It’s a job done and another real credit to the whole squad for getting another win for us.
Emma Hayes, Chelsea
Chelsea moved a step closer to sealing back-to-back Barclays FAWSL titles with a solid, if unremarkable, 2-0 victory over a resilient Tottenham.
If Sunday’s Champions League win had pivoted around the magic of Fran Kirby, Wednesday’s win was all down to her partner-in-crime, Sam Kerr. The Australian stole the show, integral throughout the 66 minutes she was on the field.
Emma Hayes rang the changes to her Chelsea side with Jess Carter, Melanie Leupolz, Ji So Yun, Kirby and Pernille Harder all rested. There were rare starts for Drew Spence, Guro Reiten and Beth England while Jonna Andersson and Erin Cuthbert returned to the fold.
For Tottenham, it was their first run out in ten days after a poor run of form that has seen them without a league win since January. Rehanne Skinner made six changes to the side that had lost to Manchester United last time out with Esther Morgan, Abbie McManus, Siri Worm, Angela Addison, Chloe Peplow and Lucy Quinn returning to the fray.
Kerr was involved from the start, with her usual energy stretching the Spurs defence. She set up the visitors’ first two opportunities, only for Sophie Ingle to be denied twice by some smart goalkeeping from Becky Spencer. The Spurs keeper then had to be alert at the near post to bat away a Niamh Charles header.
Despite Chelsea’s possession, they weren’t at their fluid best. They had to be alert to the counter and Quinn forced Ann-Katrin Berger into a good near post save. However, the opener visitors did come, with four minutes left to play in the first half. A sweeping Millie Bright pass from deep found Reiten down the left. Her first-time cross found Kerr at the far post to turn home. It was a clinical team goal, Chelsea at their best.
The Blues returned after the break, eagerly seeking the cushion that a second goal would bring. They almost had it within minutes when Andersson hit the bar off England’s assist. They didn’t have to wait long to make the pressure count. Reiten turned provider once again for Kerr, whose initial header was saved only for her to prod the rebound in. It was her 20th goal of an impressive season and one that takes her two clear of Vivianne Miedema in the race for the Golden Boot, winning the accolades of her manager post-match: “She’s a delight, she really is…I think the ball’s falling to her. She’s taking responsibility for the team, which I think is important, and she’s doing it again and again.”
It was a steep mountain for Spurs to try and climb as they struggled to get a foothold back into the game. Rianna Dean came closest pulling a half-volley wide but apart from that chances were sparse. Chelsea controlled the closing stages as they closed out a win that takes them in touching distance of the title. A victory at Kingsmeadow on Sunday will see them home.