Ladies reaction: Well at home

Emma Hayes is looking forward to a bright future for Chelsea Ladies at the new Kingsmeadow home following a 6-0 win over Bristol City on the opening weekend of the season.

The Blues left Wheatsheaf Park in the summer following five successful years to take up residence in Kingston-upon-Thames, with Willie Kirk’s Vixens side our first opponents at the venue.

Once Drew Spence headed Chelsea in front and Fran Kirby doubled the lead before half-time, the result looked a foregone conclusion, and four second-half goals – two for Maren Mjelde and one apiece for centre-halves Magdalena Eriksson, on debut, and Gilly Flaherty – put the seal on a wonderful afternoon.

‘It was a fantastic start, very enjoyable,’ said Hayes. ‘We’ve moved to a new stadium, with new fans coming to watch us and we can create new memories.

‘Considering it’s a new stadium we’ve never played at before, there was a wonderful atmosphere. I think the crowd added so much value to the game and the team put in a quality performance to reward the fans with six goals.

‘Scoring six was obviously the biggest positive from the day and when you’ve got two debutants who come in and one gets a goal and the other puts in a superb performance, that’s a huge plus.

‘The focus was on kicking on from the Spring Series and I think we showed in this game why we are currently the top team in the country.’

An outstanding collective performance was achieved in no small part thanks to a number of quality individual displays which as well as the two new players, included Mjelde and Spence both continuing their outstanding form from the Spring Series, and Gemma Davison’s display on the left flank indicated a return to her dazzling best.

 Gemma Davison flying down the wing at Chelsea Ladies' new home

‘Our debutants were superb. They’re tough characters and they’ve both slotted in as if they’ve been here for years,’ said Hayes.

‘I was delighted Drew got on the scoresheet, she’s worked hard throughout pre-season and she has all the qualities to go on and have a good international career.

‘Gemma is another who worked really hard in pre-season. She was disappointed not to make the squad for the Euros and I think she made a real statement of intent with her performance.’

Hayes also had words for Eniola Aluko who was introduced from the substitutes’ bench in place of Fran Kirby late on.

‘It was a great moment for Eni to come on and get that reception from the supporters. It has been a tough time for her but she’s made of strong stuff, her focus is firmly on football and it was a great moment to cap a difficult week.’