REACTION: OFF THE MARK WITH A GREAT START
As Chelsea Ladies began their FA WSL campaign with three points, the Blues were in a positive mood after coming from behind to beat Doncaster Rovers Belles 3-1.
For left-back Claire Rafferty the League opener also marked a long-awaited return from injury seven months after sustaining a serious cruciate ligament injury.
'It went very well,' explained Rafferty. 'It was a tough game, we did a good job in the end and it's a good start to the season which we need to build on. It wasn't our best performance and we know we can perform a lot better, but there's more to come.'
Introduced at half-time, Rafferty's overlapping runs from full-back soon paid dividends. It was Rafferty's delivery from the left that Dunia Susi poked home to put the hosts in front after Helen Lander had cancelled out Alyssa Lagona's opener for the visitors.
Double goalscorer Susi followed up on her strike against the Belles in their previous FA Cup encounter and echoed Rafferty's sentiment, focusing on the team's performance.
'The team spirit in the changing room is great, everyone's fighting for each other and it's great to be back,' said Susi, who rejoined Chelsea from Birmingham City during the close season.
With Susi coming into the squad as one of six winter signings, as well as the return of Rafferty after a long recovery process, manager Matt Beard was encouraged by his side's progress.
'We're under no illusions, we've brought in a lot of new faces over the winter and it's going to take us time to settle in and gel,' explained the Chelsea boss.
'I thought the second half was a much better performance and off the back of that alone I thought we deserved to win it.'
With three points on the board after the first fixture of the FA WSL season, the Blues now look to build on their promising form against Liverpool on Sunday 22 April at Wheatsheaf Park.
By Daniel Clarke