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Chelsea 3 Everton 1
Chelsea added to their already celebratory mood with a very welcome 3-1 victory over Everton at Staines which leaves them in third place in the FA WSL.
The home team overcome a difficult opening 40 minutes when they were second best to a lively Everton display, equalising right on the break then dominating the second half to run out deserved winners.
Everton looked sharp from the first whistle as they dominated midfield and gave the Chelsea defence all sorts of problems. Toni Duggan, Gwennan Harries, Michelle Hinnigan and Nikita Parris all took every opportunity to run at the Blues back line and their interplay was very slick at times.
Duggan had the first clear opportunity, running clear from her own half before curling a shot inches wide. Carly Telford had to be quick from her line to deny the same player after another left wing raid. Parris on the right showed similar speed of execution to send over a dangerous cross which was well defended by Gemma Bonner.
It was no surprise when Everton took the lead in the 24th minute. This time it was Michelle Hinnigan, cutting in from the left and curling a perfect shot wide of Telford from the edge of the area. Chelsea had only mustered a Laura Coombs snap shot just wide by this stage and the visitors continued to look the more impressive.
Bonner played a part in the Chelsea revival around the 40 minute mark, preventing a second Everton goal with a last ditch clearance off the line then, a minute later, playing Helen Bleazard through for a goal attempt adjudged offside. But it was Dunia Susi who engineered the equaliser in first half stoppage time, skipping past a challenge before setting up Lander on the far post .
A far different Chelsea emerged after the break.Bleazard on the left was getting to see far more of the ball, testing Rachel Brown with a couple of teasing crosses and firing a shot just wide of the far post. Susi, who had a fine game, was doing similar damage on the other flank and the Toffees defence, missing the injured Fern Whelan, were under pressure.
It took a classic Lander strike to break the visitors down in the 74th minute. Latching on to a through ball, the Welsh international drilled a shot over Brown from the edge of the area to give Chelsea the lead. Everton brought on Natasha Dowie as they chased the game but were rarely able to trouble Telford and her back four.
Chelsea made the game safe in the closing seconds when Everton lost the ball from a risky throw in across their own area whilst trying to launch a final attack and Lander was able to provide another emphatic finish to complete her hat trick and round off a perfect weekend for the West London club.
Chelsea: Carly Telford, Lara Fay, Gemma Bonner, Sophie Ingle, Claire Rafferty, Drew Spence, Laura Coombs, Dani Buet, Helen Bleazard, Dunia Susi, Helen Lander. Subs: Sarah Quantrill, Kate Longhurst, Sophie Perry, Sophie Gwilliam.
Everton: Rachel Brown, Lucy Bronze, Fara Williams, Lindsay Johnson, Alex Greenwood, Brooke Chaplen, Jill Scott, Nikita Parris, Michelle Hinnigan, Toni Duggan, Gwennan Harries. Subs: Danielle Hill, Becky Easton, Natasha Dowie.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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