Chelsea’s 33-game unbeaten run in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League is over with Emma Hayes’ side having fallen to a 2-1 home defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion this afternoon.
The Blues were shockingly dispatched by a well organised Brighton & Hove Albion side at Kingsmeadow, although they remain at the top of the table.
Chelsea began the game the more brightly and they opened up the scoring in the fifth minute through Sam Kerr. The visitors were quick to respond with Aileen Whelan levelling matters three minutes later and they held their own from there. Ultimately, Albion finished as deserved winners after Carly Telford was unable to stop Megan Connolly scoring directly from a corner in the second half.
From kick-off, Chelsea appeared to be their normal selves after an early chance, resulting from a Megan Walsh mistake, gave Kerr the opportunity to put Emma Hayes’ side into the lead, however, the Albion keeper recovered well forcing a corner. Despite surviving that attack, The Seagulls were unable to stop Kerr from scoring from the resulting corner as Chelsea took an early lead.
Albion were unwilling to surrender to the superiority of the league leaders, responding almost instantly as Whelan headed home on the line to equalise two minutes later. From here on in, Albion provided an extraordinary team performance limiting Chelsea to half-chances with shots from Kerr and Beth England falling into the palms of Megan Walsh. Welsh international Sophie Ingle provided Chelsea with their clearest chance of the first half other than Kerr’s goal as she headed Erin Cuthbert’s corner towards goal, only to see the ball cleared off the line.
Albion continued to frustrate Chelsea in the second half, forcing Blues boss Hayes into a triple substitution in a bid to produce a spark. One of those substitutes, Pernille Harder, came close to scoring the winner when she toe-poked a cross towards goal but the ball rebounded off the post and once more fell into the hands of Walsh.
The Seagulls continued their resolute performance and they got their just rewards, taking the lead in the 77th minute as Telford failed to deal with a Connolly corner which somehow landed in the net.
Chelsea began to up their tempo going into the final 10 minutes but Ji So-yun and Harder failed with their goal attempts as Hope Powell’s Brighton & Hove Albion side hung on for victory.
Hayes will be frustrated to have seen her side lose to an Albion team in poor form and she will be hoping for much better when Chelsea take on Arsenal on Wednesday evening.