Chelsea Ladies remain unbeaten and top of the Women’s Super League 1 after victory over Bristol Academy this afternoon (Sunday) at Staines Town. Club football had paused for over two months while the World Cup in Canada took centre stage, however the Blues picked up from where they had left off by extending their run without defeat to 10 games this season.
Emma Hayes’s side took the lead after just six minutes through skipper Gilly Flaherty before Gemma Davison doubled the advantage with a superb solo effort midway through the opening half. Bristol reduced the deficit 10 minutes after the restart after a neat finish from Jade Boho-Sayo, however Ji So-Yun came off the bench to win a penalty, which she converted herself to make it 3-1.
Another substitute, Mille Farrow, added a fourth late on as the league leaders continued their impressive form.
The Blues were last in action nine weeks previously when they recorded a 1-1 draw away at Manchester City and manager Hayes made three changes from that encounter as Marija Banusic, Laura Coombs and Ana Borges returned to the side.
Banusic led the line up front supported from out wide by returning England World Cup star Eni Aluko and Davison, while Coombs joined Millie Bright and Drew Spence in midfield. Borges started in defence alongside Niamh Fahey, Flaherty and Hannah Blundell. Hedvig Lindahl started in goal.
The visitors started brightly as Boho-Sayo fired narrowly over, yet the Blues were in front after just six minutes courtesy of their captain. Spence’s inswinging free-kick from the left caused problems and though Bright’s attempt was hooked off the line, the Bristol defenders could do nothing to keep out Flaherty’s follow-up, which was guided perfectly inside the far post.
Visiting goalkeeper Mary Earps almost spilled Davison’s low drive into her own net shortly after and was relieved to see the ball spin behind for a corner, before Bright connected well to Banusic’s flighted free-kick to force a good save from Earps.
Down the other end, Boho-Sayo was released one-on-one through the middle but Lindahl read the danger expertly as the Swedish international raced off her line and smothered the ball at the forward’s feet.
However, the home side continued to look the more dangerous as Aluko forced Earps into another stop before Davison doubled the lead for Hayes’s side after 21 minutes. The team’s top goalscorer demonstrated all her dribbling qualities as she beat two defenders and then slotted the ball confidently into the far corner.