Women’s match report: Chelsea 2 West Ham United 0

Chelsea FC Women played our first home game of 2022 at Kingsmeadow this evening as Emma Hayes’ Blues beat West Ham United 2-0 in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League.

The Blues had to be patient against a resilient West Ham side, but second-half strikes from Bethany England and Erin Cuthbert secured all three points.

Hayes had said in the build-up to tonight’s game that she was impressed with Olli Harder's team, expecting a tough game.

During the first half, the Blues created just a few opportunities of note despite dominating most of the ball.

Much to the delight of the Kingsmeadow crowd, Lauren James featured in the matchday squad for the first time since before Christmas. Hayes hinted in her pre-match press conference that it would be unlikely our no.19 would take to the pitch this evening.

Guro Reiten proved dangerous from set-pieces in the first half, whipping in inviting crosses from corners and free-kicks. Anna Leat fumbled one corner allowing it to drop to Niamh Charles whose effort was deflected just over the bar early on.

Moments later the Blues had another chance to go ahead, this time Jonna Andersson looped in a cross for Pernille Harder, however Leat was on hand again to palm away.

The Irons only had one real chance of their own in the first half, with Katerina Svitkova’s free-kick effort from the left-hand side flying inches past Ann-Katrin Berger’s goal.

Harder, who scored a hat-trick against West Ham last week, almost scored a terrific solo goal shortly before the interval. The Danish international went on a dazzling run down the left-wing, beating off a stern challenge from Lucy Parker, but her eventual strike after cutting in on goal was well saved by Leat.

A higher tempo followed after the break and Hayes made a half-time substitution, bringing on Bethany England in replacement of Reiten.

Just six minutes into the second half England repaid Hayes’ decision to bring her on with a goal. Cuthbert’s driven shot from the edge of the box was parried away by Leat into the path of England who made no mistake of slotting home from close range.

Kirby had a chance moments after our first goal, however Leat was equal to our no.14’s low strike.

The game slowed down not long after, with the Blues remaining comfortable in possession but not creating too much in front of goal.

During the relentless run of upcoming fixtures Hayes has said she will be making full use of her squad, who are missing Sam Kerr and Ji So-Yun to the Asia Cup.

Patience was the theme of the evening for the Blues throughout the rest of the second half, and our patience was rewarded when Cuthbert got her second goal in as many games against the Irons.

The Scotland international’s left-footed effort from the edge of the box found the back of the net and wrapped up our first home win of 2022.

Attention swiftly turns to FA Cup action at Aston Villa on Saturday as the fixtures come thick and fast for the Blues.

Chelsea 4-1-4-1: Berger, Andersson, Nouwen, Bright, Charles, Ingle, Fleming (Carter 72), Reiten (England 45), Cuthbert, Harder (Spence 83), Kirby (Abdullina 86)
Unused substitutes: Musovic, James
Scorers: England 51, Cuthbert 82
West Ham United 3-5-2: Leat, Fisk (c), Parker, Cissoko, Longhurst, Wyne, Svitkova, Snerle, Filis (Stringer 70), Evans, Walker
Unused substitutes: Moore, Flaherty, Joel, Cairns, Houssein
Booked: Parker 15, Cissoko 20
Referee: Ryan Atkin
Attendance: 2,554

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