A stunning solo goal from Lauren James capped off a brilliant performance as Chelsea defeated rivals Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 in the Women’s Super League at Brisbane Road on Sunday afternoon.
The result sees the reigning champions move back to the top of the table following Manchester United’s goalless draw with Everton earlier in the day, and they have gone two points clear of Marc Skinner’s side. It was a strong performance from Emma Hayes’ squad, who were able to maintain their 100 per cent winning record against Spurs in the WSL with this latest triumph being the seventh in a row.
Chelsea applied pressure on the hosts early and were able to get themselves ahead inside the opening 10 minutes as Jess Carter headed home from a delightful cross by Erin Cuthbert.
Spurs were able to pick themselves up and they started to grow into the game after going behind. They started to ask questions of the Blues’ defence and they were able to convert with their first real chance. After some nice work from Drew Spence to take the ball past Cuthbert, she played an inviting low ball in across goal for former Chelsea striker Beth England to fire in from close range.
With the scoreline level, the game started to even up a bit and it started to turn into an interesting tactical battle. That was until James delivered a moment of magic for the Blues to restore her side’s lead. The attacker picked up the ball on the right flank and decided to drive inwards with the ball as she dribbled her way past several white shirts before unleashing a shot in the box which found its way into the back of the net. It was a mesmerising bit of play from the Chelsea star and the Blues deserved to head into the break with the lead.
@laurenjamess22 | #WSL
The hosts came out in the second half looking for another response to pull themselves back into the game, but the few errors Chelsea made to invite them in the opening 45 were not forthcoming. They found it difficult to match Chelsea’s tenacity both in and out of possession and it became even harder for them to get on the ball.
Chelsea were even sharper after the interval because they knew what was at stake with title rivals Manchester United drawing with Everton in the afternoon’s earlier kick-off. Hayes’ players knew that the three points against their London rivals could be extremely valuable to them in the title race as it would take them above United and two points clear.
The game was seemingly wrapped up just after the hour mark when Guro Reiten capitalised on a defensive error to burst through on goal and coolly finish past Tinja-Riikka Korpela to take the game away from Rehanne Skinner’s side.
In the closing stages, the match suddenly turned frantic. Out of nowhere, Spurs were able to pull a goal back through substitute Nikola Karczewska in the 89th minute to add some spice to the final moments of the derby. Then straight down the other end, Chelsea’s own substitute, Fran Kirby, saw a header brilliantly saved by Korpela with her right boot. Despite the late scare, Chelsea were able to get the job done and this result could prove to be crucial come the end of the campaign.