Women’s match report: Brighton 0 Chelsea 0

Chelsea FC Women had to settle for a point on the road as Emma Hayes’ side were held to a goalless draw against Brighton & Hove Albion in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League.

Despite a dominant display with plenty of chances, Emma Hayes’ side were unable to find a breakthrough against Hope Powell’s resilient Brighton side.

The Blues were looking to make it two wins in four days following Wednesday evening’s Continental Tyres League Cup quarter-final victory against West Ham United.

And it was Hayes’ side who were quick out of the blocks at the People’s Pension Stadium this afternoon. 

The Blues made their dominance known from the off, with Fran Kirby and Erin Cuthbert doing well to press the Brighton back line. Just two minutes in Brighton shot-stopper Megan Walsh had a close-call when Kirby almost blocked her clearance.

We won the first of many corners just three minutes in when Pernille Harder’s cross turned shot was headed just over the bar by Victoria Williams. Erin Cuthbert’s corner was cleared as far as Jonna Andersson, whose effort from the edge of the box trickled just wide.

Moments later, Guro Reiten played a delightful ball through the Brighton defence into the path of the on-running Kirby, but Walsh was quick off her line to hack the ball clear before our No14 could strike.

The Brighton shot-stopper remained busy throughout the first half. Millie Bright was in on the action in the opening minutes when her cross looked to loop into the top corner before being caught by Walsh.

Brighton won their first corner of the game 15 minutes in as Inessa Kaagman’s cross was well-blocked. The resulting corner didn’t cause the Blues any trouble as it rolled towards Jessie Fleming who hacked it clear.

Ann-Katrin Berger was called into action for the first time shortly after when Danielle Carter struck a thunderous effort at goal, our No30 pulled off an outstanding save to parry the ball out for a corner.

The Blues had a flurry of chances shortly afterwards but were unable to make the all-important breakthrough. Cuthbert floated in another corner which was cleared as far as Drew Spence whose subsequent strike was well-blocked by the well-organised Brighton back line.

Our best chance of the first half came through Kirby who was one-on-one with Walsh, who pulled off an outstanding save to keep it level, much to the frustration of the Blues. Harder received the first booking of the game for a late challenge on Danique Kerkdijk.

Hayes’ side started the second half just as they did the first, pressuring the Seagulls from the off. Kirby cut inside and looked to curl one in, but Walsh managed to claw it out for a corner.

The Blues were so close to breaking the deadlock five minutes into the second half, Harding cut the ball back for Cuthbert who was free in the box. However her effort was struck wide of the post.

Cuthbert had a brilliant chance to put the Blues ahead after the ball ricocheted to the Scotland international in the box. Our No22 let fly and rattled the crossbar as the Blues searched for an opener.

As the second half went on the Blues continued to dominate play but just couldn’t find a way through the Brighton defence, who remained strong. Brighton’s best chance of the second half again fell to Carter. The forward flicked on a cross and it looked destined to creep past Berger, but she managed to keep hold of the ball.

The Blues really applied presser in the latter stages of the game but to no avail. Substitute Niamh Charles struck a low effort which was well blocked, while England’s powerful header was denied by Walsh.

It’s another quick turnaround for the Blues as we host West Ham at Kingsmeadow for our fist home game of 2022 on Wednesday evening.

Brighton (4-4-1-1): Walsh; Koivisto, Kerkdijk (Symonds 63), Le Tissier, Whelan; Connolly, Kaagman (Zigiotti 78), Green, Kullberg; Carter (Brazil 90+1); Williams
Unused subs: Startup, Gibbons, Bowman, Bance, Brazil, Simpkins, Zigotti, Robinson

Chelsea (4-1-4-1): Berger, Nouwen, Bright, Carter, Reiten (Charles 70), Kirby, Fleming, Cuthbert, Harder, Spence (England 81), Andersson
Unused subs: Musovic, Ingle, Abdullina, Telford
Booked: Harder 32

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