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Bristol Academy 2 (Rose 48, Natalia 50) Chelsea 0
Bristol Academy replaced Chelsea at the top of the FA WSL after two goals early in the second half saw them on their way to a well earned win at Stoke Gifford.
The Vixens never looked back after taking the lead against an out-of-sorts Chelsea side which offered little threat throughout the game as they went down to their first defeat of the season.
The kick off was delayed as, for the second Thursday in a row, the area was hit by a deluge of rain shortly before the start and the game understandably started quietly as the two sides tried to cope with the soggy conditions.
Chelsea did show some promise when a good turn by Sofia Jakobsson took her past Loren Dykes before whipping in a dangerous cross which Jaz Matthews did well to clear. Two minutes later, Academy were dealt a huge blow when Laura Del Rio, on her return from injury, went down with a hamstring injury and had to be replaced straight away.
Academy thought they would be awarded a penalty when Natalia broke into the area and appeared to be brought down by Kylie Davies but the referee - who had a poor match - angered the home crowd by showing the Spanish striker a yellow card for a dive.
Eniola Aluko shot over following good hold up play by Jakobsson and Danielle Buet lifted a free kick over the bar but Chelsea began to fade as an attacking force from this point and Academy began to step up the pressure.
Natalia forced a good save from Shannon Lynn who then did even better two minutes later. Dykes broke down the right and crossed for Natasha Harding whose first time shot was destined for the top corner but Lynn reacted superbly to claw the ball away.
Katie Holtham made a great clearing header under pressure from Ann Marie Heatherson from Corinne Yorston's cross but at the other end, there was an opportunity for Helen Ward as she got on the end of a Buet free kick but the striker could not direct her header on target.
Academy were quick out of the blocks at the start of the second half and broke the deadlock within three minutes of the restart. Yorston swung in a corner from the right and Jemma Rose climbed highest to plant a downward header into the corner of the net. The defender had scored an own goal at the same end seven days earlier and it was sweet retribution.
Before Chelsea could recover, they found themselves two behind. Nikki Watts switched play with a great crossfield pass for Harding whose angled shot was parried by Lynn but only as far as Natalia who tucked home the rebound for her fifth goal of the season.
Academy pushed forward for more goals with Lucy Staniforth in commanding form in midfield and Harding a constant threat down the right. Watts had once again given a lively performance up front and she was next to try her luck with a 25-yard shot which was just wide.
They were to go even closer on 67 minutes as Staniforth picked the ball up in midfield and drove towards goal before unleashing a powerful shot from the edge of the area which crashed against the bar. Lynn did well to prevent Natalia scoring the rebound and Chelsea eventually scrambled the ball away.
Chelsea manager Emma Hayes made a number of substitutions to try and freshen things up but her side could not get going and star striker Jakobsson was shackled by the outstanding Matthews.
There was time late on for Lynn to make another good save to prevent Harding from getting on the end of a Watts cross.
Chelsea will have much better days than this and will want to move on as quickly as possible but Academy's performance proved their position is no fluke and they could well be serious challengers. More will be known in the next two weeks when they play three matches against Arsenal in three different competitions.
Bristol Academy: Siobhan Chamberlain, Loren Dykes, Corinne Yorston, Jaz Matthews, Jemma Rose, Natasha Harding, Natalia Pablos Sanchon (sub Grace McCatty 86mins), Alex Windell (sub Angharad James 68mins), Nikki Watts, Lucy Staniforth, Laura Del Rio (sub Ann Marie Heatherson 12mins). Sub not used: Ellie Curson.
Chelsea: Shannon Lynn, Dunia Susi, Olina Vidarsdottir, Kylie Davies (sub Kate Longhurst 75mins), Ester Dos Santos (sub Laura Coombs 80mins), Katie Holtham, Edda Gardarsdottir (sub Helen Bleazard 54mins), Danielle Buet, Eniola Aluko, Helen Ward, Sofia Jakobsson. Subs not used: Jessica Myers, Naomi Cole.
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