Thursday 31 May 2012
Fresh from winning the FA Womens Cup final on Saturday, Blues Ladies heaped further misery on their Chelsea counterparts with an entertaining win on Thank You Thursday at the DCS Stadium.
The Londoners made David Parker’s side work hard for the three points, however, after fighting back from 2-0 down, before Rachel Unitt and Jo Potter secured the victory.
It seemed a routing evening was in store for Blues after Jodie Taylor and Karen Carney both scored in the opening 11 minutes.
Chelsea Weston’s long ball caused mayhem amongst the visitors’ backline, allowing Taylor to slot the ball into an empty net.
The hosts doubled their lead shortly afterwards courtesy of Carney’s sublime solo effort.
The England international cut in from the right wing and unleashed a sumptuous strike that flew past Carly Telford into the top corner.
Birmingham understandably appeared high in confidence from their FA Cup triumph at the weekend, although Chelsea refused to lie down.
And Matt Beard’s team pulled a goal back on 24 minutes through Gemma Bonner.
After a period of sustained pressure, the 19-year-old rose highest to head Ashlee Hincks’ corner past a helpless Rebecca Spencer.
The Blues ‘keeper needed to be at her best to keep the scores level later in the half, beating away Hincks’ stinging drive at the near post.
Carney thought she scored her second of the evening on the stroke of half-time, only for Telford to rush out and pull off a smart save.
Drama was to follow the other side of the break, as two goals arrived in the space of 60 seconds.
Chelsea drew level on 52 minutes when Helen Lander helped Kate Longhurst’s cross past Spencer, but Blues immediately regained the lead due to Unitt scrambling Potter’s corner over the line.
Rachel Williams, Potter and Taylor all went close to making it 4-2 from long range in the subsequent passages of play, but Telford stood firm.
However, Potter managed to wrap the game up with nine minutes remaining thanks to a powerfully taken free-kick flying past Telford.
The midfielder said of her corner that set up the third goal: “I took a couple of corners and free-kick’s that didn’t go particularly where I wanted them to go, so I thought that corner needed to be spot on and thankfully it went where I wanted it to and it managed to go into the back of the net.”
She added: “The free-kick – I only had one thing on my mind and I was thinking ‘keep it hard and low’ and it managed to go in thankfully.”
The Stratford-based outfit have now moved back to within two points of the FA Women’s Super League table-toppers Arsenal Ladies, and they’ll look to further reduce that gap at home to Bristol Academy Women on Sunday afternoon (kick-off 2pm).
Blues: Rebecca Spencer, Chelsea Weston, Laura Bassett (C), Emily Westwood, Rachel Unitt (Kerys Harrop 57), Karen Carney, Jade Moore, Jo Potter, Eniola Aluko (Izzy Christiansen 72), Jodie Taylor (Marie Ballard 85), Rachel Williams.
Subs (unused): Marie Hourihan, Cristina Torkildsen.
Goals: Taylor (6), Carney (11), Unitt (53), Potter (81)
Chelsea (in numerical order): Carly Telford (C), Lara Fay (Sophie Gwilliam 82), Drew Spence, Gemma Bonner, Ashlee Hincks (Suzanne Lappin 66), Dani Buet, Helen Lander, Claire Rafferty, Sophie Ingle, Dunia Susi, Kate Longhurst.
Subs (unused & in numerical order): Sarah Quantrill, Sophie Perry, Laura Coombs, Victoria Williams.
Goals: Bonner (24), Lander (52)
Bookings: Longhurst (69)
Player-of-the-match: Jade Moore
Referee: S. Massey