Ladies report: Chelsea 7 Liverpool 0
news Sun 28 May 2017
It was a fitting farewell to Wheatsheaf Park, as the Blues's final game at Staines Town saw us share the goals around in a thumping victory over the league leaders...
Gilly Flaherty gave us the perfect start with a glanced header after only two minutes, and a pair of quick-fire strikes on the stroke of half-time from Fran Kirby and Ji So-Yun secured the lead our dominance deserved.
After the interval it was one-way traffic, as Maren Mjelde, Karen Carney, Erin Cuthbert and Drew Spence all found the back of the net to ensure the perfect ending of our five-year stay at Wheatsheaf Park ahead of our move to Kingsmeadow next season.
After an intense midweek trip to Manchester City, Emma Hayes shuffled her pack with several changes. Although the goalkeeper and defence remained the same, there were changes to both wing-back positions as Gemma Davison came in for Hannah Blundell and Crystal Dunn moved back to replace Bethany England. Spence and Ramona Bachmann also made way further up the pitch, as Carney, Ji and Kirby were selected to start as the front three.
Chelsea made a dream start when a corner kick was whipped in by Carney and Flaherty glanced the ball past goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain and into the far corner. Having spurned some great opportunities in the defeat at City on Thursday, Hayes would have been delighted to see her side score from their first attack.
Other than the goal, the first 20 minutes of the match was fairly even, although Chelsea's attack looked to be the more potent, with Kirby in particular looking sharp. However, it was Ji who came closest to adding a second as she played a one-two with the England international and looked to slot the ball past Chamberlain only for the keeper to turn it inches wide of the post.
Our South Korean ace was involved again moments later after being sent clear by a clever reverse pass by Carney and she sat one Liverpool defender down only for another to deflect her shot just off target.
It was only a matter of time before we broke through again, and sure enough there were two goals in quick succession on the stroke of half-time. Carney was involved in the build-up yet again and this time her clipped pass was for Kirby, who took a touch before burying her shot into the far corner.
Two minutes later it was a case of direct football ripping through the Liverpool rearguard, and it was Davison at her very best against her former club. The winger burst clear of her marker and brilliantly laid the ball into the path of Ji at the back post, leaving her with the simplest of opportunities to tap home.
It didn't take long for the Blues to add a fourth after the break, and this time the South Korean was the creator. Her pass was perfectly played into the middle for the onrushing Mjelde to tuck the ball home with her left foot. It was the Norwegian's second goal of the week with her supposed weaker foot, having also netted at Sunderland last Sunday.
Some of the attacking football being played by Chelsea was simply outstanding and despite the departure of the excellent Kirby, our threat wasn't blunted as Bachmann came on to lead the line. Within five minutes of her introduction we had scored our fifth, although the goal was all of Carney's own making as she robbed Casey Stoney of possession and drove forward to emphatically smash home.
Erin Cuthbert came on for Mjelde before Liverpool kicked off again, and the Scot should have made it 6-0 with her first touch as she was picked out by Carney's pin-point free-kick. However, her header was miscued and bounced into the ground before reaching the grateful arms of Chamberlain.
The visitors didn't heed the warning, though, as just a few minutes later they gave Cuthbert far too much space to make amends. Dunn's cut-back was perfectly weighted and the finish was superb, leaving Chamberlain with no chance.
Another substitute added our seventh as Spence was left unmarked at the back post to tap-in a cross by Bachmann after the Swiss star evaded her marker down the left, and it could have been eight only for Bright's thumping header to cannon back off the crossbar.
However, no one in the ground was complaining after a hugely entertaining victory brought to an end a wonderful five years at the home of Staines Town. We continue our Spring Series campaign on Wednesday at Bristol City before closing out the season next Saturday at Birmingham City.
Chelsea (3-4-2-1): Telford; Flaherty, Cooper, Bright; Davison (Spence 74), Chapman (c), Mjelde (Cuthbert 67), Dunn; Carney, Ji; Kirby (Bachmann 60)
Unused subs: Kitching, Blundell, Fahey, Rafferty
Scorers: Flaherty 2, Kirby 43, Ji 45, Mjelde 48, Carney 66, Cuthbert 79, Spence 84
Liverpool: Chamberlain, Bonner (c), Ingle, Stoney, Hodson, Fletcher (Clarke 65), Coombs, Weir (Zelem 69), Van de Sanden, Harding (Johnson 74), Charles
Unused subs: Gibbons