LADIES REPORT: LINCOLN 2 CHELSEA 0
Two second half goals saw Chelsea Ladies go down to Lincoln Ladies in a closely-contested match at Ashby Avenue.
Ahead of the match, two notable changes came in the Chelsea dug-out, with the Blues welcoming goalkeeper coach David Newland for his first match since moving up from the reserves. Meanwhile, assistant manager Aidan Boxall took charge in the absence of manager Matt Beard, who was attending the imminent birth of his child.
Two weeks after defeat to Arsenal in their previous fixture, there were two changes to the side, with Sophie Perry replacing Lara Fay at right-back, while Kate Longhurst spearheaded the Blues attack in place of Helen Lander.
A cagey opening to the match saw neither side establish any particular dominance, with Dani Buet providing the visitors' best early chance, her looping, long-range effort dipping just over the bar.
The Blues spurned a great opportunity to take the lead on 18 minutes. After Buet's deep corner, Sophie Ingle's ball back across found the head of Dunia Susi, whose header looked to be heading for the bottom corner, only to be turned over the bar by the outstretched leg of Longhurst.
Meanwhile, Chelsea goalkeeper Carly Telford remained largely untested throughout the opening 45 minutes, twice holding comfortably from Precious Hamilton as the first half ended goalless.
After the interval, Chelsea came close to breaking the deadlock just after the hour mark, as Buet's fierce free-kick from 25 yards cannoned back off the crossbar. Despite coming close to opening the scoring, it was the hosts that would make the breakthrough four minutes later.
Latching onto a pass in behind the Chelsea defence, Lincoln striker Carla Cantrall lifted the ball over Telford to give the hosts the lead on 66 minutes.
After finding themselves behind in the match, with the Blues committing extra players forward, Lincoln again breached the Chelsea backline. Cantrall was again at the heart of the action, the forward raced to meet a through ball, before lashing home via the near post, to seal the three points for the hosts with two minutes remaining.
After seeing his side slip to defeat, Blues assistant boss Boxall was disappointed at the manner in which the goals were conceded. 'Two bad pieces of defending cost us,' he said.
'0-0 would have been a fair reflection on the game because I don't think either goalkeeper really had to make a save.
'Over the 90 minutes I thought we were pretty solid other than the two goals but overall offensively we didn't use the ball well enough,' he admitted.
Chelsea Ladies now look to get their campaign back on track with a trip to Liverpool on Sunday July 1 at 2pm.
Chelsea (4-4-2): Carly Telford (C), Sophie Perry, Gemma Bonner, Sophie Ingle, Claire Rafferty, Helen Bleazard (Ashlee Hincks 59), Katie Sherwood, Dani Buet, Dunia Susi, Laura Coombs (Sue Lappin 88), Kate Longhurst (Helen Lander 76)
Unused Subs: Sarah Quantrill, Victoria Williams, Drew Spence