Chelsea fought back after an early setback and recorded an impressive 3-1 win over West Ham on Wednesday night to kickstart their Women’s Super League campaign at Kingsmeadow.
Following defeat at Liverpool in the opening weekend, Emma Hayes’ side have recorded back-to-back home wins to give a far brighter complexion to start the new season.
Dagny Brynjarsdottir headed the visitors early (3) but Fran Kirby equalized before the break (40) before Sam Kerr (58) and Millie Bright (62) completed the turnaround.
Lauren James saw her penalty saved in the second half, but the result puts Chelsea in fourth place, while West Ham, winners of Everton on the opening day, have fallen to ninth after a second straight defeat.
Chelsea women: Berger (6), Kadeisha Buchanan (6), Bright (7), Eriksson (7), Perisset (6), Svitkova (7), Fleming (7), Cuthbert (8), Kirby (8), Kerr (7) , riding (7).
Subtitle: England (6), James (6), Johanna Kaneryd (6), Charles (6), Cankovic (6).
West Ham Women: Arnold (7), Fisk (6), Cissoko (6), Parker (7), Smith (6), Brynjarsdottir (7), Longhurst (6), Stringer (6), Shimizu (6), Evans (6), Asseyi (6).
Subtitle: Walker (6), Ziu (6), Kyvag (6), Flannery (n/a).
Player of the Game: Frank Kirby.
How Chelsea managed back-to-back WSL wins
Play in Kingsmeadow was rearranged from 9/11 after the Queen’s death.
West Ham, who have never beaten Chelsea in the league, took the lead after just three minutes when Iceland midfielder Brynjarsdottir headed in from a corner.
The Blues, who defeated Manchester City after losing their opening game at newly promoted Liverpool, were looking to react quickly when Bright’s shot on goal was scraped off the line by Irons keeper Mackenzie Arnold.
Kerr sliced in from the left and rushed a 20-yard drive into the far post and the Aussie striker soon hit the far post with little effort as Chelsea stayed on the front foot.
- Katerina Svitkova and Eve Perisset received their full Chelsea debuts. Lauren James starred in Chelsea’s hard-fought win over Man City on Sunday but was named on the bench.
- Izzy Atkinson has been named on the West Ham bench despite impressing in the debut against Man Utd. Emma Snerle was also added to the squad.
The equalizer finally came five minutes before half-time when Kirby dug up a cross from the left to slam the ball into the top corner.
Chelsea stayed on offense early in the second half.
Their pressure showed just before the hour when Kerr snapped in after West Ham failed to clear after a corner that fell into the six-yard box.
England defender Bright added another in the 63rd minute, heading in from a corner.
With 15 minutes to go, Chelsea were awarded a penalty after Lucy Parker brought James down, but the striker saw a tame free-kick saved by Arnold on her left.
What the managers say…
Chelsea boss Emma Hayes:
“The team showed a great reaction to the early goal and the goal line could have been bigger. I feel like we’re improving and making progress after the Man City game – we’ve got more confidence.”
“It’s so difficult for signings to learn quickly but I’m really happy for Svitkova and Perisset who made their full debuts tonight.
“Beth England has been left out of the England squad but she has shown tremendous attitude. The current international calendar doesn’t make sense – they absolutely have to look at it, and it’s true that they are. It’s not right for the welfare of the players.
“I can’t fault the players’ commitment – it’s such a nice dressing room that inspires confidence. The side are where they should be after three games but there’s still some rust.”
West Ham boss Paul Konchesky told the BBC:
“You know Chelsea’s attacking power that they have. We talked about that before the game. I thought Fran Kirby’s goal was a bit accidental if I’m honest and then (conceded) two set pieces, which is very disappointing for us names.
“The standard games (that we conceded) were unnecessary from us, I’m disappointed in them. Obviously the goalkeeper saved a penalty too. Overall it’s hard to take but we’re playing against Chelsea and maybe we have to do that today.”
(About playing in the League Cup this weekend). “It’s been a pretty tough two weeks – three games in two weeks. I’ll try to freshen up the squad for the weekend to give some players a break before they go on international duty. I’m looking forward to the cup game.” and hope that we can also get a cup run.”
Player of the Match – Fran Kirby
Chelsea striker Fran Kirby told the BBC:
“We were really disappointed to go 1-0 down so early. We were really good at showing great character.
“I enjoy my football and I’m happy to get into the penalty area as much as possible.
“We’re so calm, we don’t stress. We used to go down and loosen up a bit. There is no one screaming out of the head. There’s a real calm in the team.
“Overall we need to improve. We were not satisfied with the result [losing to Liverpool on the opening day] but there was still that calm. We just approach every game with that composure and the belief that we can get the result.”
Analysis: A big win at the end of the season?
Sky Sports Ben Grounds:
“Chelsea go on international break after back-to-back WSL wins. It wasn’t the best start for the five-time champions but they continued their impressive form at Kingsmeadow. Wins over Manchester City and now West Ham means they’re 27 games unbeaten at home in all competitions.
“Emma Hayes knows her side were again not at their best in the early stages but the second half turned into a very one-sided affair with the 3-1 result flattering West Ham.
“That win could prove very important towards the end of the season. Hayes didn’t look entirely happy but the job was done after he produced another side in the second half. The longer the game went on the Chelseas showed themselves physicality and quality.
“West Ham were not allowed to develop a rhythm and build on the positive results of the opening period. Paul Konchesky comforted his players after the final whistle and there was a touch of offside on Sam Kerr’s goal – Chelsea’s crucial second – but the hosts were ultimately clinical when the chances arose.
“Four teams now have six points, although the teams ahead of Chelsea – Arsenal, Manchester United and Aston Villa – all played two. This season already looks like it will be hard fought at the top.”
Chelsea next game on October 16th when they go everton after the international break. west ham play the day before on October 15 with an away game AstonVilla.
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