Women's League Cup: 2021

It was a dominant performance from the Blues against Bristol City at Vicarage Road, and it started in perfect fashion as Kerr opened the scoring from close-range after just two minutes.

Kerr then doubled our advantage minutes later before Kirby put the Blues 3-0 up just before the half hour mark with a sublime finish to lob Bristol City’s goalkeeper Sophie Baggaley.

Kirby then got her second of the afternoon as she linked up well with Kerr before slotting past Baggaley to give the Blues a 4-0 lead going into the break.

Three minutes into the second half and Kerr had her hat-trick as Kirby provided yet another assist for the Australian to extend our advantage to five. Kirby was provider again but this time she set up Reiten to score our sixth and final goal. 

The only disappointment of the afternoon will be the injury sustained to Maren Mjelde late in the second half.

The important games continue for Chelsea, with a trip to Everton next up for the Blues. Emma Hayes side travel to Merseyside for Wednesday’s Barclays FA Women’s Super League fixture as we look to maintain our position at the top of the table before attentions will turn to our Champions League quarter-final against Wolfsburg the following week.

Emma Hayes made four changes to the side that started our game against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday, with the Blues boosted by the return of captain Magda Eriksson to the starting line-up.

Eriksson missed our first leg victory against Atletico Madrid and our win at West Ham United through injury but the Sweden International returned to the heart of the Blues defence to partner Millie Bright in today’s final.

That meant Maren Mjelde, who played in central defence for our games against Atletico Madrid and West Ham, switched back to her usual right-back position with Jonna Andersson at left-back to complete a back four ahead of goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger.

Sophie Ingle returned to the Blues midfield after missing our Champions League second leg through suspension to sit alongside Melanie Leupolz in defensive midfield, while Kirby, Jessie Fleming and Reiten took their place in more attacking roles behind lone striker Kerr.

Chelsea made the perfect start at Vicarage Road as Kirby and Kerr combined to give the Blues a 1-0 lead after just two minutes.

Fleming found Reiten in acres of space in midfield and the Norwegian threaded a ball through to Kirby who delivered a low cross to the far post for Kerr to tap into an empty net from two yards out.

Five minutes later and Eriksson came close to marking her return with a goal when she headed a Reiten corner inches wide of the post.

But it wouldn’t be long before Chelsea doubled our advantage, with Kirby and Kerr combining once again.

Like our first goal, Kirby was unselfish and chose to find Kerr and the No.20 took one touch before directing a low effort into the bottom corner to give the Blues a 2-0 lead after just 10 minutes.

The finish may not have been spectacular, but the celebration certainly was!

Chelsea were now in full control of this cup final, with Bristol struggling to deal with the quality, pace and movement of Kirby and Kerr.

Moments after dragging an effort narrowly wide, Kirby intercepted Baggaley’s cross-field ball and sent an effort over the back peddling Baggaley and into the back of the net to make it three for the Blues on 28 minutes.

Kirby grabbed her second of the afternoon minutes later and this time it was Kerr who turned provider.

The Australian escaped a few challenges before sending a ball through to Kirby and she took one touch past the defender before slotting past Baggaley to extend our lead to 4-0.

Kirby could have grabbed a first-half hat-trick minutes before the break as she played a one-two with Kerr which put her one-on-one with the keeper, but Kirby’s effort was saved by the legs of goalkeeper Baggaley.

Hayes made three changes at the break with Hannah Blundell, Drew Spence and Erin Cuthbert all coming into the action but it was the trio of Reiten, Kirby and Kerr who combined to make it 5-0 just three minutes into the second half.

Chelsea worked the ball well as Reiten found Kirby who had the option to have an effort at goal to get her third of the afternoon, but instead rolled the ball to an unmarked Kerr to tap in from close-range and claim her second career hat-trick for the Blues.

Less than 10 minutes later and the trio combined once again but, on this occasion, it was Reiten who provided the finishing touch.

Kerr spotted the run of Kirby and the forward again had the opportunity to get a hat-trick but instead squared the ball to Reiten to prod home from close-range to give Chelsea a 6-0 lead.

Following an injury to Mjelde, Chelsea headed into the final 15 minutes down to 10 players having used all our substitutions.

Mjelde, who had looked to have twisted her knee, received treatment on the field before being carried off on a stretcher.

Chelsea came close to adding to our lead with five minutes remaining when substitute Niamh Charles spotted a darting run into the box by Spence and picked her teammate out superbly, but the No.24 couldn’t supply a finish.

Six goals with no reply means today’s victory is the biggest win recorded in a Women’s League Final and it's a win that secures our first piece of silverware this season.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1) Berger; Mjelde, Bright, Eriksson (C), Andersson (Blundell 46); Ingle (Spence 46), Leupolz (Cuthbert 46); Kirby (Carter 60), Fleming, Reiten; Kerr (Charles 60)

Unused subs Musovic, Telford, Ji, Harder.

Scorers Kerr 2, 10, 48 Kirby 28, 34 Reiten 54

Bristol City (5-2-1-2) Baggaley, Daniels, Skeels (Layzell 85), Evans (C)(Rafferty 80), Purfield, Bryson, Manstrantonio, Humphrey (Palmer 66), Bissel (Harrison 46), Wellings, Salmon

Unused subs Smith, Allen, Collis, Jones

Booked Rafferty 90+3 Palmer 76

Referee Abi Byrne