By Paul Lagan at Kingsmeadow
Chelsea v Brighton
Sjoeke Nusken produced a wonderful hat-trick as champions Chelsea came from behind to beat much improved Brighton 4-2 at Kingsmeadow this afternoon.
Substitute Aggie Beever-Jones notched her first goal for Chelsea – with an assist from Nusken.
The German midfielder, 22, signed in the summer from Eintracht Frankfurt was in imperious form and was just what the Blues needed after a sluggish start once again resulted in the Blues going behind.
With striker Sam Kerr off form, it needed someone to step up and take control.
Fran Kirby did what she could, rattling the crossbar twice but it was Nusken who became the new hero at Kingsmeadow.
Chelsea are joint top of the WSL just three goals behind Manchester City with 10 points from the opening four matches.
Kirby crashed a thumper of a shot off Sophie Baggaley crossbar as the Blues tried to get the early goal, their dominance of the ball deserved.
But on Brighton’s first attack, a well crafted effort saw the ball whipped across the goal and at the back post was Pauline Bremer who slotted her effort past Ann-Katrin Berger on 11 minutes.
The Blues, while still shaky in defence, attempted to build up their play, and Baggaley was again on hand to thwart Nusken’s shot on goal – a sign of things to come.
Lauren James then tried a long-ranger, but there was insufficient power to trouble the South Coast goalie.
She was rapidly becoming the player of the match when, she raced out to block an in-running Kirby, who attempted to chip the ball over her but she was again equal to the task and blocked the goal-bound effort.
Another block by Baggaley saw off Sam Kerr’s shot on 36.
Brighton then survived a triple attack on goal as Baggaley blocked Kerr, Kirby hit the crossbar again and a last-gasp hack off the line denied Nusken.
Just before the break, Berger produced a save from Katie Robinson that should have put the visitors 2-0 up.
Guro Bergsvand denied Charles deep in to added time, blocking her near post shot for a corner.
But right on the whistle, brilliant aggressive and determined play by Jess Carter close to the left corner flag saw her win her battle form the ball and she produced the perfect cross for in-running Nusken to head home from close range.
Head coach Emma Hayes replaced Kadeisha Buchanan at half-time with Johanna Rytting Kaneryd.
Kaneryd was instantly in the action, and her low, left-footer was snaffled at the post by, who else, Baggaley.
Brighton, despite an early flurry on the Chelsea goal, could not do what the Blues did on 52 minutes and that is to score. Again excellent counter-attacking play opened up the visitors’ rearguard, and Nusken was on hand to ram home a powerful left-footer to compete the turnaround for the west Londoners.
Bremer produced an instant response, but her blistering left-footer was equally well save by Berger who tipped the shot away for a corner.
Hayes then replaced Kirby with Jelena Cankovic, with James replaced by Jessie Fleming on 56 minutes.
Her brother Reece was in the stand to watch her alongside centre-back Thiago Silva offering their support.
The midfielder was then on the end of more sustained attacking pressure to volley home her ha-trick from close range with 15 minutes left on the cock.
Baggaley then produced an acrobatic shot to deny Kaneryd two minutes later as it seemed a goal was coming at every Chelsea attack.
Ingle’s day was over and she was replaced by Beever-Jones while Mia Fishel replaced ineffectual Kerr with 10 minutes left on the clock.
The visitors took advantage of some sloppy defensive play and substitute Elisabeth Terland crashed home a consolation for Brighton.
Teams:Chelsea: Berger, Bright, Ingle, Nusken, Carter, James, Kirby, Perisset, Kerr, Charles, Buchanan
Sub s: Musovic, Fishel, Lawrence, Fleming, Mjelde, Rytting Kaneryd, Hampton, Cankovic, Beever-Jones.
Beever-Jones’s first touch was a pass from Nusken and it resulted in her first goal fro the Blues
Brighton: Baggaley, Thorisdottir, Bergsvand, Losada, Bremer, Geum-Min, Carabali, Kullberg, Pin to, Robinson, Mengwen
Subs: Startup, Pattinson, Sarri, Zigiotti, Terland, Hawkesby, Symonds, Haley, Rule
Referee: Stacey Fullicks
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