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Chelsea Women 4 Everton Women 0
Sam Kerr and Fran Kirby both got off the mark for the season as Chelsea eased to their first victory of the new campaign at home to a sloppy Everton side.
Returning straight back to winning ways after last Sunday’s opening-weekend defeat away at Arsenal, Chelsea manager Emma Hayes warned her side are “just getting going” after they terrorised the Everton defence.
Having led the way last term with a combined 37 goals and 18 assists, Kerr and Kirby returned to start for the champions and Australia’s Kerr scored twice, including capitalising on a woeful error from Everton’s Megan Finnigan for her first, after Kirby had opened the scoring. Substitute Beth England added a fourth for the hosts after coming on, on an afternoon when Hayes felt her team could have scored more.
“For the amount of shots [27 shots] that we had, it shouldn’t be 4-0, we need to be more clinical. But I’m happier with the clean sheet,” Hayes said.
“We’re just getting going, so it’s three points and I’m really happy. We knew that’d be a tough opening fixture [last week] considering Arsenal had more games under their belt, but it’s not about where you begin, it’s about where you end, and we will be competing to win every week.”
For Everton, the 4-0 defeat was their second in a row by that scoreline, having had the daunting task of beginning their season against last term’s top two, but their sloppy defending was exposed again.
Chelsea repeatedly opened up the visitors’ backline, which - as in the first half against Man City - consisted of a back three plus wing-backs. The opener came with great style, as England’s Kirby latched onto Ji so-Yun’s low ball down the left, turned inside Nathalie Bjorn and clipped a shot in off the inside of the far post for her first of the season.
Kerr, Denmark’s Pernille Harder and South Korea’s Ji also went close in the first half for Emma Hayes’ on-song team, who led 1-0 at the break, before they were completely gifted the second.
Everton centre-half Finnigan endured a moment she will desperately want to forget, as she failed to get sufficient power on a square pass back to goalkeeper Sandy MacIver and instead simply rolled the ball inadvertently to last season's golden boot-winner Kerr, who had the easiest of tasks to tap in her first.
The lively Harder then hit the post, before Kerr doubled her tally with a goal that was more befitting of her classy display; The 28-year-old produced a fine, downward header from Guro Reiten’s precise cross from the left.
As Chelsea continued to press, Scotland Erin Cuthbert hit the woodwork and her strike bounced out to substitute England, who poked on rebound with her first touch after coming on.
Everton, who signed nine new players this summer after finishing fifth last term and have high hopes of breaking into top three this term, looked like a side with a lot of work to do if they are to seriously challenge for a European place.
“The first two results have been really poor, I’m not accepting them and the players are not accepting them. We need to start picking up points very, very quickly,” said Everton manager Willie Kirk, who added that their next game at home to Birmingham City after the international break is a “must-win” game.
Hayes defended her counterpart, adding: “People are mad to think they [Everton] are just going to win leagues like that. My team has been together for 10 years. It takes time to build. Everyone needs to be calm and patient with Everton, they’re going to be a good side.”
Controversial goal ends City’s run
Manchester City Women 1 Tottenham Hotspur Women 2
Manchester City were beaten at home in the Women’s Super League for the first time since April 2018 as Tottenham claimed a major upset with a controversial victory at the Academy Stadium.
The title hopefuls were stunned when Angela Addison’s cross hit Steph Houghton, hit the post, and then bounced in off the hosts’ goalkeeper Karima Benameur with just four minutes to go, but Man City head coach Gareth Taylor said it was “incredible” that the officials had not disallowed the winner.
Tottenham substitute Rosella Ayane handled the ball as the cross came in, throwing both of her arms into the air as she jumped in front of Houghton. But there is no use of the VAR system in the WSL and the goal was given.
The stunning result ended a 19-game unbeaten league streak for the hosts, who had won 15 of their past 16 WSL games, and could have a major impact on the title race at the end of the season.
An exasperated Taylor said: “I don't think it was one hand, it was two two hands. It completely put Steph Houghton off clearing the ball. It's pretty incredible really that we've not had that chalked off.”
However, he also stressed: “We should have been out of sight by then and it should have been a consolation for them. It's on us to make sure we're out of sight before that situation happens.”
The fact they weren’t out of sight by then was partly down to an inspired performance from Tottenham goalkeeper Becky Spencer, whose best save saw her tip a close range Ellen White effort over.
Lauren Hemp had headed Man City into an early lead, and they bombarded the visitors’ goal in the first half before Tottenham drew level after the break on the counter, when Rachel Williams turned home Chioma Ubogagu’s low ball from the left.
A tiring City went close through Georgia Stanway, Vicky Losada and Bunny Shaw, but they were left frustrated after conceding the scrappiest of late winners. The result saw Manchester City’s week go from bad to worse, four days after being knocked out of the Women’s Champions League by Real Madrid.
Tottenham had lost by a three-goal margin in all three of their previous WSL meetings with Manchester City, but they appear to be much-improved under Rehanne Skinner, who said of their controversial winning goal: "We created several chances in that phase of the game so I thought we earned it.”
Manchester City Women (4-3-3): Benameur; Morgan (Angeldahl, 15), Houghton, Kennedy (Shaw, 73) Greenwood; Losada, Coombs, Stanway; Beckie (Park, 62), White, Hemp.
Subs not used: Stokes, Scott, Mace, Keating (gk).
Goal: Hemp (6).
Tottenham Hotspur Women (4-4-2): Spencer; Ale, Bartrip, Zadorsky (Harrop, 90+5), Neville; Percival, Clemaron, Green (Ubogagu, 46), Naz (Addison 82); Simon (Graham, 61), Williams (Ayane, 81).
Subs not used: Korpela (gk), Morgan, Cho, Tang.
Goals: Williams (61), Benameur (86, og).
Referee: Abigail Byrne (Suffolk).