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Ladies report: Chelsea 6 Yeovil Town 0

The goals took a while to start but once they did there was no stopping them as our Ladies began the new league season with a convincing win.

Ji So Yun was the first to find the target with two strikes at the end of an opening half the Blues dominated. Drew Spence had earlier struck woodwork and it was she who made it 3-0 early in the second half before Erin Cuthbert scored the fourth. The hugely impressive Crystal Dunn and substitute Ramona Bachmann were the other scorers against the WSL1 newcomers from the West Country.  

Prior to the game Emma Hayes reported there will be plenty of opportunities for action throughout the squad during the Spring Series, and she made five changes to the side which began the FA Cup semi-final, including both wing-backs with those positions today occupied by Gemma Davison and Beth England.

Maren Mjelde was captain with Katie Chapman on the bench and there was no Gilly Flaherty so Deanna Cooper was handed a start in the back three. There was a WSL debut for new signing Cuthbert who joined Ji as the attackers supporting Dunn, who was also taking her bow in this competition.

For today’s game, Chelsea Ladies were backing a weekend dedicated to the work of Kick It Out in helping to stamp out hate. The players wore t-shirts highlighting the campaign before kick-off.  
Although her big impact would come much later in the first half, Ji drew the first stop of the game when she fired against the Yeovil keeper’s legs, and the Korean went close again in the opening 10 minutes with a shot not far wide after a superb run by Dunn which left three opponents in her wake.

Karen Carney floated a ball into the box which was dropped by Charlotte Haynes between the Glovers’ sticks before grabbing it with Ji closing fast. There was much safer handling by Fran Kitching at the other end moments later. She is continuing in the Chelsea goal with injuries still ruling out the more senior keepers.

There was an injury to the Yeovil goalie 15 minutes into this game after she had battled with Dunn at the near-post after Drew Spence’s strong run and delivery. She continued after treatment but had to face a succession of corners as Chelsea kept the pressure on.

Drew Spence and Mjedle both tested the keeper, the latter with a header that required a sprawling stop. Carney struck an effort but that required a more straightforward catch. Dunn was next to shoot at Haynes after Ji had made something of a threatening cross from England. A little more accuracy on the shooting and the lead could already have been big.

Dunn was stopped by what was a good save on 33 minutes and with the next attack the Blues went the closest yet. Carney spotted Cuthbert in space and she beat her closest opponent before teeing up Spence who cracked a shot against the post. Dunn then scooped over after the keeper blocked a Ji shot. England then drilled one over. Chelsea were close to creating a chance a minute as half-time approached.

Yeovil’s Hannah Short did very well to get in front of Dunn when she looked poised to score and moments later the American volleyed first time and over from Cuthbert’s cross.

The Glovers, despite being under siege for most of the half looked like they were going to reach half-time level. But then they conceded a free-kick in Ji territory with the clock clicking onto 45 minutes. The South Korean star made no mistake in picking out the top corner brilliantly, and she still found time before the whistle to hit the same area of the net from the same patch of turf but this time in open play. In the blink of an eye Emma Hayes’s side had established a 2-0 half-time lead.  With 23 shots from the home side in that opening period, it was well deserved.

The barrage continued after the break with Carney looping a free-kick over and Haynes reacting sharply and using her height to keep out a Dunn header. The visitors got away with what could have been a handball inside their area but they soon conceded the third goal, Spence heading firmly home from close range when found by Dunn’s cross from the right.  

On 60 minutes, Kitching was called into action, fielding a good shot from Nadia Lawrence but the play was soon back down the other end with Carney shooting over. The fourth goal came not long after, a ball down the middle from Ji doing the damage and Erin Cuthbert unerring with a low finish for her first WSL goal.

Dunn scored the goal her performance fully deserved when she was played down the inside-right channel and powered past the Yeovil defence before finding the net from an angle. Ramona Bachmann joined the goal feast not long after coming on, finally prodding in from a goalmouth scramble which finally put pay to Haynes in the Glovers goal due to injury. Outfielder and former Chelsea Ladies player Helen Bleazard took over the job.

Another Chelsea substitute, Hannah Blundell, came close to adding the seventh in stoppage time and it took a sharp save by stand-in Bleazard to prevent Bachmann heading her second goal. It was without doubt a fine performance to start to the league season for our Ladies team.  

Chelsea (3-4-2-1): Kitching; Cooper, Mjelde (c), Bright (Fahey 60), Davison, Carney, Spence (Bachmann 69), England (Blundell 63), Cuthbert, Ji; Dunn.
Unused subs Startup, Chapman, Aluko.
Scorers Ji 45, 45+1, Spence 53, Cuthbert 65, Dunn 71, Bachmann 76. 

Haynes (Williams 77), Short, Cousins, Bleazard, Lawrence, Clark, Heatherson (Pusey 57), J Jones (Snook 74), Curson (c), Quinn, N Jones.
Unused subs Wiltshire, Haigh, Jackson, Burridge.

Crowd 1,077

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