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  • Writer's pictureBy Paul Lagan at Kingsmeadow Stadium

James hits two as Chelsea smash five past Leicester to stay top of the WSL

Action rom Chelsea v Leicester City. Picture: Paul Lagan
Action rom Chelsea v Leicester City. Picture: Paul Lagan

By Paul Lagan at Kingsmeadow

Chelsea 5 v Leicester City 2

Lauren James hit a brace, Sam Kerr scored again, an own goal and yet another strike from substitute Aggie Beever-Jones late on summed up Chelsea's attacking prowess as they overcame rough and ready Leicester City 5-2 at Kingsmeadow this afternoon to remain top of the league.

The fact the WSL champions leached in two goals, perfectly summed up the game – clinical up front, a tad leaking at the back.

The first half saw five goals as the visitors just wouldn't go away, twice they reduced the deficit to a single goal.

But the second half was a different affair – this was champion's Chelsea at their imperious best.

They showed greater solidification and City were only in their half a handful of times, and when it counted Ann-Katrin Berger came up trumps.

Well that didn't take long - one minute and 36 seconds in fact – Lauren James took advantage of some sloppy defending in midfield, the ball was slotted to her and she out paced the central partnership of the visitors before slotting home past Janina Leitzig.

Two minutes later and James was at it again. This time her goal-bound shot was parried into the back of defender Courtney Nevin and the ball rebounded into the back of the net to double the score on four minutes.

Leicester recovered their composure after the opening salvo, and while not posing a threat on he Chelsea goal, showed enough to suggest they could get a more serious handle on the game.

And they did on 26 minutes. Some excellent, controlled play from the back saw the ball eventually passed to Jutta Rantala on the left edge of the Chelsea are. She took a left-footer which zipped powerfully wide of Ann-Katrin Berger to reduced the deficit to one.

Erin Cuthbert did have the ball in the back of the net on 38 minutes but she was adjudged to be offside.

But the third goal wasn't far b behind and it was all don to the power and determination of Niamh Charles who outfought CJ Bott on the left before sending in the perfect byline cross to in-running Sam Kerr who smashed the ball home from the near post position.

Bott partially redeemed herself two minute later when she hacked off the line a shot by Charles.

A thunderbolt of a free kick by Aimee Palmer saw Berger tip the b all onto her post but Sam Tierney was quickest to respond and poked then b all home from close range to again reduce the deficit to just one.

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

Chelsea showed greater purpose and understanding at the restart and started to dominate possession.

It was no surprise that James would show her class when given the chance, and on 58 minutes, she again did that. Racing clear of a floundering Leicester defence, struggling to keep up with her, she simply clipped the ball confidently over the advancing Leitzig to make it 4-2.

The Blues' head coach Emma Hayes sensing the game was just about won, decided to consolidate their position and spare some players with a triple substitution – on came Sjoeke Nusken, Ashley Lawrence and Aggie Beever-Jones - off went Charles, James, and Kirby.

Sam Kerr's time ended with 10 minutes left on the clock, Jessie Fleming replaced her.

Berger made two excellent and vital saves within second of each other to thwart the rare attack from Leicester.

Maren Mjelde soon followed to be replaced by Aniek Nouwen.

But it was Beever-Jones who notched up the final goal, her header hitting the post and dropping over the line to make it number five on 88 minutes.

Teams: Berger, Ingle, Carter, James, Kirby, Perisset, Mjelde, Rytting Kaneryd, Kerr, Charles, Cuthbert

Subs: Musovic, Hampton, Fishel, Nouwen, Nusken, Lawrence, Fleming, Buchanan, Beever-Jones

Leicester City: Leipzig, Nevis, Tierney, Bott, Howard, Palmer, Rantala, Petermann, Whelan, Cayman, Thiebaud

Subs: Kop, Robinson, Green, Siemens, Goodwin, Cain, Baker, Sherwood, Draper


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