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Chelsea 0 Bristol Academy 1 (Bleazard 25)
Bristol Academy continued their fine run of away wins with victory over Chelsea through a first half Helen Bleazard strike at Imperial Fields.
Academy were marginally the more fluent and effective team but were indebted to a very fine save by Siobhan Chamberlain in added time to prevent Blues from equalising after a very physical encounter.
Chamberlain was in action early on, taking a knock in preventing Kate Longhurst from reaching a through ball. Lillie Billson was unlucky early on, beating home keeper Sarah Quantrill to a through ball but just failing to turn the ball home. Danni Buet drove a free kick which forced Chamberlain into a sprawling save as it zipped off the sodden turf.
The goal was a solo effort from Bleazard, bursting past two tackles before driving a shot into the bottom left of the goal on 25 minutes.
Billson was denied a second Academy goal by a smart Quantrill save before Longhurst had a great chance to equalise on 41 minutes, breaking the offside trap but failing to beat Chamberlain, Ashlee Hincks driving the rebound inches wide. In a lively end to the half, Ann Marie Heatherson and Jessica Fishlock twice went close for Academy. Longhurst and Grace McCatty had both been booked for late challenges in a fiercely contested half.
After another late tackle had led to a stern lecture, Longhurst was replaced on 55 minutes by Becky Jane. Hincks' clever pass immediately set up a great chance for Helen Lander but she dragged her
shot wide. Jemma Rose tried a couple of long range shots from set pieces, the second of which was well saved by Quantrill. Corinne Yorston delivered a free kick from wide left which was headed inches over by Anouk Hoogendijk as Academy continued to threaten.
Both teams had late chances, Quantrill racing from her line to deny Billson, then Chamberlain hanging on to a close range flick from Jane on 87 minutes. A dramatic double save by Chamberlain preserved the Vixens' lead - Leanne Champ fired a powerful 15-yard effort which the England keeper saved and recovered brilliantly to block a follow up on the line as Lander went in to finish as the match reached 90 minutes.
There was time for Academy to go down the other end and for Fishlock to send a diving header inches wide from a Bleazard cross as Academy saw out time effectively, giving Alex Windell a few minutes game time as a substitute for Billson.
Chelsea have a final chance to end their disappointing run against Everton, whilst Academy will be seeking a fourth successive win on the road at Lincoln - games which will sort out the middle rankings of the FA WSL table and the match ups for the post season Continental Cup.
Chelsea: Sarah Quantrill, Sophie Perry, Kylie Davies, Shelby Hills, Gemma Bonner, Danni Buet, Hayley Moorwood, Laura Coombs (sub Leanne Champ 65mins), Ashlee Hincks, Helen Lander, Kate Longhurst (sub Rebecca Jane 55). Subs not used: Naomi Cole, Lara Fay, Emma Plewa.
Bristol Academy: Siobhan Chamberlain, Grace McCatty, Corinne Yorston, Anouk Hoogendijk, Jade Radburn (sub Jaz Matthews 64mins), Jemma Rose, Helen Bleazard, Katie Daley, Ann Marie Heatherson (sub Loren Dykes 81mins), Jessica Fishlock, Lillie Billson (sub Alex Windell 89mins). Subs not used: Molly Clark, Rachel Simkin.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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