On a snowy day in Kingsmeadow, Chelsea lost their invincibility for Brighton & Hove Albion in a truncated match. The champions were unbeaten in 33 league games, 26 of which they have won, and they have won their last 14 in a row.
After all the rumours of Emma Hayes as a future coach of AFC Wimbledon and she said she is in the best job in the world, the coach lost her first game in this FA Women’s Super League. She has saved some players from her team for this match: Fran Kirby, Pernille Harder, Ji So Yun, Millie Bright and Ann Katrin Berger. It was the first time that Zecira Musovic was listed for the match.
Aileen Whelan mad her 50th appearance for Brighton today. New signing, Emma Koivisto, joined the squad and Kayleigh Green was suspended after a red card against Bristol City last Saturday. Rebekah Stott and Fliss Gibbons were not available for the match too.
The previous meeting between the teams was in December and the encounter ended in 1-0 win after a brilliant match from Sam Kerr.
Story of the match
In the fifth minute, Erin Cuthbert floats a corner to the far post and Kerr rises above her marker and heads past Brighton goalkeeper. Next, in the eighth minute, Whelan headed in a crossing of the Seagulls, equalising the scoreboard. After that jet of cold water, the Blues tried to react to be in front of the scoreboard again with shots of Guro Reiten and Kerr. In 12 minutes, Bethany England passed to Kerr, who lost the angle of the shot.
In the half of the first 45 minutes, England hit the crossbar with a close-range effort. With the exception of this, all Chelsea's chances came from the left side of the pitch, with the great presence of Kerr and Joanna Andersson. On the other side, Brighton kept their defense consistent and counterattacked to put Chelsea on the backfoot. The defensive capacity of the Blues was lost with the absence of Berger and Bright. The absence of the key players Ji, Kirby and Harder made a difference on the ability to create plays.
In the second half, Chelsea started well after two attempts from Kerr and a shot outside the box from Reiten. In the 50th minute, a controversial play in the box after an apparent handball and the referee didn’t do anything. Five minutes later, Ji, Kirby and Harder got in the places of Jessie Fleming, Reiten and England.
Kerr attempted to drive into the area, but was disarmed by the Brighton defence. Five minutes later, Harder hit the post after a strong shot. In the 76th, the Seagulls has two strong opportunities: one that resulted in the corner and the other that resulted in the tiebreaker after a bad Telford performance. A great olympic goal by Megan Conolly.
Chelsea: Telford; Blundell (Mjelde), Ingle, Eriksson (c), Andersson; Leupolz; Reiten (Ji), Cuthbert, Fleming (Kirby); Kerr, England (Harder).
Brighton: Wlash, Le Tissier, Kerkdijk, Koivisto, Williams (c) ; Simpkins (Bance), Conolly; Whelan, Brazil, Kaagman; Geum-min (Jarrett).
Chelsea's Sam Kerr has been directly involved in ten goals in her last seven league matches (seven goals and three assists), in a sequence dating back to the start of December. The 27-year-old Australian international midfielder joined Chelsea last year and has scored ten goals in 12 appearances, including a hat-trick against West Ham in December.
Star of the match
The defense of Brighton did their homework and managed holding the strong midfield and attack of the championship leader. The players did it cleanly, making few fouls and no penalty. The Blues had a hard time reaching Seagull's back and finishing in goal, mainly because they can only make plays and air passes due to the booking.