Liverpool made it two from two as Sunderland registered their second draw and Yeovil’s misery mounted in a three-match weekend in WSL 1.
It was action all-areas when Liverpool hosted Reading on Friday evening, Welsh international Natasha Harding able to blast her side ahead inside of two minutes with a curled finish past Mary Earps to the far corner. As fast as the Reds had taken the lead they lost it again, the Royals able to restore parity through Brooke Chaplen when her 20-yarder slipped through Siobhan Chamberlain’s gloves in what should have been a routine claim. But the goals didn’t stop there and the visitors managed to get themselves in front eight minutes in, Melissa Fletcher nabbing her second in as many games with a low finish that wormed through the area before coming to rest in the far side of the net.
Finally able to steady themselves and calm into the game, Liverpool found the back of the net through Harding once more, the attacker able to evade Kirsty McGee with ease before curling another shot around Earps. Able to take the initiative in the match once more, the Reds got themselves back in front ten minutes before the break, Harding involved again, her lay-off just right for Alex Greenwood to take to the by-line before dinking the ball to the back post.
With Reading switched off in the box it was an easy job for Caroline Weir to volley home a yard out, the tie fully turned in Liverpool’s favour, the points wrapped up early in the second half. Unstoppable on the left side of the final third, Harding was involved once more, her ball across a tap-in for Laura Coombs, the former Chelsea player shrugging Rachel Rowe off with ease before finishing into the empty net. The Liverpool team really coming together well, the team expected to kick on once more for the winter season.
Sunderland 0-0 Arsenal
Recording their second stalemate on the bounce, the Lady Black Cats appear to be adjusting well to their new coach, the team already looking far steadier than last season. The hosts rode out strong pressure from the Gunners throughout with the team holding a strong defensive shape and Anke Preuss coming up trumps with some sterling saves.
Although not at full-strength Arsenal will be left frustrated, having scored for fun past Sunderland in recent history yet two of the best chances fell to the hosts, Sari van Veenendaal once more showing her quality to keep them out.
Chelsea 6-0 Yeovil Town
Getting their Spring Series off to a delayed start Chelsea struggled to find a way past Jamie Sherwood’s part-time XI, the Lady Glovers able to dig in and nullify their opposition before a Ji So-Yun free kick curled around the wall and beyond Charlotte Hayes on the stroke of half-time. The South Korean international able to pick out the top right corner once more sixty seconds later when she was left unmarked in the box at a stoppage-time corner, the visitors made to pay for switching off at a set-piece once more.
Able to keep ramping up through the years, Chelsea began to slice their visitors apart after the break, the chasm in quality there for all to see, the lead extended when Drew Spence was given space to head Crystal Dunn’s delightful cross past Haynes. Doing their best to dig in once more, Yeovil contined to show their frailties as Ji was allowed space to charge down the middle of the park, her through-ball to Erin Cuthbert a perfect weight for the Scottish international to slot through Haynes’ legs.
Playing too high a line caught the visitors out twenty minutes before the whistle when Dunn was able to get in behind, easily shaking off Nicola Cousins to fire into the far corner beyond the reach of the ‘keeper.
Still the Blues weren’t done and a scrap in the box saw Ramona Bachmann make it six after she picked Helen Bleazard’s pocket, the Glovers waiting for the whistle after Haynes had taken a knock trying to keep Maren Mjelde out. With the keeper clutching what was later revealed to be a broken hand, Bachmann wriggled free of Hannah Short to poke home from two yards, Haynes back to clear the first ball before the Swiss international empathically drove the ball into the heart of the net.
Without a back-up ‘keeper, Bleazard went between the sticks for the remainder of the match, the versatile midfielder able to keep a clean sheet with the game already won. As well as having to adjust to life in the top flight, part-time Yeovil will have to do without Haynes for up to eight weeks as her hand heals, the Lady Glovers more than grateful for the dry-run that is the Spring Series.