Chelsea have returned to the top of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League table after beating struggling Aston Villa 2-0 at Kingsmeadow.
Chelsea will have been disappointed with their slow start to the game, however, the telepathic connection between forwards Fran Kirby and Sam Kerr struck twice as the South West Londoners pushed past relegation-threatened Aston Villa to return to the top of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League table.
Villa were able to manage the threats of Chelsea well in the opening minutes with The Blues’ first effort coming as late as the 12th minute. Midfielder Jessie Fleming, looking for her first goal, attempted to curl the ball into the top right corner but saw her effort blocked by Villa defender Asmita Ale.
The slow start from Chelsea proved to be nothing to worry about as Emma Hayes’ much-changed side began to find their feet and Marcus Bignot’s side began to feel the pressure. Left-back Hannah Blundell provided a warning shot in the 20th minute as her half-volley was deflected wide of the post
Soon after, the deadly duo of Kirby and Kerr linked up once more. England International Kirby floated an early cross towards Kerr who beat defender Ale to the ball and headed in off the post.
Unfortunately for The Villains, captain Marisa Ewers was struggling with a calf injury and was substituted on the half-hour. Chelsea took encouragement from this, upping the gear once more as Kirby again connected with Kerr but the Australian international let the ball run, allowing Villa’s keeper Lisa Weiss to close down the angle and block the shot.
Two minutes before the break, Magda Eriksson had a great opportunity to double Chelsea’s lead. Guro Reiten’s awkward corner found the Swedish international six yards out but The Blues captain was unable to hit the target.
Villa continued to keep Chelsea relatively quiet early in the second half, although, Bignot’s side lost their high levels of concentration 11 minutes into the half when Ale attempted to shield the ball. Weiss rushed to clear the ball but Fleming got a leg to it, deflecting it towards Kirby. The Blues attacker found her strike partner Kerr, who finished over the straddling Weiss.
From this point, Chelsea manager Hayes started to look ahead to VfL Wolfsburg in midweek by taking off Erin Cuthbert, Kirby and Kerr. The changes made no real impact with The Blues in control of the final 30 minutes, easing to all three points and their fifth win in a row in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League.
Chelsea now return to Budapest for their UEFA Women’s Champions League quarter-final second leg tie against VfL Wolfsburg on Wednesday while Aston Villa travel to Everton for their next match in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League on Easter Sunday.