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  • By Paul Lagan at Stamford Bridge

Sub England soothes Blues nerves as they overcome dogged Brighton 3-1 at Kingsmeadow

By Paul Lagan at Kingsmeadow Stadium


Chelsea 3 v Brighton 1

Substitute Beth England’s goal gave the assembled Blues fans a collective sigh of relief as it halted a comeback by Brighton that threatened the champions’ title retention credentials.

Chelsea won 3-1 - strikes by Guro Reiten and Sam Kerr seemed to give the home side a decisive hold on the game.

But an early second half goal from Danielle Carter put the pressure firmly back on the champions and for a while they looked rattled.

But that England effort was just enough to restore confidence again.

Head Emma Hayes then opted for a more defensive formation, bringing in Jonna Andersson and the Blues managed to curb any attacking from the visitors to snaffle the three points.

The Blues started slowly, allowing the visitors to feel comfortable holding back with a deep defence.

However with so much possession, Chelsea gradually began to make inroads, and it was no surprise they broke the deadlock on 11 minutes. Norway winger Guro Reiten tucking home from close range.

During Brighton’s period of pressure a long-range effort was headed off the line by Magda Eriksson.

Reiten could have doubled the lead on 20 minutes but Megan Walsh was equal to the task and kicked away the low, right, drive.

Fran Kirby misdirected the ball from a perfect left byline cross from Sam Kerr. The striker nodding the ball wide of Walsh’s left post.

The second was just a kick away, and it came on 38 minutes, when a deep left wing cross by Kirby was courageously met by Sam Kerr who got to the ball before the goalkeeper and Felicity Gibbons and directed it with her head into the empty net.

There were no changes by Chelsea at half-time.

Brighton are well organised and given the chance to mix it up in the Chelsea pantry area, they are a danger.

And so it proved two minutes after the restart. The ball pinged about the Chelsea Area. The Blues could not clear their lines and Danielle Carter was on the six-yard spot as the ball dropped to her and she thrashed that ball home to make it 2-1

The hime side were clearly flustered and Carter almost equalised on 55 minutes but her goal-bound effort took a deflection for a corner.

From the resultant kick, goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger fell to the ground, clutching her side.

But after a minute’s treatment she seemed to recover.

Reiten produced a wonderful free-kick, which Walsh saved with a spectacular dive to her right to tip the ball round the post.

Beth England was introduced at the expense of Kerr and she made an instant impact.

Melanie Leupolz won a header un midfield, feeding Kirby on the right.

The England maestro cut the ball across the six-yard box to in-running England. She took one touch before unleashing a thunderous left-footer that zipped past Walsh and restored the two goal lead.

That was enough for Chelsea and they successfully saw out the remaining minutes.

Teams: Berger, Bright, Ingle, Carter Leupolz, Kirby, Eriksson, Kerr, Cuthbert, Harder Reiten

Subs: Musovic, Telford, Nouwen, England, Fleming, Charles, Spence, Andersson, Fox

Brighton, Welsh, Koivisto, Gibbons, Kerdijk, Le Tissier, Whelan, Connolly, Kaagman, Green, Carter, Williams

Subs, Stenson, Babajide, Brazil, Simpkins, Robinson, Arimoro, Bance, Cordier

Referee: Amy Fearn/


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