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Lincoln Ladies 0 Chelsea 1 (Buet 59)
Chelsea stayed in the mix at the top of the FA WSL as they entered the mid-season break with a 1-0 victory at Lincoln Ladies.
Dani Buet's second half free kick secured all three points for the Londoners at Sincil Bank. The result was harsh on the Lady Imps, who dominated possession wise, but the hosts' lack of cutting edge in the final third cost them dear.
Chelsea made a bright start with midfielder Drew Spence sending a long range effort whistling over Nicola Hobbs' crossbar. But the Lady Imps hit back with a strong spell of their own. Leandra Little proved a handful for the Blues defence and saw one shot blocked by Claire Rafferty before being denied by keeper Carly Telford from an acute angle.
Little caused more problems for Chelsea when she charged down a weak clearance from Telford, but the makeshift striker was unable to take advantage after being pulled up for an infringement.
Telford was in trouble again when Sue Smith sent a 20-yard strike skidding wide of the far post. Then, on the stroke of half time, Smith sent in a tantalising cross which the Chelsea stopper failed to grab, but to Lincoln's frustration, the ball dropped to safety.
Lincoln continued to press in the early stages of the second half. A magnificent crossfield pass from Sophie Walton sent Smith racing clear of the Chelsea defence, but Telford came racing off her line to belt the ball to safety.
Soon after, Jess Clarke's dangerous free kick was narrowly missed by Sophie Bradley, with an unsighted Telford only clutching the ball at the second attempt.
However, in the 59th minute, Lincoln were rocked by a goal which came totally against the run of play. After Chelsea won a free kick more than 25 yards out, Dani Buet stepped up and found the net with a low shot which beat a poorly organised wall and an unsighted Hobbs.
That lead was almost doubled five minutes later when Gemma Bonner rose above the Lincoln defence to head inches wide.
The hosts threw on new signing from Sunderland, Rachel Furness, in a bid to fashion an equaliser. But despite their best efforts, Lincoln struggled to create anything more substantial than half chances.
Their best opportunity saw Lucy Staniforth's glancing header, from a Sophie Bradley long throw, drift wide of the far post.
Lincoln Ladies: Nicola Hobbs, Mel Sutcliffe, Sophie Bradley, Casey Stoney, Rachel Daly, Megan Harris (sub Bonnie Horwood 80mins), Lucy Staniforth, Sophie Walton, Jess Clarke, Leandra Little, Sue Smith (sub Rachel Furness 66mins). Subs not used: Kay Hawke, Sophie Barker, Stacey Aisthorpe.
Chelsea: Carly Telford, Sophie Perry, Gemma Bonner, Kylie Davies, Claire Rafferty, Dani Buet, Drew Spence, Leanne Champ, Ashlee Hincks, Helen Lander (sub Shelby Hills 89mins), Lara Fay (sub Rebecca Jane 58mins). Subs not used: Sarah Quantrill, Ciara Sherwood, Emma Plewa.
(Report by www.TheFA.com)
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