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Chelsea 1 (Aluko 55) Liverpool 0
Chelsea continued their 100 per cent start to the season with a significant victory over last season's league winners Liverpool at Wheatsheaf Park.
The visitors started well at an overcast Wheatsheaf Park, pressing quickly when Chelsea had possession and looking to win the ball high up the pitch. A number of deep corners and hanging crosses caused problems for Hedvig Lindahl in the Blues goal, though the Swedish international coped well with the early threat.
Down the other end, Liverpool goalkeeper Libby Stout needed to race quickly off her line to thwart the lively Ji So Yun before Eniola Aluko escaped in behind the backline but fired a low shot narrowly wide of the far post.
Asisat Oshoala fired wide and then over the crossbar in quick succession as the Reds continued to make ground in the Chelsea half, while they almost carved out a wonderful counter attacking move through Line Smorsgard and Fara Williams but wasted the chance with one pass too many.
As the interval loomed, captain Gemma Bonner twice threatened for Liverpool with headers at the back post following deep set piece deliveries from Williams before Gemma Davison's shot from distance was routinely gathered by Stout.
The Blues restarted after the break with purpose and almost took an early lead as Millie Bright received the ball from Ji on the edge of the box and took aim, although her powerful drive narrowly missed the target. However, it took just ten minutes for the deadlock to be broken and it was the home side celebrating.
Aluko, lurking dangerously on the shoulder of the last defender, raced on to a lofted forward pass from Laura Coombs and dinked the ball perfectly over the stranded Stout and into the back of the net.
Liverpool had a chance to grab an instant leveller as Oshoala fashioned a sight at goal with a strong run down the right channel, though her fierce rising drive rose inches over the upright. Emma Hayes's side then had a big shout for a penalty after an hour as Davison beat Satara Murray to a loose ball in the box and appeared to be bundled over by the defender, yet the referee waved away the home appeals.
Moments later, the officials had awarded a spot kick at the other end. Williams' ball into the box struck the hand of the defending Aluko and the well positioned referee had no hesitation in awarding Liverpool a penalty. Williams stepped up from 12 yards, sent Lindahl the wrong way but skewed her effort wide of the post.
Coombs fired wide following more good work from Davison but Liverpool grew into the half as they sought a route back into the game. Claire Rafferty defended well in the air and Lindahl remained alert in goal right until the final whistle as Chelsea made it three wins from three at the start of their Women's Super League campaign.
Chelsea: Hedvig Lindahl, Hannah Blundell, Niamh Fahey, Gilly Flaherty, Claire Rafferty, Millie Bright, Laura Coombs, Gemma Davison, Eniola Aluko, Ji So Yun (sub Jackie Groenen 84mins), Drew Spence. Subs not used: Marie Hourihan, Ana Borges, Katie Chapman, Jodie Brett, Anne Meiwald, Marija Banusic.
Liverpool: Libby Stout, Martha Harris, Gemma Bonner, Satara Murray, Corina Schroder (sub Ingrid Ryland 74mins), Becky Easton, Fara Williams, Kate Longhurst (sub Katie Zelem 81mins), Line Smorsgard (sub Lucy Staniforth 74mins), Asisat Oshoala, Natasha Dowie. Subs not used: Danielle Gibbons.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
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