Chelsea wrap up title with comfortable win at Bristol City
Drew Spence and Jonna Anderson goals fired Chelsea to a 2-0 win and the FA WSL 1 title
FA WSL 1 match
19:00, Tuesday 15 May 2018
Stoke Gifford Stadium
Chelsea Ladies FC Goal Scorers: Andersson 88', Spence 9'
Chelsea clinched the FA WSL 1 title and their second domestic double in four years as they defeated Bristol City 2-0 at the Stoke Gifford Stadium.
Drew Spence and Jonna Andersson scored the decisive goals for the Blues, who sealed their fifth trophy under Emma Hayes’ management with a game to spare in the league.
Bristol City remain in seventh place, two points ahead of Everton.
Bristol City 0
Bristol City (4-2-3-1): Sophie Baggaley; Loren Dykes, Danique Kerkdijk, Millie Turner, Jasmine Matthews; Aimee Palmer, Julie Biesmans; Lauren Hemp, Chloe Arthur, Yana Daniels; Millie Farrow
Substitutes: Charlie Estcourt for Arthur 52, Liv Fergusson for Farrow 73, Carla Humphrey for Daniels 80
Substitutes not used: Aimee Watson, Frankie Brown, Flo Allen, Poppy Wilson
Chelsea (3-4-3): Hedvig Lindahl; Millie Bright, Maren Mjelde, Gilly Flaherty; Hannah Blundell, Ji So-Yun, Katie Chapman, Jonna Andersson; Ramona Bachmann, Fran Kirby, Drew Spence
Substitutes: Erin Cuthbert for Spence 67, Gemma Davison for Bachmann 70, Eniola Aluko for Blundell 87
Substitutes not used: Maria Thorisdottir, Claire Rafferty, Magdalena Eriksson, Carly Telford
Referee: Amy Fearn
Bristol almost took an early lead when Chelsea gifted the ball to Millie Farrow, but the ex-Chelsea striker could only hit the side-netting when Hedvig Lindahl narrowed the angle.
The Blues eased any nerves they may have had when Spence guided a diving header into the net from South Korean international Ji So-Yun’s pinpoint cross after 10 minutes.
Sophie Baggaley then prevented Ramona Bachmann from doubling the lead with a sharp save with her foot after Bristol had given the ball away cheaply.
Yet the Vixens competed fiercely in the first half. One counter-attack ended with a Farrow shot stinging Lindahl’s palms, while Lauren Hemp and Julie Biesmans also had efforts just wide.
Chelsea remained dominant in possession during a cagier second half but found it difficult to prise open a hard-working Bristol side.
In a nervy moment for Chelsea, Lindahl parried a low shot from Hemp and had to react quickly to deny Liv Fergusson on the rebound.
But the visitors kept their composure and sealed the victory, as England forward Fran Kirby darted down the right and cut the ball back for Jonna Andersson, who finished with aplomb.
There was still time for Ji to fire a piledriver that forced Baggaley to brilliantly tip the ball onto the crossbar, before the final whistle crowned Chelsea champions once more.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Although a draw would have been enough to wrap up the league title, there was always the worry that Bristol might stage a comeback with the score still at 1-0.
When player of the season Kirby pulled the ball back across goal for Andersson to rifle home, the result was beyond doubt and Chelsea’s players knew they had won.
WHAT THEY SAID
Gemma Davison, Chelsea midfielder said: “We knew that we’d have to stay focused on this game and we wanted to make sure we got the result as well to keep winning and stay unbeaten.
“We stayed focused and patient throughout the game. Good teams do that, and we put the pressure on in the last 30 [minutes], and got our rewards.
“If teams sit in, of course it’s frustrating, but we’ve come across that a lot this season. But we’ve got lots of players who can break deadlocks.
“We all know that every player in our changing room can make a difference. Drew Spence has had a phenomenal season, and she deserves a lot of credit for that goal.
“This whole squad’s got a good character about it, and we’ve displayed it all season.
“I thought Millie [Farrow] had a really good game today. I’m really happy for her because she’s just come back from a cruciate injury. I thought she looked really sharp tonight.”
Millie Turner, Bristol City captain said: “Obviously, Chelsea are a great team. We had a game plan and we stuck to it.
“We conceded early on but held on well for the rest of the game, so we can be proud of our performance, we can hold our heads up high.
“We’re a young team, and we’ve learnt a lot from this season. Being seventh in the league is where we set ourselves from the start. We’ve just got to keep building on that.
“We need to capitalise on their mistakes and take our chances. We’re not going to get many in games, so if we had put them away then it would have been a different story.
“A few months back we narrowly got beaten 2-1 by Chelsea in the Continental Cup, so we’re definitely learning and just taking every game as it comes and trying to get as many points as possible in the table.”
Chelsea will be aiming to finish the season unbeaten when they travel to play Liverpool next Sunday.
Meanwhile Bristol City will close out their season at home to Champions League-chasing Arsenal.
Davison added: “I think that our focus will be to finish unbeaten. It’s always special. We’ve been really good this season, and we’ve deserved to win it.
“We know that we are a team full of winners, and we won’t settle for anything less than a good performance and a professional performance, and we’ve displayed that all year.
“Liverpool have got some great players, and they get stronger every year.
“Obviously they performed well against [Manchester] City, so we will expect a big test when we’ll be going all the way up there.
“But we’ll focus on ourselves and make sure that we will deliver like we have today.”
Turner added: “Our main focus now is trying to secure seventh. We need a point from these last two games, so we need to get a point against Arsenal over anything else.
“We might not be one of the biggest teams, but we’ve got one of the biggest hearts.
“We’ve got probably one of the most together teams in the league, and we’ll just keep building on it.”
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