Another emphatic win in the Women’s Super League means Chelsea Women go into the Christmas break full of optimism… but they really had to earn their success after dogged defending denied them for more than an hour.
With only one stray (and – as the Blues are already through to the next round – relatively meaningless) Conti Cup game away to Spurs on Wednesday night, Sunday afternoon’s 4-0 victory over Hope Powell’s Brighton at the Broadfield Stadium means that the Blues have played a total of 24 WSL matches in 2018, losing one, winning 15 and drawing eight.
In terms of goals, Chelsea have scored 38 and conceded 16. Not a bad year!
The team took a long time to break down Brighton. The first half was goalless, but in the second spell the Seagulls’ determined defending was finally overcome as Magda Eriksson met a free kick in the 65th minute to beat keeper – and former Blue – Marie Hourihan.
Sub Beth England (on for Drew Spence on the hour mark) scored the first of her two goals four minutes later, heading over Hourihan, while Ji So-Yun raced through the defence to convert an Amy Riley cross to make it 3-0. England got her second – Chelsea’s fourth – in the dying seconds of stoppage time.
The Blues now sit five points behind Arsenal, who remain top of the tree at Christmas. But the gap is narrowing as the Gunners wrestle with injuries to key players.
Manager Emma Hayes picked the same starting line-up that beat Reading a week earlier, with Erin Cuthbert up front.
The World Cup draw pitches Scotland against England, so Cuthbert is likely to be very familiar with the defensive line she will face in France in the summer!