By Paul Lagan at Kingsmeadow
Chelsea 1 v Servette 0
Sam Kerr spared Chelsea’s blushes with the only goal of the game against minnows Servette as the Blues took firm control of their Champions League Group.
The Blues thrashed their opponents 7-0 last week, and a goal-fest of similar proportions was expected from the 1,270 crowd at Kingsmeadow.
But it never materialised, despite almost total control of the ball and the vast majority of chances.
The side from Switzerland showed remarkable resolve and the longer the game went on without a goal, they gained in confidence – they even created a couple of half chances themselves.
But this was a game of missed chances from Chelsea from almost the first whistle, and they can have only themselves to blame.
Kerr’s goal – the breakthrough came on 68 minutes which was a highlight of an ultimately dour game.
The other highlights were a 90-minute run out for Maren Mjelde, who recovered from a ACL injury and a cameo role from striker Lauren James late on.
Sam Kerr missed an absolute sitter on seven minutes.
A quick counter involving Sophie Ingle and Fran Kirby, saw the the ball passed across the six-yard line to the in-running Kerr.
But the Australian striker, who only penned a two year extension to her contract on Tuesday, sliced the ball wide of the Servette goal.
Kirby was then foiled by a low blocked save by goalkeeper Ines Pereira. Two minutes later.
Despite having the vat majority of possession, the home side lacked a cutting edge in the final third of the pitch.
Kirby and Niamh Charles switched wings in an attempt to prose open the Servette rearguard.
There were no changes by either side at half-time as the side from Switzerland continued to thwart the west Londoners.
The Blues, like in the early part of the first half, put the visitors under pressure. Kirby had. Couple of chances blocked and deflected for a corner.
Millie Bright was inches away from opening the score on 57 minutes when she latched into a Maren Mjelde corner – her header, while powerful drifted wide of Pereira’a right post.
Confusion reined on 61 minutes when at Horst it looked like referee Hristiyana Guteva had awarded a penalty to Chelsea, but after protests from the Servette players, the Bulgarian whistle blower changed her mind and awarded them a free-kick instead.
From a corner Servette almost scored when Jade Boho, turned and drove a low shot goal-bound. Thankfully Zecira Musovic snaffled the effort from the goal line.
Head coach Emma Hayes had seen enough and decided to bring on a triple substitution.
But just before she did Musovic thwarted Boho again. The ball went straight down the other end and Sam Kerr smashed the ball home to give the Blues the lead.
England was then replaced by Jessie Fleming, Ingle was replaced by Melanie Leupolz, Jonna Anderson’s night ended when Erin Cuthbert came on.
Things got worse for the who-ping girls of the league when with seven minutes left, Amandine Soulard was given a second yellow card and this was followed by a red.
Lauren James made her much-anticipated debut when she replaced Kirby on 86 minutes.
Despite the odd couple of half chances, the game ended with a moral victory for the visitors but three just about deserved points for the Blues.
Teams: Chelsea, Musovic, Bright, Ingle, England, Ji, Kirby, Eriksson, Mjelde, Kerr, Charles, Andersson
Subs, Telford, Berger, Carter, Leupolz, Reiten, Fleming, James, Cuthbert, Spence, Fox
Servette, Pereira, Tufo, Ferber, Nakkach, Boho, Maendly, Laconia, Spalti, Mendes, Padilla-Bidas, Soulard
Subs, Droz, Bourma, Tamplin, Guede Redondo, Fleury, Grivaz
Referee: Hristiyana Guteva, (Bulgaria)
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