Adelina Engman – that’s her leaving the pitch two steps behind the distinctive figure of Millie Bright – is an underestimated talent.
The quiet 5ft 6in Finn, who turns 25 next month, got Chelsea out of jail at Brighton last weekend, coming on as a sub to score a leveller when all looked lost in the dying seconds of a match that the Blues disappointingly looked like losing.
Chelsea Women were overwhelming favourites ahead of the match. In fact, Brighton’s two league games against Chelsea last season ended in defeat for the Seagulls, without scoring a goal – a 0-2 away from home before a 0-4 defeat in this exact fixture in December 2018.
Remarkably, Chelsea hadn’t lost an away league match since a 0-1 defeat at Manchester City back in May 2017, winning 14 and drawing seven of their last 21 games.
But Sunday’s clash in a sun-drenched Crawley against Hope Powell’s well-marshalled side proved to be a sterner test than most had forecast.
Chelsea dominated, without making that dominance pay. The heat seemed to sap the energy from all the players as Jonna Andersson replaced Hannah Blundell at left-back and Erin Cuthbert began instead of striker Engman.
Bright had the best of Chelsea’s early chances, firing over the bar, while England, Cuthbert and rising new star Guro Reiten also had opportunities to open the scoring.
But when, with six minutes of the game to go, Brighton went ahead through Aileen Whelan, it all looked lost.
With Maria Thorisdottir and Engman now on for Chelsea, there was a final push into stoppage time as the Chelsea No17 clattered home from close range to level.
Since joined Chelsea in June 2018, the flying Finn has been eclipsed by higher-profile striking personalities up front, such as England, Cuthbert and Fran Kirby. But Engman retains the faith of manager Emma Hayes, and more than justified her sub’s role at Crawley.
Next up for Chelsea Women, the Conti Cup clash at Kingsmeadow against West Ham United on Sunday September 22 at 2pm.