Ladies pre-season starts with a win

Chelsea Ladies opened their pre-season campaign with a 2-0 victory over Hyundai Steel Red Angels thanks to goals from Maren Mjelde and Millie Bright (pictured).

The first of six friendly matches ahead of the FA WSL Spring Series took place behind closed doors at the home of Carshalton Athletic, against a side who have won the WK League in South Korea for the past four seasons.

New signings Mjelde and Crystal Dunn both made their first starts for the club, with another new arrival, Erin Cuthbert, appearing in the second half, and it was the Norwegian international who opened the scoring after half-time with a right-footed strike from 20 yards.

Last season's Players' Player of the Year Bright added the second with a header from a cross by Eniola Aluko to ensure we began our preparations for the new campaign with a victory.

'The first 45 minutes, in particular, we were very impressive,' Emma Hayes said. 'We were on the front foot and our pressing game was the highlight as it set the tone and we gave them no time on the ball.

'Although we didn't score, Gemma Davison hit the bar and we were on top and playing well.

'We made wholesale changes after the break and the first goal arrived soon after when Maren rifled a shot into the top corner. She showed good versatility playing as sweeper and then in midfield, and I was also impressed with Jade Bailey when she came in at sweeper.

'It was a thoroughly deserved victory and I'm really pleased with the manner in we defended. Overall, I don't think Viggy made a save, and that's against the champions of Korea.

'It was pleasing to see us developing good habits from the start, particularly defensively. There was a bit of rustiness, with players still working on their fitness, but that is to be expected at this stage.

'They are a very good side, technically outstanding, which is what you expect from an Asian team. They'd be among the top 12 clubs in Europe, so coping against that style bodes well for us.

'I expect Rosengard will be another step up for us on Sunday in our next match and they will provide a tough challenge.

'Ramona Bachmann should be available for that one and it will be lovely to see our supporters again as I'm sure we'll have a decent following behind us.'

First half (3-4-2-1): Lindahl; Fahey, Mjelde, Bright; Blundell, Carney, Chapman, England; Davison, Ji; Dunn

Second half: (3-4-2-1): Lindahl; trialist, Bailey, Bright; Blundell, Mjelde, Coombs, Rafferty; Cuthbert, Dunn, Aluko

-          On Sunday it is an 11am kick-off for the  pre-season match against Rosengard. The venue is Carshalton Athletic FC.