Chelsea 1-0 Aston Villa
Above: Sam Kerr slides in to score Chelsea’s stoppage-time winner over Aston Villa at Kingsmeadow today. Photo: Ben Gilby for Impetus.
Words and EXCLUSIVE photos from Kingsmeadow by Ben Gilby (13/3/22)
Sam Kerr scored a dramatic winner two minutes into injury time at the end of 90 minutes to keep Chelsea firmly in the FAWSL title hunt.
Kerr benefited from a long goal kick forward from Zećira Mušović which bounced awkwardly among the Villa defence and allowed the Western Australian to slot home a goal which sparked wild scenes.
It was tough on Villa who produced a superb defensive display marshalled by Sarah Mayling. Indeed, their goalkeeper Hannah Hampton pulled off three world-class saves in the second half as part of a display that I would mark as the greatest goalkeeping display I have seen in the flesh at a women’s football match.
Such was her performance that every single Chelsea player went straight to the Villa goalkeeper as soon as the final whistle to congratulate her on her efforts and commiserate her on the result.
Hampton’s heroics surely now put her in the box-seat to be Lionesses number one choice ahead of the home Euros this summer.
Chelsea dominated the attacking stats (22 shots to seven, eight to one on target), but they never really found their flowing attacking game. The home side keenly felt the continued absence of Fran Kirby due to illness with Erin Cuthbert and Jessie Fleming only available as late second-half substitutes.
Guro Reiten put in an outstanding shift on the right-wing, but the Birmingham-based visitors would have argued that they deserved a point. Yet, come the hour, come the Matildas hero as Kerr struck.
Ben Gilby’s EXCLUSIVE photos from Kingsmeadow:
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Teams: CHELSEA (4-4-2): Mušović, Charles, Bright, Nouwen, Carter, Reiten, Ji, Spence, Andersson, England, Kerr. Substitutes: Ingle, Fleming, James, Cuthbert, Abdullina, Berger (GK), Claypole, Thompson.
Scorer: Kerr 90+2′.
ASTON VILLA (4-3-3): Hampton, Mayling, Patten, Asante, Pacheco, Scott, Littlejohn, Allen, Arthur, Lehmann, Petzelberger. Substitutes: Gielnik, Boye-Hlorkah, Hutton, McLoughlin, Haywood, Hayles, Rogers, Corsie.
Referee: Abigail Byrne.