Ladies report: Bristol City 0 Chelsea 4

A pair of second-half goals by Fran Kirby helped Chelsea to a resounding victory at Bristol City which means a win over Birmingham on Saturday should seal the Spring Series trophy.

The Blues led at half-time through Millie Bright's well-directed header from a Maren Mjelde free-kick and then it was a finishing masterclass by Kirby after the break. The England international expertly netted our second from Ramona Bachmann's assist and then benefited from a loose back pass to slide home our third.

A fine performance by Bachmann was rewarded late on with another superb goal after good work by Bright in the build-up and our vastly superior goal difference means three points at Birmingham will, barring the unlikeliest of scenarios, result in silverware returning to the club.

Following the 7-0 win over Liverpool, Emma Hayes made five changes to her side. The goalkeeper and defence remained the same, but for the second game running both wing-back positions were changed as Hannah Blundell and Bethany England came in for Gemma Davison and Crystal Dunn. Drew Spence, Erin Cuthbert and Bachmann also replaced Karen Carney, Ji So-Yun and Kirby in the front three.

It was a slow start by the Blues, with Bristol enjoying the better chances of the opening exchanges, the best of which fell to the feet of on-loan Chelsea midfielder Jodie Brett, who shot straight at Carly Telford when well placed.

From that moment on, though, it was virtually one-way traffic and there were signs of the attacking slickness which had been so evident against Liverpool when Mjelde twice broke clear down the right only to see her crosses snuffed out.

The Norwegian went close with a right-footed curler from the edge of the box which crept just wide and Bachmann also missed the target with a similar effort, while the goalkeeper had to be spot on with her challenge outside the box to snuff out a great opportunity for Cuthbert.

However, the Blues weren't to be denied for much longer and our opener was as simple as they come. Mjelde's pin-point free-kicks have been a feature of her play during her opening season as a Chelsea player and she clipped a delightful ball onto the head of Bright, who brilliantly directed it past Leach and into the far corner.

Spence and Cuthbert both came close to a second from threatening positions inside the box, and a 1-0 lead was perhaps the least we could have expected from a strong first-half showing.

The Scottish forward made way for Fran Kirby at the break and the Blues thought we'd scored a second just five minutes into the second half when Mjelde played in Bachmann who finished with aplomb, but the linesman's flag was raised for the tightest of offside calls.

Dunn was introduced in place of England soon after, and she wasted little time making an impact. After showing great tenacity to win back possession deep in her own half the American international picked out Kirby deep in opposition territory. An exchange of passes with Bachmann gave her a yard of space in the box and the Blues No14 doesn't pass up opportunities like that, reversing a clinical finish in at the near post to leave the keeper rooted to the spot.  

Two soon became three, and in truth it was gift-wrapped by Bristol, who were masters of their own downfall. A loose back pass by Brett was intercepted by Kirby and she slid the ball past Leach for her second of the evening.

Having made the game safe, Chelsea were playing some beautiful football and it was another lovely move for our fourth. Bright drove forward from centre-half and picked out Bachmann inside the area; there was still plenty of work to be done, but she showed great composure to hold off the challenge of a defender before firing past the keeper.

Kirby missed a late one-on-one to seal her hat-trick, but it didn't take the gloss of another thumping victory for the Blues. We now head to Birmingham City on Saturday to close out the Spring Series with our destiny in our own hands.

Bristol City: Leach, Alexander, Arthur, Ladd (c), Emslie, Brett, Agg (Hemp 63), Brown, Wilson (Dykes 58), Turner (Matthews 80), Evans
Unused subs: Watson, Fergusson, Syme, Woodham

Chelsea (3-4-2-1): Telford, Flaherty, Cooper, Bright; Blundell, Mjelde, Chapman (c), England (Dunn 63); Cuthbert (Kirby h/t), Spence (Ji 67); Bachmann
Unused subs: Kitching, Davison, Carney
Scorers: Bright 31, Kirby 65, 72, Bachmann 79
Booked: Flaherty

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