An early brace from Guro Reiten was added to by goals from Ji So-Yun and Sophie Ingle as the Blues thumped Bristol City to win our second Barclays Women's Super League game of the season.
In stark contrast to our last visit to the home of the Vixens, which came early on in the last WSL campaign and saw us squander numerous chances in a goalless draw, Emma Hayes' side were clinical from the first whistle. We took the lead just three minutes into the contest when Reiten's determined pressing helped us win back possession in the Bristol penalty area, before the Norwegian international calmly finished past Sophie Baggaley.
Then, just seven minutes later, our lead was doubled and it was Reiten once again applying the finishing touch. Erin Cuthbert was the provider, swinging over an inviting cross from the right-hand side which our No11 volleyed home from close range, making it three goals in her past two appearances after she opened her Chelsea account the previous week against West Ham.
The victory was virtually assured after only 17 minutes when Ji netted her first of the season with a thumping finish after being teed up by Ingle, but the biggest celebration of the afternoon was to come following our fourth of the afternoon, which came deep into the second half.
Jonna Andersson, a constant threat all game, got past her marker and to the byline before squaring for Ingle, who simply could not miss the opportunity to score her first ever goal for the Blues. Combined with a third clean sheet from four matches this term, it was a more than satisfying conclusion to the first month of the season, and we return to action after the international break with a mouth-watering game against Arsenal at Kingsmeadow on Sunday 13 October. Tickets for that fixture are available to buy here.
Following last week’s win at home to West Ham in the Continental Tyres League Cup, Hayes made five changes to her starting line-up, bringing in Ann-Katrin Berger, Maren Mjelde, Ingle, Ji and Fran Kirby for Carly Telford, Deanna Cooper, Anita Asante, Maria Thorisdottir and Ramona Bachmann.
The manager also set her team out in an ultra-attacking 4-4-2 system, as Cuthbert and Reiten flanked Ingle and Ji in midfield, behind a strike pairing of Kirby – making her first start of the season – and Bethany England. At the back, Berger lined up in goal and the back four saw Mjelde return at right-back alongside the trio of Millie Bright, Magda Eriksson and Andersson, who all retained their places from the previous weekend.
The last time the Blues met Bristol was at our KT1 home in February which resulted in an emphatic 6-0 win, with England and Kirby netting a hat-trick apiece. For a handful of our players, today’s venue would have also brought back special memories having clinched our second Women’s Super League title back in May 2018.
It was a dominant start for the Blues and any latecomers would have missed out on two quick-fire goals inside 10 minutes. The opener came after just three minutes when England picked out Reiten who calmly slotted past Sophie Baggaley in the Bristol goal. The second followed soon after and it was our summer signing who doubled our advantage with a fine finish. Cuthbert took on her full-back down the right and whipped a nice ball into the back post for Reiten to volley home.
The commanding start gave Chelsea confidence going forward and we dictated the tempo from then on. Our loyal Chelsea Women supporters who travelled pitched themselves behind the goal and were singing loudly throughout.
With just a quarter of an hour gone, the Blues were pushing for a third goal and this time it was Cuthbert who almost got a goal. Ji dashed through the heart of midfield and played a neat through-ball to England who laid the ball off to Cuthbert for the Scot to fire into the palms of Baggaley.
That said, we did not have to wait long for the third. Ji twisted and turned through the Bristol defence and fired a powerful left-footed effort inside of the post, out of reach of the Vixens goalkeeper, having been sent clear by Ingle.
It was a fine start and one which meant we could see out the remainder of the half contently keeping hold of possession and making the home side do all the chasing, which was ideal considering the windy conditions at the wide-open Stoke Gifford campus which the Vixens call home.
The Blues returned to the pitch for the second half in a similar fashion to the first. England had the first chance after the restart when Kirby released the No9, who struck on target but was denied by Bristol’s keeper, who was keeping the scoreline respectable.
And although the Blues continued to control the game, there was a clear improvement from our hosts. With 25 minutes remaining Hayes shuffled her pack and made a double substitution, which saw Ji and Kirby make way for Maria Thorisdottr and Ramona Bachmann. Drew Spence was also introduced soon after in place of England.
A fourth goal finally arrived, and it was from an unlikely source. Andersson found herself in the box and fizzed a ball across the face of goal for Ingle to tap home to register her first-ever Chelsea goal. It came against a club she knows very well, as she had a spell out west for two seasons from 2014, where she skippered the side for the second campaign.
There is now an international break but the Blues return to Kingsmeadow on Sunday 13 October to host London rivals and reigning WSL champions Arsenal. The derby kicks off at 3pm and it is not to be missed!
Bristol City (4-5-1) Baggaley; Dykes (c), Sargeant, Matthews, Evans; Humphrey, Chance, Brown, Wellings, Daniels (Wilson 64); Harrison (Salmon 78)Unused subs Cumings, Van der Linden, Allen, Reilly, RobinsonBooked Harrison 55
Chelsea (4-4-2) Berger; Mjelde, Bright, Eriksson (c), Andersson; Cuthbert, Ingle, Ji (Thorisdottir 65), Reiten; Kirby (Bachmann 65), England (Spence 74)Unused subs Orman, Carter, AsanteScorers Reiten 3, 10, Ji 17, Ingle 78
Referee Lisa Benn
- Tickets for our WSL home game against Arsenal, which takes place on Sunday 13 October, are available to buy here.