BY PAUL LAGAN
Chelsea thrashed West Ham 8-0 to pile the pressure on Manchester City who now lead the WSL1 by a point from the Blues who have a game in hand.
A brace apiece for Beth England and Maren Mjelde plus efforts for Sophie Ingle, Erin Cuthbert, Ramona Bachmann and Emily Murphy rounded off the perfect outing for the Blues.
The Blues totally dominated the early exchanges and it was no surprise to see the home side take the lead after six minutes. The ball fell invitingly to Maren Mjelde just inside the West Ham penalty area, and the Norway captain powered home past Courtney Brosnan with a low, right-footed half-volley.
The near capacity 3,304 crowd went wild on 12 minutes when Erin Cuthbert produced a spellbinding defence-splinter ball into the path of Beth England. The England striker took the ball round Brosnan and slipped it neatly into the back of the empty net to double the score.
Hammers’ Katie Longhurst then hacked a clever Guro Reiten goal-bound effort off the line as Chelsea looked to be going on a goal plunge.
Two minutes before the break and Chelsea notched up the effective game-winner. A fine Reiten corner from the right, was met by the head of Sophie Ingle, and she directed the ball expertly into the back of the West Ham net.
There were no changes by either side at half-time.
Jonna Andersson should have added to the Chelsea score on 51 minutes when she was set up by England. This time Brosnan was on the spot and smothered the ball.
But seconds later Cuthbert smashed home a long-range rasping left-footer that the Hammers’ goalkeeper could do nothing about.
West Ham boss Matt Beard was booked by referee Amy Fearn for dissent – he thought that Cuthbert was offside when she let fly from 30 yards for the goal.
England then missed a sitter, slotting a seemingly goal-bound effort wide.
But she made up for it a minute later on 56 minutes by nodding home a Cuthbert corner. England was unchallenged on the six-yard box.
Mjelde notched up her second and Chelsea’s sixth on 61 minutes. England fed Andersson on the left. The left back produced a blistering byline cross and Mjelde sprinted in and latched onto the ball at the near post, and steering it home.
Emma Hayes replaced Reiten and Ingle for Jess Carter and Ramona Bachmann on 67 minutes.
Emily Murphy replaced England with 12 minutes left on the clock.
Bachmann should have put Chelsea into seventh heaven when she cut through the West Ham rearguard but somehow screwed her left-footer wide of goal.
But she made up for it with two minutes left when she smashed home her first goal of the season deep into added time – Bachmann and Carter ten provided the assist and Murphy headed home to make it 8-0.
Teams: Chelsea, Telford, Blundell, Bright, Ingle, England, Reiten, Eriksson, Mjelde, Cuthbert, S pence, Andersson
Subs: Berger, Carter, Cooper, Bachmann, Napier, Wardlaw, Murphy
West Ham: Brosnan, Kvamme, Flaherty, Lehman, Kieran, Simic, Baunach, Longhurst, Dali, Fisk, Vetterlein
Subs: Moorhouse, Waller, Galabadaarachchi, Littlejohn, De Graf, Middag, Smith
Referee: Amy Fearn
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