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  • Writer's pictureBy Paul Lagan at Kingsmeadow Stadium

Fishel to the rescue as Blues come from behind to beat West Ham 3-1 in FA Cup but only after extra time

Action from Chelsea v West Ham Picture: Paul Lagan
Action from Chelsea v West Ham Picture: Paul Lagan

By Paul Lagan at Kingsmeadow Stadium

Chelsea 3 v West Ham 1 (after extra time)

Mia Fishel came off the substitutes bench and quickly revitalised Chelsea's bid to retain the FA Cup with a fine goal, that equalised West Ham's shock opener.

That set the Blues on the road to recovery which saw them overcome their plucky but limited neighbours 3-1 but only after extra time.

This was poor performance from the Blues, who like all women's teams were coming back from a winter break in play.

They looked leggy and still savouring the Morocco sun where they went for a warm winter training break.

The visitors took advantage of a defensive error to score a fine breakaway goal, but when American striker Fishel was introduced to the game, the match changed.

A lovely glancing header by Erin Cuthbert put the Blues into the lead, and it was left to another substitute Aggie Beever-Jones to finally put the rugged opposition to the sword.

The home side totally dominated the opening exchanges, while West Ham looked as if they had the potential to strike on the break.

Lauren James had a few long-range efforts, neither troubled Mackenzie Arnold. Erin Cuthbert got a sighter on eight minutes with a header but that too was wide of the mark.

But remarkably on 18 minutes the visitors took the lead and it was straight from the route one play book.

A long deep free-kick given for a Guro Reiten offside was brilliantly controlled by Viviane Asseyi, who took advantage of a terrible mistimed attack on the ball by Kadeisha Buchanan, allowing it to go over her head. The live-wire striker then took two paces forward before unleashing a low, angled left-footer that cut across Zecira Musovic and into the back of her net.

Reiten rattled the West Ham crossbar on 38 minutes, but was adjudged to be offside.

An Eve Perisset free kick on 45 minutes, was well saved by Arnold who dived low to er left and parried the ball away for a corner.

There were no changes by either side at half-time.

But it was much the same as the first half – Ashley Lawrence did smack the ball against the angle of post and crossbar on 54 minutes as the Blues up the tempo slightly in search of the equaliser.

But soon to be departing head coach Emma Hayes had seen enough and opted, on 59 minutes to bring on striker Mia Fishel, midfielder Sophie Ingle, and Fran Kirby.

West Ham replaced Emma Snerle for Jess Ziu three minutes later.

Fishel got her goal, Chelsea fans were in raptures and a general sense of relief echoed round the stadium.

It was an excellent goal by the American on 70 minutes. As she collected the ball facing away from goal, turned 180 degrees and punched a smart right footer that Arnold could only help hit the roof of the net.

West Ham boss Rehanne Skinner then took off Katrina Gorry and brought on Anouk Denton on 75 minutes.

Another change soon after saw Emma Harries replacing Riko Ueki.

With no indication that either side could show any clinical edge to win the game, the four minutes of added time led most fans to suspect that extra time was on the way.

Hayes brought off ineffectual Reiten for Sjoeke Nusken in the 94th minute.

James missed a sitter with the last kick of the regulation 90 minutes.

The comeback was complete by the Blues 11 minutes into the first period of extra-time. Cuthbert managed to get her head to a right byline cross and glance the ball beyond the desperate dive of Arnold.

Substitute Aggie Beever-Jones, a firm fans favourite scored the third seconds before the end of the first half, a lovely dink was enough to see the Blues through to the fifth round of the FA Cup.

The last throw of the die for West Ham saw Shannon Cooke replaced by Princess Ademiluyi with 10 minutes left on the clock.

Teams: Chelsea: Musovic, Ingle, Carter, James, Reiten, Lawrence, Kirby, Perisset, Rytting Kaneryd, Cuthbert, Buchanan

Subs: Hampton, Fishel, Nusken, Leupolz, Fleming, Mjelde, Cankovic, Beever-Jones, Bjorn

West Ham: Arnold, Smith, Shimizu, Tysiak, Snerle, Ueki, Zadorsky, Hayashi, Asseyi, Cooke, Gorry

Subs: Walsh, O'Hanlon, Atkinson, Harries, Ziu, Denton, Stapleton, Ademiluyi, Flannery

Referee:Emily Heaslip


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