Difficult pitch conditions caused by heavy rain made the attacking/winning job much harder for Chelsea, while doing the exact opposite for hosts Brighton at Broadfield Stadium. Despite the ball almost not being allowed to roll due to puddles of water on the grass, and a heavily rotated squad to start the match, the Blues were completely dominating the Seagulls throughout the match.
Even with the pitch favouring their plan of defending the box at all costs, Brighton were still rough on their fouling. There were two fouls that could have been called for a spot kick, and both were summarily ignored by the referee in the first half.
In the second half no changes were made, and Chelsea would have gotten the lead only a couple of minutes after returning to the ptich through Beth England. However her attempt was ruled offside.
Soon England would have her redemption. From a Eve Perisset corner, Niamh Charles rose to head the ball towards Brighton’s goal. The shot hit the bar and was nearly cleared off the line by an opposing defender. Then England, the opportunistic no.9 that she is, entered the picture to tap the ball into the back of the net just to make sure the goal was valid — the correct decision, at the end of the day.
The opening goal did not diminish Chelsea’s attacking appetite. We continued to press for goals, although Brighton answered in kind with some dangerous moves as well. That was when we needed Ann-Katrin Berger to step up — and she did!
Given how dangerous Brighton had been after the goal, we needed another just to settle it down once and for all. Pernille Harder and Sam Kerr, both coming off the bench, combined so the former could score a rocket of a goal just to do that for us.
- Several changes in the lineup that faced Paris Saint-Germain in the Women’s Champions League group stage match last Thursday. In total there are seven changes made, from Kadeisha Buchanan rested to Beth England leading the attacking line in place of Sam Kerr.
- Subs are Guro Reiten for Niamh Charles, Magda Eriksson for Jess Carter, Sam Kerr for Beth England, Pernille Harder for Lauren James, and Jessie Fleming for Sophie Ingle.
- Would not be surprised if the game was called off due to pitch conditions if this was any other team but Chelsea. Alas, we play on.
- Beth England would be a week in and out starter at any team that does not have Sam Kerr. She was far from her best, but it would not be surprising if that is mostly down to rustiness than anything else.
- Good to see Johanna Rytting Kaneryd getting a chance to shine from the starting lineup. Too bad she did not have the pitch conditions to do so despite a bright start to the match.
- Berger: legend.
- Next up: KF Vllaznia at home for the Women’s Champions League.