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Lincoln Ladies 2 (Horwood 19, Cantrell 88) Chelsea 0
Lincoln continued their winning form from midweek as they overcame visitors Chelsea to record their first league victory of the season.
After playing 120 minutes on Wednesday in the Continental Cup semi finals, as well as penalties, it could have been forgiven if Lincoln looked a bit tired, but a high tempo performance saw Lincoln come away with all three points.
It was all Lincoln from the beginning, Bonnie Horwood and Remi Allen winning the majority of tackles in the middle, as a the front three put continued pressure on the visitors' back line. It was pressure from Aileen Whelan which won Lincoln's first corner of the game, pressuring Helen Bleazard into misplacing her ball backwards, Horwood's corner just missing the head of Wednesday's scorer Courtney Sweetman-Kirk before being cleared.
Chelsea did offer a threat going forward and after Lara Fay had blocked an initial cross, Casey Stoney made a good interception and clearance, as the ball was dangerously whipped in.
Good running from Martha Harris forced Chelsea into conceding a corner, which almost saw Lincoln take the lead. Horwood's corner looked to be drifting in before Carly Telford punched it clear from under the bar, Fay putting the cross back in to Sweetman-Kirk. The striker's header, which looked goalbound, was blocked and fell to Sophie Bradley who hooked the ball towards goal, but could only watch as it hit the bar and was cleared.
With nineteen minutes gone, Lincoln did take the lead. Another dangerous Horwood corner swung in towards goal, Telford this time not able to punch clear and the ball floated over everyone and into the back of the net.
Four minutes later Lincoln almost doubled the lead. Jess Clarke's dangerous running won Lincoln a corner. The ball fell to Sweetman-Kirk, the striker' header was again blocked, the ball being played back into the striker who took it down before poking it past the onrushing Telford. The Chelsea 'keeper managed to get something on the ball, stopping it going in. Whelan followed up, but only to be denied by Telford again, the loose ball being cleared off the line by a covering defender.
As the game past the half hour mark Chelsea had their best chance to equalise. Sophie Bradley sold Karen Bardsley short with her back pass, setting Helen Ward through on goal. The striker rushed through on goal, looking to drill the ball past Bardsley, the England stopper making a fantastic reaction save to keep her side in the lead.
As the match approached half time, first Lara Fay shot narrowly over after a neat one-two with Sweetman-Kirk, before Horwood almost did it again from a corner, Telford clearing well from under her bar.
Just before the hour mark Telford almost gifted Lincoln a second. Whelan chased down a back pass, the 'keeper only kicking it as far as Sweetman-Kirk, she played it back to her striker partner, but Whelan, on her birthday, was unable to beat Telford who had recovered.
Shortly after Chelsea hit Lincoln on the counter attack. Jakobsson beating the offside trap out wide and pulling the ball back, but just too far behind the onrushing Ogimi.
With five minutes left Lincoln almost got the goal to seal the three points. Horwood produced another excellent set piece, Sweetman-Kirk heading the ball down to Lillie Billson who couldn't force the ball beyond the defenders.
Billson then presented Chelsea with a great chance to equalise, the striker conceding a free kick on the edge of her box. Ogimi took the set piece, but could only fire well over the bar.
As the minutes ticked down, Lincoln doubled their advantage. Another Horwood corner caused panic in the Chelsea defence and substitute Carla Cantrell added the finishing touch, beating the defender on the line.
Shortly after the referee blew for full time, Lincoln's first league win of the season, which lifts them up within two points of Everton above them.
Lincoln Ladies: Karen Bardsley, Lara Fay, Martha Harris (sub Sophie Walton 63mins), Meaghan Sargeant (sub Lillie Billson 77mins), Sophie Bradley, Casey Stoney, Bonnie Horwood, Aileen Whelan, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk (sub Carla Cantrell 83mins), Remi Allen, Jess Clarke. Subs not used: Jules Draycott, Rachel Lee, Emily Roberts.
Chelsea: Carly Telford, Hannah Blundell, Helen Bleazard (sub Dunia Susi 45mins), Sophie Ingle, Ester Dos Santos (sub Laura Coombs 69mins), Katie Holtham, Yuki Ogimi, Danielle Buet, Eniola Aluko, Helen Ward (sub Drew Spence 59mins), Sofia Jakobsson. Subs not used: Marie Hourihan, Kylie Davies, Jodie Brett, Rosella Ayane.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
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