Both Chelsea and Manchester City were in desperate need of a win at Kingsmeadow today. The two main contenders for the Women’s Super League title came out of their respective debuts with disappointing results, losing to Liverpool and Aston Villa respectively and letting Arsenal and Manchester United set the (early) pace to the title race.
The home side started out swinging, with striker Sam Kerr finishing the game’s first scoring chance off target. City answered almost immediately with Bunny Shaw, who would prove to be one of City’s most troublesome players for the Blues’ defence.
A bit of back and forth between the two sides in the first few minutes, turned into City dominating the affair but with not many great chances to score. It was still a worrying sight given Chelsea’s failure to beat a presumably weaker side last weekend, as players remained out of sync with each other and with themselves at times.
Ann-Katrin Berger, returning to goalkeeping duty following a health issue, had to put on some work in result. She came up big in the moments she was called upon, showing how much of a differnce she makes when she is on the pitch.
Things were looking ugly for the Blues until a moment of magic from Chelsea’s left-sided players. From Kadeisha Buchanan came a long-range pass to get Jessie Fleming in action. She beat her marker and set up Guro Reiten, who saw herself with little room to shoot at goal. The Norwegian made the smart decision to assist Fran Kirby instead, who smashed it home to get us the lead at the Kingsmeadow only a few minutes before the end of the first half.
Second half was also a back and forth in the first few minutes. But once Kirby and Lauren James turned up the ante, the Blues were comfortably dominating goalscoring chances and not giving room for City to breathe.
Sophie Ingle’s entrance in place of Jessie Fleming made Chelsea even better, with James now leading the charge. Eventually City’s desperate attempts at defending their goal would lead to a penalty chance taken by Maren Mjelde, who converted it with a strong shot to double our lead over the visitors.
It was then only a matter of keeping City away from our defensive third, although they nearly found themselves a lifeline with Berger almost scoring an own goal at the end.
- BERGER IS BACK!
- Subs are Sophie Ingle for Jessie Fleming, Eve Perisset for Maren Mjelde, Niamh Charles for Guro Reiten, annd Johanna Rytting Kaneryd for Lauren James.
- Superb defending from our star goalkeeper shows how important it is to have world-class talent between the posts in the WSL this season.
- Fran Kirby strikes again! Superb combination between Fleming and Reiten to get it going, which is all we want and need from the squad to succeed moving forward.
- Lauren James is a force of nature.
- Next up: West Ham for the WSL.