• By football reporter

Chelsea close gap on leaders Arsenal to two points after 3-0 win at Everton




By Football,Reporter Erin Cuthbert’s long-ranger was the pick of the goals as Chelsea moved to within two points of the top of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League table with a comfortable win at Everton. Chelsea were out of sight by half time, with Sam Kerr, Guro Reiten and Curthert all scoring before the half-hour mark and they are now on Arsenal’s coattails at the top of the table. The Blues also have a game in hand and on this form will be tough to stop as they chase more silverware. The Toffees were without Anna Anvegaard, so good at the weekend against Leicester, and star players Toni Duggan, Kenza Dali and Sandy MacIver were left on the bench. But Chelsea wasted no time in breaking the deadlock and it was too easy from an Everton point of view. Sophie England crossed for Kerr to steer her glancing header into the far corner. And from then, Chelsea took over. Minutes later the ball fell to Reiten on the edge of the penalty area, she struck a crisp shot that took a deflection into the roof of the net. Kerr almost glanced another header in in the early stages, as Chelsea continued to dominate and Pernille Harder curled a shot straight at Courtney Brosnan. Harder then crossed for ex-Liverpool star Niamh Charles to head into the side-netting. It was no surprise when the third goal went in. Without being closed down, Cuthbert let fly from range. Brosnan managed to get a hand on it but the power of the strike took the ball into the net. Chelsea showed no signs of their troubles off the park and would have appreciated an evening that must have felt like a training match for them at times. Hanna Bennison and Danielle Turner came closest for the Toffees who improved after the break but never looked like troubling Chelsea keeper Zecira Musovic. To follow the action and sign up for The FA Player’s live Barclays FA Women’s Super League coverage visit womenscompetitions.thefa.com Everton: (4-2-3-1): 18 Courtney Brosnan; 3 Danielle Turner, 20 Megan Finnigan, 6 Gabby George, 30 Poppy Pattinson; 22 Aurora Galli, 5 Nathalie Bjorn; 11 Claire Emslie, 8 Izzy Christiansen ©, 28 Hanna Bennison; 10 Simone Magill. Substitutes: 17 Lucy Graham for Bjorn 45, 21 Leonie Maier for Bennison 69, 13 Valerie Gauvin for Magill 69, 9 Toni Duggan for Christiansen 81, 7 Kenza Dali for Galli 81 Substitutes not used: 1 Sandy MacIver, 26 Grace Clinton. Goals: Bookings: Red Cards: Chelsea: (3-4-3): 1 Zecira Musovic; 4 Millie Bright ©, 3 Aniek Nouwen, 7 Jess Carter; 21 Niamh Charles, 5 Sophie Ingle, 22 Erin Cuthbert, 11 Guro Reiten; 17 Jessie Fleming, 20 Sam Kerr, 23 Permille Harder. Substitutes: 16 Magdalena Eriksson for Charles 61, 24 Drew Spence for Cuthbert 61, 27 Alsu Abdullina for Reiten 75, 9 Bethany England for Harder 75, 18 Maren Mjelde for Nouwen 81 Substitutes not used: 10 Sun Yun Ji, , 19 Lauren James, 25 Jonna Anderson, 30 Ann-Katrin Berge Goals: Kerr 7, Reiten 15, Cuthbert 295 Bookings: Red cards: Referee: James Bell (first-half) Ed Duckworth (second-half)…NOTE: Bell was injured in the first-half. Chelsea goalscorer Erin Cuthbert: “It was a really professional performance from the team. We wanted a fast start, we wanted to build on the momentum we had from the weekend with all the excitement we had with a late winner. It was important to make a fast start and get an early goal because as soon as we get an early goal we settle into the game, like we did today. “This team has got a lot of individual quality, so it is important that we get the ball down and play. I think when we are under stress that is maybe when we don’t do it as much. But having a bit of calm about us tonight and getting an early goal, we were able to get the ball down and play football and move it around the field. It was really nice to watch. “It wasn’t a bad one, it is one of my better ones. As soon as the ball comes rolling to me on the edge of the box that is my dream. I have done a lot of them in my rehab lately, so I didn’t think twice about it, I just hit it. I bought a ticket and won the raffle today.” Everton captain Izzy Christiansen: “It was tough to take in the first-half. Coming back from three goals down to the champions of this league is a very difficult task and one which I don’t think many teams have ever done. “We knew we had made it hard for ourselves for the second-half but what Chris (Roberts) asked us for a response, to be resilient, to be hard to beat, to tidy up and to be more compact and I think we did that. We were brave, we moved the ball much better and we stifled them. “If we had that same fight in the first-half it could have been a different story. I am proud of the response for the second-half but we are very disappointed for the first-half performance. “I’d say there was a little bit of naivety with their goals, we were maybe a bit too passive. We were late pressing the ball all the time. We were second-guessing where they were going to play the ball all the time.”