Match Report

Women's Match Report: Manchester United 1 Chelsea 6

Chelsea Women secured an impressive win against Manchester United to make it back-to-back Barclays FA Women’s Super League victories.

A Sam Kerr double and goals from Fran Kirby, Pernille Harder, Drew Spence and Jessie Fleming helped the Blues earn our first victory on the road of the season at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday afternoon.

Kirby gave Chelsea a 1-0 lead inside two minutes when Kerr capitalised on a mistake in the United defence and squared the ball to Kirby who slotted home from close range.

Harder doubled our advantage with a spectacular solo goal on 24 minutes and the Blues added a third through Kerr a minute before the half-time break.

Manchester United pulled a goal back when Millie Bright deflected an effort into her own net three minutes into the second half, but the Blues provided an instant response as Kerr netted her second of the afternoon to make it 4-1.

Substitute Spence added a fifth when she provided a clinical finish into the bottom corner before Jessie Fleming scored her first goal for the club in stoppage time.

Chelsea will now prepare for a trip to face Birmingham City on Wednesday as the Blues look to book a place in last season’s FA Cup semi-finals.

Kirby opened the scoring on two minutes

Emma Hayes made two changes to the team that started our 4-0 victory against Everton, with Niamh Charles and Melanie Leupolz coming into the Blues starting XI to face Manchester United.

Jess Carter, Millie Bright and skipper Magda Eriksson lined up as a back three ahead of goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger.

Charles was named on the right of midfield with Reiten occupying the left flank and Ingle and Leupolz sitting in central positions.

Kerr netted a double in our win over Everton and the Australian forward lined up in the middle of an attacking three with Harder and Kirby.

After picking up a knock while away on international duty, Erin Cuthbert wasn’t included in the matchday squad, but Hayes named a strong bench which included Ji So-Yun, England and Fleming.

Kerr slots home her first goal of the afternoon

Chelsea made the perfect start at Leigh Sports Village when Kirby scored her 50th WSL goal to put the Blues ahead within the opening two minutes.

The high press from Hayes’s side led to Kerr’s first goal in our previous clash against Everton and the Australian once again intercepted a ball deep in the United half before laying the ball to Kirby who slotted it under the onrushing goalkeeper.

Harder produced a stand-out performance during our 4-0 victory against Everton and the only thing missing from a near-perfect display from the Denmark captain was a goal.

Just over 20 minutes after our opener, Harder had her first goal of the season and it was of the highest standard. The No.23 picked up the ball on the halfway line, shrugged off challenges from United defenders as she raced into the box before firing past Mary Earps.

Eriksson could have extended our lead when she was picked out in the box by Kerr, but the skipper couldn’t keep her effort under the crossbar.

Chelsea had another opportunity to make it three moments later as the Blues once again forced the United defence into a mistake but Harder could only direct her curling effort straight at goalkeeper Earps.

Kerr struck a low drive which went agonisingly wide of the post, but it wouldn’t be long before the Australian was on the scoresheet.

The high press from Chelsea had caused problems for United throughout the opening 45 minutes and the Blues punished our opponents once again.

This time it was Kirby who won the ball back and the No.14 squared it to Kerr who made no mistake with the finish and sent her side into the break with a 3-0 advantage.

Harder doubled Chelsea's lead with a great solo goal

While it was Chelsea who had the better start to the opening half, our opponents pulled a goal back three minutes after the half-time interval when substitute Alessia Russo’s shot deflected off Bright and into the net.

The Blues responded immediately and regained our three-goal advantage just minutes later when Kerr provided the finishing touch to a low cross from Kirby.

United forward Russo had looked lively since coming off the bench and she hit the crossbar with a long-range strike as the hosts looked for a way back into the contest.

With a trip to Birmingham City coming up on Wednesday, Hayes brought Andersson, England, Fleming, Fox and Spence into the action and two substitutes combined to make it five.

England laid the ball off to Spence in the box and the midfielder provided a cool finish into the bottom corner with 87 minutes on the clock.

That wasn’t the end of the scoring for Chelsea and it was two substitutes who combined to make it six.

Spence went through on goal and struck an effort at Earps but the United goalkeeper could only palm the ball into the path of Fleming who tapped home her first ever Chelsea goal to complete an impressive afternoon for the Blues.

Next up for Chelsea is a trip to Birmingham City for last season’s FA Cup quarter-final before the Blues return to Kingsmeadow for a league clash against Brighton and Hove Albion next Saturday.

Spence is now on 49 goals for the Blues

Chelsea (3-4-3): Berger; Bright, Carter, Eriksson; Charles (Andersson 58), Ingle, Leupolz, Reiten (Fox 78); Kirby (England 78), Kerr (Spence 84), Harder (Fleming 78)
Unused subs
Musovic, Nouwen, Ji, Telford
Kirby 2 Harder 24 Kerr 41, 51 Spence 86 Fleming 90+2

Manchester United (4-2-3-1): Earps; Blundell, Mannion, Thorisdottir, Batlle; Zelem, Groenen (Ladd 66); Hanson, Staniforth (Russo 46), Galton (Jones 82); Toone
Unused subs Harris, Risa, Fuso, Baggaley
Scorer Bright (OG) 48

Referee Kirsty Dowle

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