Both the Barclay’s FA Player (the site or app to use to watch all FA WSL matches for free) and Blues started a bit slowly, but neither’s weird form lasted long.
The audio and video issues were fixed a couple minutes in, just in time to see Bethany England smash in a goal from 25 or so yards. Cutting in from right to center, England sent the ball flying across goal and into the top corner on the far side of the goal. It was a magnificent strike and Stamford Bridge gave it the roar it deserved.
Naturally, it was expected that the rout would be on, and Spurs, who surely had the directive "don’t concede early" near the top of the whiteboard, would be in for a very long day at the Bridge. Unfortunately, that version of the match never panned out.
Though the Blues dominated much of the possession and most Spurs counterattacks were dealt with in the end, Chelsea couldn’t find the second goal, let alone the third, fourth or fifth we might have all wanted.
There was, of course, a very silly sighting of Woodwork FC. Drew Spence tried to match England’s strike from distance but whacked the bar, then new signing Guro Reiten was first to the rebound but her header clipped the post and was eventually cleared.
They say in life that consistency is key, but I, for one, could do without some instances from the goalkeeper's best friend.
A few reasons do exist for the Blues to not have been sharp enough in the final third to add to their lead — the magician of that half space, Fran Kirby, was out, Scotland international Erin Cuthbert is recovering from an injury and was a late sub, and Ji So-Yun was tasked with both marshaling midfield (which she did expertly) and creating goals (which was a struggle).
Still, the occasion was a magnificent one. Attendance shattered the previous record by five times the amount, the match was exciting, and there’s plenty of excitement to build on for the rest of the season — for Chelsea Women and the WSL overall.
While the vast majority of the 24,564 who came to CFC Women’s debut at Stamford Bridge versus Spurs were hoping for a Blues barrage against the newly promoted Tottenham side, a 1-0 win over a London rival and a wonder-goal will do just fine. Certainly Chelsea FC Women manager Emma Hayes will be thankful for the normal-sized goals that allowed her to kick off the season with three points.
Next up is Brighton away on September 15 at 2pm UTC (and perhaps a Fran Kirby sighting). Thank you for reading, now go watch Bethany England’s strike again, it was that good.