clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Chelsea LFC 6-0 Bristol City WFC, Women’s Super League: Match Report

New, comments

The Ladies put the final touches on a great weekend at Chelsea

An excellent performance from a fluid Blues side proved that the difference between the best and worst in the WSL is still immense as Chelsea made a statement in their Kingsmeadow debut that will almost certainly secure them the top spot after the first round of games are over.

The Blues featured new signings Magdalena Eriksson and Maria Thorisdottir in the back three, with surprise benchwarmers Ji So-Yun and Millie Bright left out. Gemma Davison was preferred at left wingback over Claire Rafferty. With a somewhat new look, the first ten minutes weren’t ideal, and one wondered if the Blues would need time to warm back up to their spring form. However, Chelsea were beginning to settle in and show their dominance by the time Drew Spence’s cool (and totally unnecessary) no-look pass released Thorisdottir to a one-on-one with the keeper. Only a heavy touch from Thor’s Daughter would prevent the day’s right center back from scoring.

Two minutes later, it was Spence’s turn to take her chance and she made no mistake. A whipped ball in from Karen Carney found the marauding midfielder unmarked in the box and Spence drove a powerful header into the back of the net. One-nil, home team.

From that point on, Chelsea were rampant, with Carney and Spence giving the Bristol City defense nightmares. A penalty shout around the 30 minute mark was ignored by the referee, and it was followed swiftly by an Ericksson shot which needed more pace to beat the Bristol keeper to the bottom right corner. A few minutes later, it was Gemma Davison who drove one over from the edge of the box after a feed from Carney found her in space on the edge of the box.

Maren Mjelde was dominating the midfield alongside captain, leader, legend Katie Chapman, and the visitors weren’t able to get possession out of their own half. By the 37th minute, Kirby had put the ball in the back of the net again for Chelsea, but she was whistled offside, and had plenty of opinions about that call to share with the referee.

Chelsea were starting to get frustrated with the half approaching, and Hayes’ voice from the sideline could be heard bellowing “make it more narrow”. The Blues complied and took advantage of their adjusted spacing just moments later as Kirby was on hand to seize upon a loose ball from the opposing center back and finish past the keeper.

The Vixens, as expected, never let their heads drop, and within a few minutes of conceding their second, they were in from a ball over the top, but the brilliant lob that beat Lindahl was ruled out by the linesman’s flag. Once again, Chelsea reasserted dominance, and it was they who were more disappointed to hear the whistle signaling half-time.

Chelsea resumed right where they left off in the second half, and some tricky footwork by Davison pushed into the box, allowing for an overlapping run by Spence to be found by Carney. Spence’s dangerous ball in found neither teammate nor netting, unfortunately. They were turning the screw and Bristol City were feeling the pressure, as evidence by a foul on Davison that earned a yellow card for Lauren Hemp.

That move was echoed near the 52nd minute, when another lovely combination featuring Carney and Davison (who was finding joy with every touch of the ball) led to a goal for an onrushing midfielder, this time in the form of Maren Mjelde, who gathered and then put home Carney’s perfectly weighted header with style that spoke volumes about her skill.

Chelsea were still on top but had taken their foot off the gas an hour on, which led to the substitution of Spence for perhaps the best player available to either team, Ji. The Blues still didn’t switch on until a long boot from BCFC keeper Sophie Baggaley put Hemp in on goal, but she wasn’t able to make it count.

At the other end, it was Chelsea’s turn to fail to turn opportunity into reward. Ji was in a great position in the box, but wasted the space she’d made for herself by electing a to play a mis-weighted pass for Mjelde rather than take the shot on herself. Very unlike the Korean superstar.

The game wore on and chances were coming regularly for the Blues. Hannah Blundell’s solid contributions were replaced by the solid contributions of Erin Cuthbert in the 66th as Hayes looked to put the match beyond doubt. With fifteen left on the clock, only a great save denied Gilly Flaherty’s header on the end of a Carney corner. Aluko came on for Kirby in the 77th, but her lauded introduction was practically forgotten a moment later. As Davison couldn’t quite put away a chance from a BCFC mistake, and Chapman’s follow up was barely deflected wide. On the ensuing corner kick, Eriksson headed in at the near post for her debut goal, rounding off an excellent performance from her.

Thorisdottir gave the Chelsea fans one of their only moments of anxiety as she passed the ball directly to the opposing striker, but Chelsea were able to close ranks at the back and when the shot came in, Lindahl took it with ease. The Vixens were once again punished for failing to take their chances, as Davison got in behind again and unselfishly fed Woman of the Match Maren Mjelde for her second.

“Over the line!” was the cry from Hayes throughout the final 20 minutes of play, and Chelsea looked as hungry as they were clinical. Flaherty tapped in a sixth from an Eriksson free kick as the clocked ticked into added time, but you’d have to say the air was absolutely gone from Bristol City by then. The Blues were the better side by a country mile and got the goals to prove it. Running out big winners in the home opener will give the side a significant boost ahead of their away matchup with Sunderland next Saturday.

Lineup:
LAM - Spence (Ji, 61’)
CF - Kirby (Aluko, 77’)
RAM - Carney
LWB - Davison
CM - Mjelde
CM - Chapman
RWB - Blundell (Cuthbert, 72’)
LCB - Eriksson
CB - Flaherty
RCB - Thorisdottir
GK - Lindahl