Chelsea See Off Stubborn Seagulls

Chelsea 3-1 Brighton and Hove Albion

By Kris Goman

Above: Two of Chelsea’s scorers Guro Reiten and Beth England celebrate after the defending champions go 3-1 up. Photo: Sky Sports.

Brighton and Hove Albion continue to be a thorn in the side of Chelsea. Last season they were the only team to defeat the premiers. Although Chelsea won convincingly in the end today, ‘The Seagulls’ managed a goal against Chelsea at home, which is not a common event.

Chelsea nicked an early goal to take a 1-0 lead. After a couple of near misses by Sam Kerr, a quick throw in to Pernille Harder has her bringing it into the box and passing to Fran Kirby. She juggles and swivels and passes back to Guro Reiten who takes one touch then slams the ball past keeper, Megan Walsh, who gets a hand to it but can’t stop it.

Above: Guro Reiten fires Chelsea into an early lead. Photo: Getty Images.

Brighton retaliated soon after with a shot on goal headed away by Magda Eriksson.

Chelsea then settled down with the confidence of the opening goal to control play through most of the second half culminating in another goal at the 36 minute mark.

A cross from the left by Kirby is lifted over the defence. Kerr runs on to the perfectly placed ball, as do the keeper, Megan Walsh, and defender, Felicity Gibbons. The Western Australian rises above the three of them and heads the ball into goal as Walsh and Gibbons collide in her wake. Gibbons is down injured and requires treatment as Chelsea celebrate the goal.

Above: Sam Kerr celebrates with Fran Kirby after scoring Chelsea’s second. Photo: Sky Sports.

The defending champions look to have the match sewn up as they come on in the second half but Brighton aren’t giving up that easily. Within two minutes, a throw in from the right is flicked across goal by Aileen Whelan to Dan Carter who turns and rolls the ball out to the left post for Brighton’s first goal of the day and the first goal conceded at home this season by Chelsea.

This rattles the hosts somewhat and elevates Brighton. The next ten minutes sees a more even affair until a Chelsea corner is guided to Reiten but her header clears the crossbar.

Chelsea step up the pressure with Kirby going down the left and into the box. She slips the ball through to Reiten who passes to Harder, who, under pressure, flicks back to Kirby. Her shot on goal goes high and to the right.

Above: Danielle Carter (centre) celebrates after scoring Brighton and Hove Albion’s goal at Kingsmeadow. Photo: Sky Sports.

Immediately afterwards, Melanie Leupolz has a spirited shot on goal from the results of a free kick which ultimately skimmed the crossbar.

Chelsea get a free kick just outside the box after a foul on Kirby. Erin Cuthbert and Reiten line up to take it. Reiten takes a direct shot on goal that is batted away by Walsh. Kerr goes for the rebound but it’s deflected away safely.

A beautiful ball through the defenders to Kerr is just overcooked on her first touch and Walsh gets there before Kerr to clear it away successfully.

Above: Beth England battles with Maya Le Tissier at Kingsmeadow yesterday. Photo: Brighton & Hove Independent.

Leupolz has a crack from the top of the box that skims the top bar. The pressure is unrelenting now.

At the 80 minute mark, a Brighton goal kick gets headed back towards the Chelsea goal and Kirby runs on to it and crosses into the box to England. Her shot goes to the top left and in for a well-deserved 3-1 lead.

Before the end, Harder takes an ambitious shot from outside the box that goes across the face of an empty goal and out past the far post.

Teams: CHELSEA: Berger, Bright, Carter, Eriksson, Cuthbert, Ingle, Leupolz, Reiten, Kirby, Kerr, Harder. Subs: Musovik (GK), Telford (GK), Nouwen, England (for Kerr), Fleming (for Reiten), Charles (for Cuthbert), Spence, Andersson (for Kirby), Fox.

Scorers: Reiten 9, Kerr 38, England 80.

BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION: Walsh, Kerkdijk, Williams, Gibbons, Le Tissier, Kaagman, Green, Connolly, Koivisto, Whelan, Carter. Subs: Stenson (GK), Babajide, Bance, Brazil, Simpkins, Robinson, Adebowale, Cordier.

Scorer: Carter 48.

Referee: Amy Fearns.

Attendance: 2,480.

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