Chelsea manager Emma Hayes put the boot into Arsenal this afternoon, in a thrilling end-to-end Barclay’s Womens Super League derby, driving her team on and inspiring them to come from behind to snatch all three points.
At the end, as she enjoyed a standing ovation from fans in Kingsmeadow’s main stand, she re-enacted the winner – a screamer scored by sub Maria Thorisdottir – then bent the fence post out of shape as she gave it some welly too!
It leaves the Blues breathing down Man City’s neck, nicely poised in second place in the table, after a breathless, full-on, spirited clash in front of more than 4,000 spectators… exceeding even stadium host AFC Wimbledon’s last home turnout.
In a dazzling advert for the women’s game, screened live by BT, Chelsea fell behind in the ninth minute to a Danni Van De Donk spin and shoot which beat defender Millie Bright and keeper Ann-Katrin Berger.
Still behind after the interval, Chelsea turned up the heat and levelled two minutes before the hour after Fran Kirby, returning to the fitness levels of a year ago, fed Beth England, who slotted home past Manuela Zinsberger.
The winner came with four minutes of normal time remaining as Thorisdottir, who had been on the pitch for 12 minutes after replacing the excellent Guro Reiten, let fly from 25 yards with a rocket shot which flew into the net.
Gunners manager Joe Montemurro accepted defeat graciously. After all, he’d inflicted Chelsea’s galling 5-0 defeat at Kingsmeadow last season that put the title out of the Blues’ grasp. “We have to forget about it,” he said. “We couldn’t keep the ball. With the squad that they’ve got, Chelsea should be up there [at the top of the table] every year; they have 25 or 26 internationals. We have 18 players.”