The Blues returned to league action with a bang after a month of cup action, recording an emphatic 8-0 victory over Yeovil.
The Women’s Super League strugglers could not contain Chelsea’s attacking prowess and were punished early on when Bethany England slotted home from close range. For the second goal, Adelina Engman supplied her second assist when she charged down the left and set up Erin Cuthbert. Two goals soon become three when England confidently finished past Megan Walsh before Engman contributed again and this time she was the goal scorer. By the time of the interval our lead had been extended to five courtesy of a powerful strike by England. That was her a hat-trick.
Yeovil’s defence continued to work hard in the second half but Chelsea were tenacious in the pursuit of further goals. Cuthbert netted her second soon after the interval and Fran Kirby scored two quick-fire goals after coming on as a substitute in the closing stages of the contest.
Emma Hayes completely changed her side from our last game at home against Lyon in the semi-final of the Women’s Champions League, with Cuthbert being the only unchanged player. That meant Maria Thorisdottir, Anita Asante, Deanna Cooper and Ali Riley made up the back four in front of Carly Telford. Drew Spence took on the role as captain in the midfield alongside Jess Carter and Cuthbert. Hannah Blundell and Engman lined up out wide, and England played up top.
Thorisdottir returned to the starting line-up after a long spell out of action due to suffering concussion back in October.
Yeovil decided to host this game at their main ground, Huish Park, rather than their usual home in Dorchester, with the hope of breaking their attendance record of 1,897 that was made in the 2017 Spring Series against Liverpool. However, the official attendance of the evening was 843.
It did not take us long to open the scoring. After just four minutes Engman spotted England lingering loosely unmarked in the box. The Blues no.15 made no mistake and slotted her effort past Walsh in between Yeovil’s sticks.
Two minutes later the two combined nicely again, this time Engman dashed past her marker down the left and fizzed a ball into England, but Walsh pulled off an excellent save to deny the Blues striker.
Our lead was extended 11 minutes later when Engman teed up Cuthbert who rifled her powerful effort into the bottom corner, completely out of reach for Walsh. The Yeovil goalkeeper continued to be the home side’s star player as she kept out Chelsea’s attackers with some sensational saves.
Hayes’ side oozed with confidence and class. We were in total control from the start with it being a hugely one-sided contest. The Blues fans that made the trip to Somerset were certainly enjoying the occasion, cheering and singing loudly.
Cuthbert looped a corner into a congested box that found its way to England, who steered her perfectly timed header into the back of the net to register her second goal of the game. Moments later Engman got herself on the scoresheet, which was thoroughly deserved. She raced ahead with pace to be one-on-one with Yeovil’s no.1 and slotted her effort on the angle past the advancing goalkeeper.
It took 40 minutes for the Glovers to make their first break on goal and the opportunity came from Rachel McLauchlan on the flank. The winger tested Carly Telford, who had been observing the match for the majority of the first half, when she swooped in a cross that forced the England international to make an acrobatic diving save.
In first-half added time England bagged her hat-trick when she killed the ball stone dead at her feet and slammed it between the gloves of Walsh.
The second half began in the same manner as the first and it took just five minutes for Hayes’ side to net our fifth. Our Scottish striker Cuthbert powered through on goal and buried the ball underneath Walsh who could not get down to the ground quick enough to prevent it.
The Blues were not letting up and continued to go full steam ahead. One counter-attack almost paid off when Cuthbert threaded a clever ball through to Hannah Blundell who went close, but was denied at the near post by the keeper.
With just under 15 minutes remaining, there was a break in play when Yeovil’s Charlotte Buxton received treatment on the field after landing oddly from a challenge, and Hayes made the most of the pause when she substituted Fran Kirby in for Cuthbert.
Kirby slotted into the side quickly and made her mark after just eight minutes when she poked home from close range.
Super Fran doubled her tally moments later when she plucked the ball down from thin air and finished with a clinical strike.
Our final game of the season takes place on Saturday 11 May when we take on Reading at Adams Park, kick off at 12.30pm.
Yeovil (4-4-1-1): Walsh (c); Goodard (Cousins 16), Alexander, Syme (Gaylor 70), Ferguson; Horwood, Heatherson, Mason, Buxton (Donovan 81); Evans; McLauchlan.
Unused subs Fischer, Howard, Bloomfield, Taylor.
Chelsea (4-3-3) Telford; Thorisdottir, Asante, Cooper, Riley; Carter, Spence (c), Cuthbert (Kirby 76); Blundell, England, Engman.
Unused subs Berger, Bright, Mjelde, Andersson, Ingle, Carney.
Scorers England 4, 27, 45+2, Cuthbert 16, 51, Engman 28, Kirby 84, 87.