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Chelsea 8 (Banusic 16,23,35, Rafferty 31, Ayane 55,60,64,67) London Bees 0
Chelsea convincingly booked a quarter-final place in this season's Continental Tyres Cup with a big home win in the final group stage game at Staines.
There was an early warning for London Bees, who lost 13-0 to Chelsea in a game in this competition a year ago, when Ana Borges placed a ball through for Jodie Brett to chase but it bounced through to the keeper. Marija Banusic, on her sixth start of the season as part of a two-pronged attack with Atlanta Primus, then battled to make something from loose control in the Bees defence before the first clear chance of the game came. Found onside by a long pass from the left, Laura Coombs steadied herself but hit a diagonal shot just wide.
Two Banusic shots were saved in the space of a minute but there was a brief threat from the opposition when with the Bees' first real attack, Emma Whitter poked a shot not too far wide. Another Banusic shot was saved and Hannah Blundell, operating as a left wing back, fired wide.
Coombs continued to cause the Bees problems with her runs from midfield behind the defence and it was clear Chelsea were trying to expose their opponents for pace with early balls forward. It was a tactic that paid dividends with 15 minutes on the clock. Drew Spence was the player with the long delivery out wide that found Borges in acres on the right. With time to look up and aim, the Portuguese wide player delivered the ball perfectly for Banusic to find the net with a firm strike at the far post.
The half was at the midway point when a close copy of the opening goal made it 2-0, the main difference being Banusic heading in Borges's higher delivery. Spence could have added a third goal from the same source but headed at the keeper.
When an enterprising run from the back by Anne Meiwald won a free kick, a Banusic hat-trick was on the cards. The keeper saved the powerful free kick but it was a very short reprieve as Laura Rafferty was on hand to score from the rebound.
Banusic did not have to wait long for her third goal and Chelsea's fourth. London Bees dithered when the chance was there to clear their box and the striker smashed the loose ball home.
There had been little asked of the Chelsea back three and keeper in the opening half but Jenna Legg stopped one attack with an excellently timed tackle, and Marie Hourihan grabbed a shot well from under her bar when they were called into duty. Brett came close to adding a fifth before the break with a lob that was caught by a falling Sophie Harris just before it dropped in.
London Bees enjoyed their best spell of the game at the start of the second-half, including a header from a corner that was deflected onto the bar. Chelsea had switched things around at the break with the wing backs swapping flanks and Banusic back in midfield since the introduction of Rosella Ayane up front for her second game of the season. The 19-year-old soon had her first goal of the campaign too, a neat finish on the run from just inside the area.
Ayane put Chelsea 6-0 ahead only five minutes later, this time found running clear down the left-hand channel and scoring with an equally confident low strike.
The goals kept coming for the young striker who was scoring with almost every touch. Another player benefitting from early service, her hat-trick was secured from close range and she fired Chelsea 8-0 ahead with a 20-yarder that went in off the bar.
A Blundell 25-yarder that deflected wide off a defender and Ayane chipping a shot not too far wide kept the pressure on in the closing minutes. The final chance fell to Brett who shot just wide. A young Chelsea side, with Lauren Pickett and Ocean Ronaldsen given a first chance during the second half, had thoroughly merited such a convincing scoreline.
Chelsea: Marie Hourihan, Ana Borges, Jenna Legg, Laura Rafferty, Hannah Blundell, Jodie Brett, Laura Coombs, Drew Spence (sub Rosella Ayane 45mins), Anne Meiwald, Marija Banusic (sub Ocean Rolandson 66mins), Atlanta Primus (sub Lauren Pickett 63mins). Subs not used: Fran Kitching, Gilly Flaherty.
London Bees: Sophie Harris, Billie Brooks, Jade Dempster, Aoife Hurley, Katherine Huggins, Rebecca Anderson, Paige Wakefield, Paula Howells (sub Kara Howes 58mins), Ashleigh Goddard (sub Andria Georgiou 66mins), Gemma Fraser, Emma Whitter (sub Sydney Hinchcliffe 61mins). Subs not used: Immy Riches, Leigh Nicol, Sam Miller, Beth Davies.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
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