England’s brace clips wings of plucky Eagles in Chelsea’s 3-0 Conti Cup win at Hayes Lane
Chelsea cruised to a 3-0 win against Crystal Palace at Hayes Lane this afternoon to maintain a 100 % winning record in their Continental Tyres Cup group campaign.
A brace from England striker Beth England and a drive from Drew Spence was enough to overhaul the limited but plucky Eagles.
This is a competition that Chelsea boss Emma Hayes would prefer not to be involved with - she has said she would like more WSL1 matches to make up the fixture calendar.
But she has to play them, and it allows her to give match minutes to fringe players and those returning from injury.
Not in the squad was Fran Kirby, who, it’s believed, the use of a 3G artificial pitch would not do her knees much good. That said, she wasn’t needed as the west Londoners took their time to break the spirit and defence of the Eagles before killing them off.
Anita Asante lasted just three minutes, pulling up on the 3G pitch with a thigh muscle injury while she tracked after a loose ball.
Before Emma Hayes made the actual substitution, bringing on Jonna Andersson, on 10 minutes, Ramona Bachmann saw her goal-bound effort blocked off the line by Freya Holdaway and Drew Spence missed a sitter of a free header.
Palace had a rare foray up front with Magda Musened trying her luck, just inside the Chelsea penalty area, but her right-footed shot on 13 minutes, was well wide of Carly Telford’s goal.
On the stroke of half-time, Jess Carter let fly from 25-yards and the ball rattled the Palace crossbar.
There were no changes by either sides at half-time.
The pattern of play, however remained the same with the Blues, - playing in white, dominate in possession, but lacking the killer instinct close to the hime side’s goal.
Eventually class told and, on 51 minutes, after excellent interchange between Bachmann and Cuthbert on the right, the Scotland winger cut the ball across the byline and striker England slotted hime from close range.
England notched her second, three minutes later. A regulation regulation free-kick, from the left, was nodded home with the
clinical finish sorely missing in the opening 45 minutes.
Hayes opted to give Norway international Guro a run out at the expense of Maren Mjelde
Drew Spence crashed home number three with 16 minutes left - after a simple pass from England left the attacking midfielder free to strike from just outside the PlCe penalty area.
Teams: Chelsea: Telford, Thorisdottir, Bright, Asante, Carter, England, Mjelde, Cooper, Cuthbert, Bachmann, Spence
Subs: Ingle, Ji, Reiten, Eriksson, Andersson, Berger
Palace: Lucy Gillett, Annabelle Johnson, Nicole Pepper, Amy Goddard, Freya Holdaway, Aoife Hurley, Ciara, Watling, Leeta Rutherford, Ella, Rutherford, Magda Musened, Cherelle, Khasaal
Subs: Jordan Butler, Hannah Mackenzie, Lily Stevens, Liz Waldheim, Rea Laudatory, Emma, Gibbon, Ashleigh Goddard
Referee: Abigail Byrne