Chelsea Women move clear at the top of the Barclays Women’s Super League table thanks to goals from Sam Kerr, Erin Cuthbert and Guro Reiten in a game played at Stamford Bridge.
Cheered on by the Sunday afternoon crowd in London SW6, the Blues welcomed Emma Hayes back into the dug-out for the first time since surgery with a completely dominant performance throughout.
Kerr, from a great Millie Bright pass, scored her eighth goal of the season for an early lead before Cuthbert with a truly spectacular effort doubled the lead. A penalty won by Lauren James and converted by Reiten gave Chelsea a 3-0 half-time lead.
There was no addition to the scoring during a quieter second period although with the Blues remaining on top, there were chances. Bright skimming the woodwork was the closest we came to goal number four.
There were just two changes made after the impressive win at Man United a fortnight ago. One was enforced with Jessie Fleming coming in for Pernille Harder. The other was a switch at right-back with Eve Perisset preferred to Niamh Charles.
Sprinting into the lead
Following Manchester United’s defeat of Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium yesterday, the Blues knew ahead of kick-off that points won today would give us a lead in the WSL title race. By half-time in this game the job was a long way towards being done.
In a warning of what was to come, Spurs survived an early scare when Kerr almost caught their goalkeeper Tinja Riikka-Korpela with a back-pass still at her feet.
From that moment on, Chelsea’s attacking play posed a constant danger to the Spurs rearguard and it took only 12 minutes for the north Londoners’ resistance to crack.
Much credit goes to Bright, who had the vision and quick thought to release Kerr with a first-time long pass when a stray ball came her way. Kerr still had plenty to do but she had the pace to shrug off the attention of opposition skipper Shelina Zadorsky.
Our Australian’s shot was on target. A sliding attempted clearance from Tottenham could only help it on its way into the net. It was greeted with great noise inside Stamford Bridge.
Another long pass, this time from Cuthbert, gave Kerr another chance before long, but this time she hit her effort straight at Korpela.
However it was 2-0 for the Blues by the 26th minute. Cuthbert has scored some special goals during her six years at Chelsea and this one is right up there. Tottenham failed to clear a corner and when the ball came her way a couple of yards outside the area, the Scotland international caught it beautifully with the outside of her right boot to send her shot looping past the Spurs keeper. Unstoppable!
The third goal came just 10 minutes later, from the left boot of Reiten who planted a penalty into the bottom-right corner after James had been fouled.
It was classic play from our no.10, who on the right-hand side of the penalty area skipped past Ashleigh Neville who could do no more than catch James’ leg from behind, tripping her and giving the referee a simple decision to make.
Against a very solid Chelsea, the closest Spurs came to a clear chance in the first half was a shot from our former long-serving player Drew Spence who stretching, skewed it well wide.
Scoreless second as Millie goes closest
Magda Eriksson, on the overlap, could have increased the advantage still further right at the start of the second period, but shot too close to Korpela. It was the skipper’s last involvement, with Jess Carter coming on soon after.
Bright, up for a corner, volleyed against the top of the crossbar 10 minutes into the half.
Fran Kirby made her return when she was introduced as a double substitution along with Bethany England. Bringing those two on threatened more goals but it was not to be.
The Blues continued to press and a smooth move in stoppage time opened up the opposition once again but Sophie Ingle cleared the crossbar.
Nevertheless, against a Tottenham side who began the day fifth in the table and won 8-0 last time out, this was an accomplished win.
The big games keep coming with Champions League action midweek. Hayes and her side host Real Madrid at Kingsmeadow on Wednesday evening in a group game. Tickets are available
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Berger; Perisset, Buchanan (Nouwen 77), Bright, Eriksson (c) (Carter 51); Cuthbert (Kirby 66), Ingle; James, Fleming, Reiten (Svitkova 77); Kerr (England 66).
Unused subs Musovic, Abdullina, Charles, Rytting Kaneryd.
Scorers Kerr 12, Cuthbert 26, Reiten 36 pen
Tottenham (4-2-3-1): Korpela; Turner, Bartrip, Zadorsky (c), Ale; Summanen, James; Bizet (Ayane 69), Spence, Neville (Ubogagu 83); Naz.
Unused subs Spencer, Pearse, Cho, Harrop.
Booked Bizet 9, Neville 36, Summanen 62