Ladies report: London Bees 0 Chelsea 10
news Sun 4 Feb 2018
The Blues booked a spot in the fifth round of the Women's FA Cup with a clinical display at the Hive, as Erin Cuthbert scored a hat-trick and we hit double figures.
It was an accomplished performance against second-tier WSL opponents, with Chelsea taking complete control from the moment the Scottish forward clipped home a delightful lob in the 20th minute. By the half-hour mark our lead was three, courtesy of a fine build-up and finish by Ji So-Yun and an unfortunate own goal following a teasing cross by Karen Carney.
Fran Kirby took advantage of a goalkeeping howler to tap-in our fourth shortly after half-time and she added our fifth midway through the second period, finishing smartly at the near post after creating a yard of space for herself. The England striker then played in the cross for Katie Chapman to make it six, and minutes later Millie Bright added her name to the scoresheet.
Two late goals from Cuthbert secured her first hat-trick for Chelsea and there was still time for Chapman to add a 10th.
After the gruelling midweek game against Manchester City, Emma Hayes shuffled her pack; unlike our last visit to the Hive, when we were eliminated from the Continental Tyres Cup on penalties in 2016, there was no drop off in quality.
Each of our starting XI have an international cap to their name, starting with Carly Telford in goal. In front of her was a back three of Bright, Maria Thorisdottir and Claire Rafferty, with Gemma Davison and Jonna Andersson lining up as our wing-backs. Ji, Chapman and Carney filled the midfield roles and Kirby and Cuthbert made up our front two.
It was a slow start by both teams, with the Bees showing their physicality and Chelsea feeling our way into the contest. The Blues created the first opportunity, though, and it was through the enterprise and endeavour of Ji. The South Korean won the ball back in the middle of the park and surged forward before laying the ball off to Kirby in the box, who in turn played in Cuthbert. The Scot's turn was crisp but her finish lacked accuracy.
The latter pair linked up again to create our next big chance, and this time it was Cuthbert who was the provider, teeing up our No14 for a fierce strike which Hobbs could only parry to Andersson, but she was equal to the Swede's low effort too.
As intricate as that build-up was, the game's opening goal came from the simplest of sources. It was route-one stuff from the visitors – one pass up the field, one touch from Cuthbert to lob the ball over Hobbs, one-nil to Chelsea Ladies.
Two minutes later, our lead was doubled, and this time the football that preceded it was closer to what we have come to expect from the Blues. Ji slipped the ball in behind to Kirby, who held it up and waited for the Chelsea No10 to enter the box before playing the return pass for a simple side-foot finish into the far corner.
It wasn't long before our lead was three, although this time there was a stroke of good fortune involved. Carney's cross was a teasing in-swinger from the left and though Rafferty looked to get her head on the end of it, the final touch appeared to come from Bees defender Danielle Lea.
That was the last meaningful action of a first half in which the Blues had shown a clinical edge, finishing the bulk of our chances and restricting the home side to little possession and few opportunities to test Telford.
Although the bright sunshine of the first half made way for wintry showers at the start of the second, there was no change on the field as we continued where we left off. Our fourth of the game arrived only two minutes after the restart, as Hobbs dallied on the ball and Kirby closed down the keeper before slotting into an empty net.
Chelsea continued to look the more likely side to score again, enjoying almost complete domination over the home side, but we had to wait until the 68th minute for our fifth of the afternoon. Kirby was the scorer, making the most of the yard of space she was afforded on the left-hand side of the box to sneak a low finish in at the near post.
Having scored twice, Kirby then added her second assist of the afternoon as she played an inch-perfect cross for the onrushing Chapman to sweep the ball home. Our last visit to the Hive also saw six goals scored, shared equally between the sides – this time they had all gone the way of the visitors.
We weren't stopping at six, though, and there was another addition to the scoresheet courtesy of Bright. The defender had two bites at it after Hobbs failed to deal with a corner from Andersson and though the first was saved, the second was prodded into the corner of the net.
The scorer of our first, Cuthbert added two further goals late on to complete her hat-trick. The first saw her slide home a wonderful cross by Andersson on the volley and she then won and converted a penalty. There was still time, too, for Chapman to add her second and our 10th of the afternoon.
It was a clinical performance by the Blues and our name now goes into the hat for the fifth round of the Women's FA Cup, with the draw taking place tomorrow (Monday) at 9am. Our next assignment in the league is this Saturday with a visit to Birmingham City (2pm KO).
London Bees Hobbs, Weston (Rolandsen 57), Fogarty, Toussaint, Lea, Lane, Wilkinson, Clarke (Will 57), Howells, Beckett (c), O'Leary (Anderson 64)
Unused subs Harris, Rolandsen, Lalani
Chelsea Telford, Bright, Thorisdottir, Rafferty; Davison, Chapman (c), Ji (Eriksson 72), Andersson; Carney; Kirby (Bachmann 80), Cuthbert
Unused subs Lindahl, Dunn, Spence
Scorers Cuthbert 20, 83, 89 (pen), Ji 22, Lea own goal 30, Kirby 47, 68, Chapman 74, 90, Bright 78