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  • Writer's pictureBy Paul Lagan

Kerr nets hat-trick but Chelsea’s defensive frailties are evident in 3-2 FA Cup win over Liverpool

By Paul Lagan at Kingsmeadow Stadium

Chelsea 3 v Liverpool 2

Sam Kerr scored a hat-trick that saw off dogged Liverpool 3-2 to move into the fifth round of the FA Cup, but they were made to work needlessly hard for it.

Defensive lapses which have become a significant feature of the west Londoners play in recent matches reared their ugly head at Kingsmeadow.

The majority of the 2,682 crowd were very happy to hear the whistle go at the end of the six added minutes and the relief was palpable on the pitch too from the players in Blue.

As expected, the home side dominated early possession, trying to find the chink in the armour of the Liverpool defence.

Niamh Charles almost opened the score on 16 minutes, but her header on the six-yard box from a Guro Reiten corner on the right, went inches wide of Rachael Laws.

But gradually Matt Beard’s side started to get a grip on the game and became more aggressive in their play and started to move forward with greater confidence.

This allowed Chelsea greater space and as a result, on 32 minutes, Sam Kerr was in the right position to latch onto a cross from the right by Jesse Fleming and volley into the back of the net. The ball took a slight deflection, but Laws had no chance.

Emma Hayes replaced Kadeisha Buchanan with skipper Magda Eriksson at half-time.

It took San Kerr just seven minutes to notice up number two as a fine team play saw the Australian striker free on the left and she slotted home comfortably.

Chelsea got themselve in a muddle when Millie Bright and Niamh Charles both went for the same ball in their penalty area on 62 minutes. The ball was instantly fed to Ceri Holland who unleashed a wonderful right-footed strike that zipped past Zecira Musovic and into the corner of her net.

Hayes brought off Guro Reiten and Lauren James, bringing on Sophie Ingle with Johanna Rytting Kaneryd.

Kerr should have had her hat-trick with 15 minutes to go when a sloppy, short back-pass by Liverpool defender Jasmine Matthews left Kerr free one on one with Laws. The goalkeeper did well to force Kerr to go to her right, and her shot smacked onto the outside of the netting.

But she made up for it on 79 minutes when she cooly headed home for her third after some excellent set-up play by the Blues.

She should have had a fourth straight from the Liverpool,restart but planted her right-footer wide of Laws.

But Chelsea’s defensive frailties were exploited again with six minutes left on the clock, with substitute Gemma Bonner snatching home a close-range effort to reduce the deficit to 3-2.

With six minutes added to the end of the 90 minutes, the pressure on the Blues defence was evident, but they saw off the late charge from the Reds - just.

Teams: Chelsea, Musovic, Bright, Carter, James, Reiten, Kirby, Fleming, Kerr, Charles, Buchanan

Subs: Berger, Ingle, Leupolz, Eriksson, Mjelde, Kaneryd, Abdullina, Cankovic

Liverpool: Laws, Koivisto, Fahey, Matthews, Kearns, Nagano, Lawley, Holland, Daniels, Stengel, Campbell

Subs: Cummings, Kirby, Robe, Furness, Hinds, Lundgaard, Humphrey, Bonner, Silcock



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