They’re hanging out the bunting at Chelsea as mascots Stamford and Bridget join the Ladies’ celebrations at winning the double with the 2018 Women’s Super League title now added to the FA Cup triumph.
The Blues’ 2-0 away win at Bristol City clinched the league with a game to spare, and although heavily pregnant manager Emma Hayes was unable to travel to the midweek match (she’s expecting twins and is about to deliver a double of her own), assistant Paul Green steered the girls to glory.
A 10th minute header from Drew Spence settled the nerves, while a second from Jonna Andersson, the new Swedish arrival who has really impressed since joining in January, secured the double.
Hayes may have missed the actual match at Bristol, having to watch at home on TV, but defender Millie Bright made sure she was included in the celebrations by facetiming her during the pitch party, so she could be part of it.
“I’m delighted for Emma,” said assistant Paul Green, as he, the rest of the coaching and scouting staff, and the full squad, squirted each other with water bottles and posed for pictures.
“You can see what it means for the team,” said Katie Chapman at the end. She has just one match remaining – a now meaningless fixture away at Liverpool – before becoming a global ambassador for the club. “It’s great to do the double. I love this team and I love this club.”
Though insignificant in points terms, the game at the weekend against the Scousers could establish Chelsea FC Women as invincibles, undefeated throughout the season in the league. It could also establish a new scoring record as the team is currently on 99 goals.
Spence, who admitted it had been “a hard schedule”, was in the right place to divert Ji So-Yun’s cross into the net in the 10th minute at Bristol City. She is one of 12 players to have scored for the Blues this season, underlining the much-mentioned strength in depth in the squad.
Hedvig Lindahl pulled out a dramatic save in the 37th minute as Bristol City squandered a series of chances to level… and denied the home side another opportunity to equalise in the 79th minute with a double save.
Finally, with two minutes remaining, Fran Kirby went on the gallop down the right and crossed for Andersson to clip into the roof of the net for the 2-0 win. Ji came a whisker away from adding a third in stoppage time.
Kirby said: “It was a bit of an average performance tonight, to be honest, and we’re still behind the top teams in Europe.”
One nice touch; Donna Newberry, the Ladies’ active and perceptive scout, was given a prominent place in the celebrations at the end. Her monitoring of rival teams has provided a crucial, though little appreciated outside the club, foundation for this historic double.