regular basis.

The disappointment here will have been the lack of opportunity for Gunners goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger to show her qualities.

Albion had to weather early pressure, which made the manner of Arsenal’s opener on 12 minutes all the more frustrating.

Jorelyn Carabali made a mess of clearing a routine cross, gifting the ball to Stina Blackstenius.

The Swede herself completely miskicked but the ball sat up nicely for her to finish at the second attempt.

That error spoiled an otherwise enjoyable, combative display of defending from Carabali.

Albion came more into the game as the half developed but without the required quality on the edge of the box or when delivering from wide.

Vicky Losada shot over from outside the penalty area when there were good alternative options and Julia Zigiotti was even more wayward soon after.

Elisabeth Terland got in behind late in the half but her powerful shot from an angle was too close to Zinsberger.

The Arsenal No.1 was rather more tested in added time when she scrambled Zigiotti’s header from Losada’s corner around the post.

Albion made a switch at half-time, asking Charlie Rule to better exploit the spaces afforded the right wing-back role.

A storming run and clever pass by Maria Thorisdottir forced Amanda Ilestedt to make a goal-saving challenge on Katie Robinson, with Guro Bergsvand powering a header over the bar for the resulting corner.

Those moments felt like the prelude to a big push from the hosts but instead it was to be their final real threat.

Mead was inches from doubling the Arsenal lead with well-struck drive in support of a Blackstenius raid.

That was the final part either Arsenal star played in the contest.

At that same point the hosts sent on Lee Guem-min, their matchwinner at Manchester City, and chief goal-maker Maisie Symonds.

Hard as Albion pushed, there were several times when 2-0 felt a lot closer than 1-1, especially when Russo failed to touch home Victoria Pelova’s low cross.

The second goal arrived courtesy of a well struck low drive from Foord on 80 minutes.

That was contest over - and hopes of a home goal to cheer vanished when Robinson’s dipping volley flew over in added time.

Arsenal added a third right at the death as Maanum guided a finish into the bottom corner from a Cloe Lacasse lay-off.

That felt a bit harsh on Albion but the best team certainly won.

Albion: Baggaley; Thorisdottir, Bergsvand, Carabali; Mengwen (Rule 46), Losada (Symonds 64), Zigiotti, Kulberg (Pattinson 84); Robinson, Terland (Pinto 72), Bremer (Lee 64).