Doncaster Belles 1-4 Chelsea Ladies: Reigning champions gets the season underway with a win

Karen Carney shone in a dominant performance by the Blues as they proved to be too big a mouthful for their newly-promoted hosts.

Doncaster Belles 1-4 Chelsea Ladies: Reigning champions gets the season underway with a win
Karen Carney puts away her penalty. (Photo: Chelsea FC)
Doncaster Belles
1 4
Chelsea Ladies
Doncaster Belles: Hobbs; Simpkins, Roberts, Little, Barker; Lipka, Easton (Mosby 86), Tierney (Newborough 72); Sigsworth, Dowie, Sweetman-Kirk.
Chelsea Ladies: Lindahl; Blundell, Fahey, Flaherty (Kirby 64), C Rafferty; Bright, Chapman (c); Carney (Davison 64), Ji, England (Bailey 74); Aluko.
SCORE: 0-1, min. 12, Carney (pen). 1-1, min. 15, C. Rafferty OG, 1-2, min. 23, England. 1-3, min. 43, Chapman. 1-4, min. 84, Aluko

Chelsea Ladies started their title defence perfectly on Thursday night, beating Doncaster Belles 4-1 for the second time in five days in their WSL 1 opener.

A frantic start to the game saw Karen Carney's opener from the spot cancelled out by a Claire Rafferty own goal, before Bethany England then restored Chelsea's lead at the midway point of the first half against her former club.

Katie Chapman established some breathing space for the Blues before the interval, and Eniola Aluko rounded things off perfectly late in the second period to replicate the scoreline that they managed over the Belles in the FA Women's Cup at the weekend.

Eventful first half sees Chelsea go ahead

In an action-packed first half with several goals, it was Chelsea who started off strong. By applying plenty of pressure on Doncaster Belles, they managed to take control of the game early on.

No fewer than 1,165 spectators saw Chelsea take the lead early in the half, new signing Carney calmly slotting away a penalty after Millie Bright was taken down in the penalty area by Leandra Little.

However, the lead didn’t last long. Only a few minutes later, a cross from Doncaster’s Courtney Sweetman-Kirk was mishandled by the Chelsea defence and England international Claire Rafferty sent the ball into her own net to level the score.

The Blues quickly took back control of the game, and it wouldn’t be long until they were back in the lead again either. A Carney corner found the head of England, and the former Doncaster player headed it home to make it 2-1.

Despite a few chances for the Belles - most coming from free-kicks - the rest of the half was all Chelsea as they created several good chances.

Right before half time the domination paid off when another Carney corner was headed into the net. This time the goal came courtesy of Chapman. The score line was 3-1 at the break, and it looked like the defending champions were well on their way towards getting the three points in the first game of the new season.

Blues round things off

While the second half couldn’t live up to the number of goals that the first half provided, the Chelsea dominance continued. They had a few chances early in the half through Chapman and Aluko, while most of Doncaster’s opportunities again came via free-kicks.

It wasn’t until six minutes before stoppage time that Chelsea managed to add to the scoreline though. Prolific goal-scorer Aluko finished an attack that was started by Gemma Davison and neatly continued by Ji So-yun. The game finished with a big chance for Chelsea, but Ji couldn’t get the ball past Doncaster’s Nicola Hobbs, who did well to save the shot. 

It didn't matter in the end though as Chelsea got the points and therefore got the season of to a good start. Next up is a big game against Liverpool on Mondau, whilst the Belles will be looking to get off the mark on Sunday against Birmingham City; who lost 1-0 to the Reds yesterday.

Eni Aluko's 84th minute strike rounded off a great night for the Blues. (Photo: EMPICS Sport)
Eni Aluko's 84th minute strike rounded off a great night for the Blues. (Photo: EMPICS Sport)