James’ double gives Blues all point as they beat tough Villa 3-1 at Kingsmeadow
By Paul Lagan at Kingsmeadow Stadium
Chelsea 3 v Aston Villa 1
Lauren James is a special player. A brace of goals, one with her left boot, the other with her right ensured that Chelsea beat a tough Aston Villa 3-1 at Kingsmeadow,to keep on the coattails of leaders Arsenal and Manchester United in the WSL
Sam Kerr scored the third set up by none other than James.
With recuperating manager Emma Hayes watching from the stands following her operation, the Blues stuck to their task, showed a high degree of paitence and ultimately let their superior attacking flair do the talking.
But the occasional lapse of concentration is a feature of this squad, and one that will need to be eradicated if they re to retain their title and go deep in the Champions Legue.
Better sides than Villa will take advantge.
But for now, the Blues are second, just behind Manchester United who have an unblemished 100 per cent record of five wins from five.
Arsenal will overtake Chelsea should they beat West Ham later tonight.
While Chelsea dominated possession in the early stages, they were still susceptible to the occasional foray by the visitors.
The first effort on goal, came from Norway winger Guro Reiten who thumped a venomous left-footer that Anna Leat, in goal for Villa tipped over her crossbar for a corner.
The goal was inevitable, however long it took to take.
And on 22 minutes, a fine interception by Sophie Ingle, fed Reiten on the left. Her first-time daisy-cutter back to the edge of the Villa penalty area, saw James race in, take a touch to create more space before unloading a low drive that zipped past Leat to give the Blues the lead.
Pernille Harder tried he luck from the edge of the area on 30 minutes, but Leat was equal to this shot and smothered it with relative ease.
Brilliant one-two play between Magda Eriksson, and Reiten set up Kerr. The Australian rounded Leat and from a tight angle tried to pass the ball into the net. But Leat recovered well and blocked the left-footed effort.
But the concentration levels at the back were tested , and on 36 minutes a regulation cross from the right was met by striker Rachel Daly and she slotted the ball home past Ann-Katrin Berger to level the match.
There were no changes by either side at half-time.
But with the first attack, on 46 minutes, Chelsea broke free, the ball was fed to James, on the right and she clinically dispatched a right-footer that sailed past Leat and crashed into the roof of the Villa net to restore the lead.
Kenza Dali forced a low save out of Berger on 58 minutes as the Blues entered another period when concentration was lost.
A loose ball by James gifted Dali the ball again, but the midfielder sent her shot inches over Berger’s crossbar.
While James scored twice, she also became provider. First a brilliant clipped ball fell to Sam Kerr whose header was saved by Leat.
A minute later, on 63 minutes, another brilliant pass, this time lower was met by Kerr who sliced the ball into the back of the net to make it 3-1.
From this point on, the puff went from Villa and Che;sea were happy to take advantage and see out the remaining minutes.
Teams: Berger, Bright, Ingle, James, Reiten, Perisset, Eriksson, Kerr, Cuthbert, Harder, Buchanan
Subs: Musovic, Nouwen, Carter, England, Svitkova, Fleming, Rytting Kaneryd, Charles, Abdullina
Villa: Leat, Mayling, Corsie, Lehman, Daly, Dali, Turner, Patten, Blinkilde, Hanson, Pacheco
Subs: Draper, McLoughlin, Harding, Gregory,Goodwin