• By football reporter

Fleming’s strike secured three vital points for Blues in 1-0 away to Villa


The Chelsea fans are out in force. Picture: Greg James

By Football Reporter


Jessie Fleming’s first-half strike stretched Chelsea’s run of Barclays FA WSL wins to five games with a narrow 1-0 victory over Aston Villa.

Fleming ran onto Ji So-yun’s ball after Elisha N’Dow struggled to intercept the pass, and the midfielder calmy slipped it past Hannah Hampton to score the game’s only goal.

The Blues limited Villa to only two shots throughout, whilst registering 16 attempts on goal themselves and enjoying 75% possession.

Villa recorded their third consecutive loss, while Chelsea will look to keep up their momentum when they face Swiss side Servette in Champions League action on Tuesday.

Visitors Chelsea, who punched their ticket to the FA Cup final last weekend, dominated proceedings at Banks’s Stadium from kick-off.

It only seemed a matter of time before the Blues attack paid off, the Canadian international running onto Ji’s delightful chipped pass before placing the ball past the helpless Hampton into the bottom corner.

Ji and Erin Cuthbert were both denied by the Aston Villa crossbar in a matter of minutes as Emma Hayes’ team upped their tempo and increased in confidence.

Hampton’s smart save early in the second half denied Beth England from close distance after Cuthbert dispossessed Anita Asante inside the hosts’ penalty area before Ji’s free-kick flew inches wide.

Emma Hayes’s side settled into the second half, with Sam Kerr and Fran Kirby introduced to kill off the game in the final 20 minutes. Villa boss Ward partnered Shania Hayles with Alisha Lehmann in attack, but the Blues defence held firm to take all three points.

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Chelsea manager Emma Hayes said: “It was probably how I thought the game would be. They’re in a 5-4-1 block and sitting really low, you have to work hard to drag them out of spaces and I thought we did that well in the first half.

“The run from Jessie (Fleming), the movement from Beth was good and we built on that. We’ve hit the bar, twice. I think we should have gone in at two or three and didn’t build on it in the second half.


“No I felt calm [about the narrow lead] because I think there’s experience in the group. They knew what the game was, like I said at 1-0, you’re away from home, the opponent is going to be buoyed by the opportunity. I thought Ann(-Katrin Berger) was precise, she was calm and confident. As I said the team have eliminated errors."


Aston Villa manager Carla Ward said: “It wasn’t a 45 minute game or a 60 minute game. I thought we were sensational for 90 minutes. We posed them problems throughout. We set up in a way that certainly asked questions of them but the girls were sensational today. The only disappointment is that we’ve came away with no points.


“They’ve competed against world-class players out there and if you look at that last 10-15 minutes, we were the ones on top, pushing them back and you could see a little bit of nerves in them. Had there been another five minutes, you never know. I’m massively proud of the girls today.


Aston Villa: (5-4-1 ): 1 Hannah Hampton ; 2 Sarah Mayling; 3 Meaghan Sargeant, 5 Elisha N’Dow; 6 Anita Asante; 33 Mayumi Pacheco; 8 Chloe Arthur; 21 Marisa Ewers; 4 Remi Allen; 10 Ramona Petzelberger; 7 Alisha Lehmann

Substitutes: 31 Rusesha Littlejohn for Ewers 63’, 22 Shania Hayles for Arthur 81’

Substitutes not used: 23 Sian Rogers; 11 Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah, 12 Jodie Hutton; 15 Natalie Haigh; 18 Freya Gregory; 19 Laura Blindkildle Brown; 20 Gemma Davison

Goals:

Bookings: Remi Allen 56’

Chelsea: (3-4-3): 30 Ann-Katrin Berger; 4 Millie Bright; 3 Aniek Nouwen; 16 Magdalena Eriksson; 17 Jessie Fleming; 5 Sophie Ingle; 10 Ji So-yun; 25 Jonna Andersson; 21 Niamh Charles; 9 Bethany England; 22 Erin Cuthbert

Substitutes: Jess Carter for Nouwen 45’, Sam Kerr for England 72’, Fran Kirby for Cuthbert 72’, Melanie Leupolz for Fleming 83’

Substitutes not used: 1Zecira Musovic; 11 Guro Reiten; 24 Drew Spence, 28 Carly Telford, 29 Jorja Fox

Goals: Fleming 22’

Bookings: Ingle 28’, Andersson 90+1’