LADIES REPORT: LIVERPOOL 0 CHELSEA 2
Second-half goals from Dunia Susi and Gemma Bonner saw Chelsea secure their first win in five games with a 2-0 victory over Liverpool at Skelmersdale United FC.
The trip to Merseyside was again under the leadership of assistant manager Aidan Boxall, with manager Matt Beard missing the match due to the recent birth of his daughter.
With two matches in five days, squad rotation saw four changes to the team beaten 2-0 at Lincoln in their previous outing, with Sarah Quantrill replacing Carly Telford in goal.
Meanwhile Victoria Williams, Drew Spence and Helen Lander came into the starting line-up in place of Sophie Perry, Claire Rafferty and Helen Bleazard.
The Blues began brightly, creating a string of early chances and could have taken the lead inside the opening 10 minutes, with Helen Lander heading wide from Sophie Ingle's cross. Three minutes later, stand-in captain Susi came close from Danni Buet's delivery. Susi's outstretched effort was held well by Nicky Davies in the Liverpool goal.
Midway through the first half, the Blues were in control of the match. A 30-yard drive was well held by Davies, while Kate Longhurst forced the Liverpool 'keeper into a save with the striker through on goal. Longhurst then turned provider but her cross was headed over by Susi as the first half ended goalless.
Into the second period, the hosts looked to create their own spell of pressure. Firstly, through Hannah Keryakoplis, who raced clear of the Chelsea defence before lifting her effort over the crossbar. Then, Lynda Shepherd fired a fierce long-range effort, forcing a stunning fingertip save from Quantrill.
After surviving Liverpool's positive start to the half, the visitors made the breakthrough just after the hour mark. Receiving the ball in the left channel, Lander's cross found Susi, whose flick was enough to beat Davies at the far post to give the Blues the lead.
Having gone in front with the side's first goal in three matches, the lead was almost doubled 12 minutes later. A Susi through ball picked out Longhurst, whose initial effort was parried by Davies before her follow-up was brilliantly cleared off the line by Vicky Jones.
From the resulting corner, Buet's ball was met by the head of Gemma Bonner, heading home via the crossbar to put the Blues two up with 15 minutes remaining.
After the match, assistant boss Boxall was pleased with the improvement of his side defensively and was encouraged by the team's display ahead of the visit of Arsenal in the Ladies' next fixture.
'We've been working on things over the last couple of weeks,' explained Boxall. 'We didn't make any individual mistakes today and we've kept a clean sheet. If they can reproduce that kind of performance we're in good shape for Thursday.'
Chelsea Ladies' WSL campaign continues with the visit of champions Arsenal on Thursday 5 July at Wheatsheaf Park.
Chelsea (4-4-2): Sarah Quantrill; Danni Buet, Gemma Bonner, Victoria Williams, Sophie Ingle; Dunia Susi (C), Katie Sherwood, Laura Coombs, Drew Spence (Sue Lappin 78); Helen Lander (Helen Bleazard 70), Kate Longhurst.
Unused subs Carly Telford, Sophie Perry, Claire Rafferty, Ashlee Hincks.
By Daniel Clarke