BY PAUL LAGAN
Beth England smashed home a brace along with Drew Spence as Chelsea went on a goal rampage to humble youthful Birmingham City, on their own patch. The final score was 6-0 but it could have been double.
The significance of the three points for the Londoners means they return to top of the WSL1 having briefly lost it to Manchester City who earlier in the day beat Bristol City 5-0.
Chelsea’s other goal scorers were Millie Bright and Ji, who scored the opener.
With England and Olympic boss Phil Neville in the stands, he would have been impressed by England and vice-skipper Millie Bright, who was player of the match.
But he should also have taken note of the calm, authoritative performance of Wales midfielder Sophie Ingle. Neville needs to bring in the odd non-England player to his Olympic squad, and Ingle has to be to be top of the pack.
Head Coach for Chelsea Emma Hayes has already marked Neville’s cards as to Ingle’s form and his visit to Birmingham to see her first hand is testament to that.
Ji So Yun took full advantage of a free-kick given when Guro Reiten was fouled 25-yards out from goal
With the ball to the left of goal, she arrowed home a brilliant right-footer that curled away from the desperate dive from goalkeeper Hannah Hampton and the bell rippled the back of the net to put the visitors 1-0 up after two minutes.
Birmingham, to their credit, settled down and attempted to play possession football, Chelsea, sat back and allowed the home side the ball.
Six minutes from half-time, Chelsea’s superior quality shone through. Head Coach Emma Hayes he been attempting to get the players to move the ball quicker and the the wings. This worked brilliantly, as it allowed centre-back Millie Bright to take full advantage to crash straight through the middle.
Her cool finish from just inside the Birmingham penalty area doubled the score.
Millie Bright decided to become supplier just as the referee was about to blow the whistle. Her long ball was plucked out of the air by Beth England. She took one touch before ramming home a venomous and unstoppable left footer that all but sealed their three points for the west Londoners.
It took Chelsea two minutes to extend the lead when Drew Spence swept the blues home after the first attack of the restart.
Claudia Walker forced a fine finger-tip Dave from Berger but on 52 minutes Spence nodded home number five.
Ji was replaced by Hannah Blundell on 60 minutes. She went to right back with Maren Mjelde moving into central midfield.
England broke free on 62 minutes from a Bright through ball and the bell beat Hampton, and bounced in off the post for number six.
Hayes replaced Spence for local girl Jess Carter on 67 minutes.
Emily Murphy, 16, replaced Wales International Sophie Ingle on 78 minutes.
Teams: Chelsea, Berger, Bright, Ingle, England, Ji, Reiten, Eriksson, Mjelde, Bachmann, Spence, Andersson
Subs, Telford, Blundell, Carter, Cooper, Cuthbert, Wardlaw, Murphy
Birmingham City: Hampton, Jordan, Holloway, Scott, Simpkin, Arthur, Whipp, Staniforth, Grant, Scofield, Walker
Subs, Brookes, Babjonn, Powell, Gregory, Williams
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