Mia Fishel and Lauren James scored the goals that secured Chelsea Women a deserved opening-day WSL victory at Stamford Bridge.
It was a dream start to life at Chelsea for Fishel. The American bagged a debut goal to get the Blues up and running on 27 minutes, beautifully rising highest to direct a perfectly-weighted cross from Niamh Charles into the far corner, which took us into the break a goal to the good.
Charles turned provider again five minutes after the restart when she delivered another wonderful cross for James, who volleyed home from six yards.
Martha Thomas pounced on a loose ball to pull a goal back for the visitors with a quarter of an hour to go, but the Blues navigated the closing stages to pick up our first three points of the campaign.
Tottenham got this eagerly awaited opening WSL fixture of the season underway on a mild yet overcast afternoon at the Bridge. Our new captain Millie Bright was partnered by Maren Mjelde at the heart of a back four, while Sjoeke Nusken and Fishel were in from the start for their first appearances in blue.
We created two good chances in quick succession in the early stages. Nusken rose highest to meet Guro Reiten’s corner, a header which forced Becky Spencer into a smart save, before some intricate link-up play down the left resulted in James curling an effort inches off target.
Both sides were putting together some neat passages going forward and it was us who would break the deadlock just shy of the half-hour mark. Charles stood up an inviting cross for Fishel who delicately glanced her header across Spencer and into the far corner, stylishly opening her account for the campaign.
James began to weave her magic and fizzed a left-footed effort narrowly wide of the far post. At the other end, Tottenham were denied an equaliser when Zecira Musovic produced an excellent save one-v-one, before Bright hooked the rebound off the line to preserve our slender lead at the break.
It was a lively start to the second half and James wasted little time in doubling our tally for the evening. After Reiten’s initial effort appeared to cross the line play was waved on, Charles turned provider once again when she put the ball on a plate for James to volley home from close range.
A double change before the hour mark saw debutant Nusken make way for her compatriot Melanie Leupolz and the return of Fran Kirby, who was given a rousing reception on her return to action as she replaced Johanna Rytting Kaneryd.
With a quarter-of-an-hour remaining, Martha Thomas pulled a goal back for the visitors when she pounced on a loose ball inside the box and prodded home, Musovic having failed to hold the initial strike.
Our keeper atoned for that error almost immediately as she got down low to palm Jessica Naz's strike around the post.
Sub Jelena Cankovic had a late goal disallowed for offside against Fishel. Defensively we were solid, ensuring there was no late drama and the derby bragging rights were ours.
What it means
For the first time since the 2019/20 season we have won our first league game! That was also against Tottenham at the Bridge.
Our first away fixture of the new WSL campaign takes us north to the blue side of Manchester, where we will face Manchester City at the Academy Stadium on Sunday 8 October with kick-off scheduled for 12.30pm (UK time).
For supporters who are unable to attend the fixture, this game has been selected for live television broadcast on BBC Two.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Musovic; Mjelde (Cankovic 85), Bright (c), Carter, Charles; Ingle, Nusken (Leupolz 58); Rytting Kaneryd (Kirby 58), James (Lawrence 76), Reiten (Fleming 76); Fishel.
Unused Subs: Berger, Nouwen, Perisset, Buchanan.
Scorers: Fishel 27, James 51.
Tottenham Hotspur (4-3-3): Spencer; James, Buhler, Bartrip (c), Neville; Ahtinen (Ale 61), Summanen, Spence (Naz 61); Bizet (Ayane 72), Thomas, Clinton (Graham 90+2).
Unused Subs: Votikova, Zadorsky, Turner, Percival, Pearse.
Scorers: Thomas 75
Booked: Spence 30
Referee: Tom Kirk