Narrow reverse on the South Coast.
This seemed to wake up Colchester and on twenty minutes a well worked attack resulted in Zoe Rushen being fouled on the corner of the box. The U’s midfielder dusted herself off and curled an exquisite free kick into the top corner to level the scores.
A period of well contested play followed with half chances at both ends, but just before the interval Brighton took the lead when a lob into the Colchester box found Kim Stenning in what looked to be a suspiciously offside position, but the Seagulls forward was allowed to fire home despite a valiant effort to block from U’s keeper Nikita Runnacles.
Colchester responded well after the interval applying much of the pressure in the opening exchanges of the second half and they were rewarded when substitute Karissa Rodney crossed for Hannah Gowland to tap home from close range.
Colchester’s hard earned parity was short lived, however, when less than two minutes later the home side were allowed to break through down the U’s right channel and Stenning was on hand again to turn the ball home.
Colchester began to throw players forward in search of an equalizer and where caught on the counter, the lively Stenning completing her hat trick after exposing Colchester’s defence with a fine run and finish to extend the home lead.
Colchester were not done though, switching to a 3-4-4 formation in a desperate attempt to salvage the game and when Gemma Codling made another impact off the bench scoring her first ever first team goal from Hayley West’s cross on 78 minutes, there was time for the U’s to earn a point or better.
First Rodney was foiled by a big save from Brighton keeper Charlotte Sole who then did even better to scramble Codlings near post flick off the line.
Colchester: Runnacles, West, Clements, Heaslip Jiggins, Southgate, L. Mellors (Rodney 57), Guyon, Gowland (Gibbs 71, Rushen, Nash (Codling 65)