Ladies report: Sunderland 0 Chelsea 6
news Sat 30 Sep 2017
A quick-fire brace from Gemma Davison helped us to a second straight 6-0 victory at the start of the WSL1 season.
A week on from hitting Bristol City for six in our first game at Kingsmeadow, we spoiled Sunderland's maiden fixture at Marriners Park, although the locals were at least treated to a collection of goals of the highest order.
Fran Kirby brilliantly curled home our first, but we had to wait until after the interval for our dominance to tell. Davison netted twice in the space of four minutes, the first of which was a fine solo effort, and then a glut of goals arrived in the final 20 minutes; Ji struck a wonderful fourth and substitutes Erin Cuthbert and Eniola Aluko scored in quick succession.
With manager Emma Hayes missing the game after being advised by the doctor not to travel due to a bug, assistant manager Paul Green took the reins and named a starting XI featuring three changes to the side which beat Bristol last Sunday.
Maria Thorisdottir, Hannah Blundell and Drew Spence made way for Millie Bright, Ji and Ramona Bachmann. The latter pair began as part of our front three, which meant Karen Carney dropping into a right wing-back role, while Bright was a straight swap for Thorisdottir at right centre-half.
The home side were eager to make a good impression in their first game at their new Mariners Park home, but it was Bachmann who almost made an immediate impression on her first start of the season, firing a low shot at goal after good interplay between Ji and Kirby.
The latter seemed to be at the heart of all our best moves as we began to find our rhythm as the first half wore on, yet it was almost the simplest of build-ups which so nearly led to a shock opener for the home side. A hopeful punt up field caught out Magda Eriksson, who was indebted to her fellow Swedish international Hedvig Lindahl's fine save with her feet.
Fittingly, though, the deadlock was broken by the brilliant Kirby. Having missed one clear opportunity with her head, she then conjured up a moment of magic. The link-up with Bachmann was as slick as we've come to expect from the two, opening up a yard of space on the edge of the box for the Blues No14 to curl a sumptuous effort into the far corner.
That advantage should have been extended before the half-time interval, as first Bright, following a neat one-two with Kirby, fired wide and then skipper Katie Chapman was denied by a wonderful reflex save by Anke Preuss after meeting Carney's cross with a powerful header.
Neither side made any changes at the half-time break and the second period began much the same way as the first ended, with Chelsea in the ascendancy. Davison stung the palms of Preuss with a fierce drive from a tight angle and then, after Bachmann's initial effort was blocked, Ji saw a goal-bound strike deflected wide.
The Blues looked to have added to our lead from the resulting corner, which eventually fell to Carney, whose cross into a crowded penalty box was touched home by Gilly Flaherty, but the defender was adjudged to have been in an offside position.
Preuss was keeping Sunderland in the contest, with her next contribution arguably her most eye-catching as she brilliantly repelled efforts by Kirby and Eriksson in quick succession, but there was nothing she could do about our next shot.
There looked to be little on for Davison when she collected the ball on the left-hand side, but the winger accelerated past two defenders on her way towards the D of the penalty box before drilling a low right-footed shot past the keeper at her near post.
Four minutes later, the winger had her second, this one a far more straightforward effort. The hard work was done by Ji down the right flank and when the South Korean sent a low cross across goal, Davison was on hand to tap-in.
With the game out of sight, all three Chelsea changes were made in quick succession as Bachmann, Chapman and Kirby made way for Cuthbert, Spence and Aluko respectively.
Amidst the substitutions, Ji twice came close to scoring but the goal her performance deserved finally arrived in the 73rd minute. Aluko was the provider, laying the ball off to the edge of the box and Ji's Cruyff turn left a defender tackling thin air before she curled a wonderful effort in off the crossbar.
Next it was the turn of a pair of substitutes to get on the scoresheet in quick succession, as Cuthbert drilled home from the edge of the box after a corner had found its way to her on the edge of the box and then a free-flowing move finished with Ji squaring to Aluko for the simplest of finishes.
It was another dominant, confident performance by the Blues and our next game is at Kingsmeadow against Bayern Munich in the first knockout round of the Women’s Champions League, which takes place at 7.05pm on Wednesday.
Sunderland Preuss, Brown, Sjoman, Sharp, Williams, Stewart, Lipka, Wyne, Staniforth (c), Joice, Bruinenberg
Unused subs Laws, Lambert, Young, Dodds, Galloway, Watt
Chelsea (3-4-2-1) Lindahl; Bright, Flaherty, Eriksson; Carney, Chapman (c) (Spence 65), Mjelde, Davison; Ji, Kirby (Aluko 69); Bachmann (Cuthbert 62)
Unused subs Telford, Thorisdottir, Blundell, Rafferty
Scorers Kirby 23, Davison 56, 60, Ji 73, Cuthbert 80, Aluko 82