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  • Writer's pictureBy Paul Lagan at Chigwell Construction Stadium

Sub Cuthbert shores up midfield and scores goal that seals 2-0 win over impressive Hammers

By Paul Lagan at Chigwell Construction Stadium


West Ham 0 v Chelsea 2


Erin Cuthbert came off the bench, soothed the nerves of the ailing midfield and then scored a hummer of a goal that secured all three points as the Blues beat West Ham 2-0 away and returned to the top of the WSL.

With an eye on the Champions League encounter this week against Ajax and a need to give cameo minutes to several players returning from injury, this was a Chelsea starting 11 that looked as if it could creak under the pressure.

And to West Ham's credit, they did their homework, kept five sometimes six in defence whenever the Blues had the ball and then harried and scuffed for any spare balls to start a counter attack.

And it worked for large chuck of the game.

The Blues took an early lead through the boot of Aggie Beever-Jones, but until head coach Emma Hayes was confident she could afford to bring on the subs, the blues looked vulnerable.

The Hammers had a great chance in the first 10 seconds as Viviane Asseyi almost latched on to a right wing cross by Riko Ueki. But the striker just headed wide of Hannah Hampton's goal.

But straight away the Blues went up the other end and smashed the ball home from an Beever-Jones thunderbolt that zipped past Mackenzie Arnold to put the visitors 1-0 up.

On a quick counter on six minutes, the Blues were all over the place in defence and Shelina Zadorsky had the simplest of chances, but panicked and slashed the ball wide of the goal.

Beever-Jones should have doubled the score on 12 minutes when she raced clear on goal after a Chelsea counter.

But she took one touch too many, and it was a tad heavy allowing Arnold to come out and snaffle the shot.

The home side thought they had levelled two minutes later when Hayashi tucked the ball home, but she was adjudged to have strayed offside.

When Beever-Jones lost the ball deep in the West Ham half, it did not seem obviously dangerous for the Blues. But a long run by Ueki resulted in her taking a chance at a 35-yarder. It almost worked as the ball pinged over the head of Hampton but clipped the top of the crossbar.

It was almost a goal of the season contender – almost.

With seconds remaining of the 45 minutes, West Ham broke free again. This time Asseyi really should have buried her shot. In stead she whacked it high over the Chelsea crossbar and deep I to the stand behind.

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

The home side certainly looked more comfortable on the ball. Too many lost balls by the visitors started too play into the hands of counter attacking Hammers.

As a consequence, Hayes made her first changes on 55 minutes – off went ineffectual Sjoeke Nusken and Jelena Cankovic and on came Cuthbert and Catarina Macario.

They were soon followed by Beever-Jones and James leaving the pitch and Mayra Ramirez and Fran Kirby entering the fray on 62 minutes.

Ramirez was very unlucky on 69 minutes when excellent set up play by Macario fed the Colombian and her clipped shot dribbled towards goal, but bounced off the foot of Arnold's right post.

The changes were working better in that Chelsea retained more possession, but they were still subject to the Hammers' high pressure tactics and quick counters.

A lovely free kick by Asseyi had the correct height and pace but went wide of Hampton's right post and for a goal kick.

Guro Reiten had 10 minutes to influence the game when she replaced Johanna Rytting Kaneryd.

But it was the other substiute Cuthbert who took the game by the scruff of the neck and with three minutes remaining, she latched o to a deep corner by Macario, took one touch just inside the West Ham penalty area and thumped a rasper that zinged past everyone, and before Arnold could even see, it smashed into the back of the net to double the Blues lead and put the Blues ahead of Manchester City on goal difference.


Teams: West Ham: Arnold, Smith, Shimizu, Tysiak, Ueki, Zadorsky, Ziu, Denton, Hayashi, Asseyi, Gorry

Subs: Walsh, O'Hanlon, Bergman Lundin, Snerle, Harries, Cook, Cissoko, Ademiluyi

Chelsea: Hampton, Nusken, Carter, Leupolz, James, Lawrence, Rytting Kaneryd, Charles, Buchanan, Cank0vic, Beever-Jones

Subs:Musovic, Ingle, Macario, Reiten, Kirby, Perisset, Cuthbert, Ramirez, Bjorn

Referee: Megan Wilson


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