Match Reports

Match report: Carter strikes but Albion beaten by champions

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Hope Powell's side suffer 3-1 WSL defeat against Chelsea.

By Bruce Talbot • 02 October 2021

By Kyle Hemsley
The former Arsenal and Reading striker showed her poacher instincts with a very smart finish.

Albion couldn't repeat their historic win over Chelsea last season as they succumbed to the WSL champions on Saturday.

Hope Powell's side ended the champions' 33-game unbeaten home record in February but Chelsea made sure there was no repeat.

First-half goals from Guro Reitan and Sam Kerr put the home side in control although Danielle Carter gave Albion hope with her second goal of the season just after the break.

By Kyle Hemsley
Danielle Carter now has two WSL goals to her name in an Albion shirt, having also scored against Birmingham City.

Albion probed for an equaliser but Beth England came off the bench to seal the points for Chelsea 11 minutes from time.

The size of Albion's task was evident from the team-sheet. Chelsea's starting XI contained four captains of their country and eight of their subs were also full internationals. Powell made three changes to the team that had reached the FA Cup semi-final in midweek with Danielle Carter, Emma Koivisto and Victoria Williams returning to the side.

Chelsea were on the front foot from the start and could have scored twice in the first seven minutes as Albion struggled to get a foothold in the game. Pernille Harder headed wide from a good position then Sam Kerr fired wide with only Megan Walsh to beat after Chelsea broke when Maya Le Tissier gave the ball away in midfield.

Chelsea’s pressure finally paid off after ten minutes. A quickly-taken throw in left Albion stretched at the back and when Fran Kirby helped the ball on Guro Reitan’s low drive beat Walsh with the aid of a slight deflection.

Albion began to settle and threatened for the first time on 19 minutes when Megan Connolly’s free kick from the right was only partially cleared and Aileen Whelan’s sweetly-struck volley was going in but Magda Eriksson headed clear in front of goal.

Chelsea’s dangerous forward pair Sam Kerr and Kirby were a constant threat and Kirby’s header flew just past the post from Kerr’s cross before the pair combined again in the 38th minute to double Chelsea’s lead. Kirby’s ball from deep on the left into the six-yard box was headed into an empty goal by Kerr as goalkeeper Megan Walsh came but failed to claim. To compound Albion’s woes, Walsh collided with Fliss Gibbons who needed treatment before she could continue.

Albion had a mountain to climb in the second half and made a change at the break with Emily Simpkins coming on for Danique Kerkdijk, with Le Tissier dropping into central defence.

By Kyle Hemsley
Danielle Carter's tidy finish from Aileen Whelan's cross made it 2-1 on the afternoon.

But they were back in the game in the 48th minute. Koivisto’s throw found Whelan who turned her marker to find Carter in space. The striker took a touch then fired home from close range for her second goal of the season and the first Chelsea had conceded at home for eight and a half hours.

Albion were now on the front foot and playing with confidence. Carter’s on-target shot took a deflection after Gibbons had set her up then Whelan almost got a touch at the far post from a free kick as the visitors looked for an equaliser.

It was end-to-end stuff. Reiten headed just over from a corner then forced Walsh to push away a free-kick from the edge of the D, but it was a measure of how well Albion had played that it was their first shot on target in the second half.

Ellie Brazil replaced Connolly with 18 minutes to go then Walsh reacted smartly to smother the ball at Kerr’s feet when she was clean through before Chelsea made the game safe in the 79th minute. Kirby raced through when the ball was headed forward and picked out substitute England, who lashed the ball into the top corner to make it 3-1.

Albion: Walsh, Le Tissier, Williams, Kerkdijk (Simpkins 45), Gibbons, Koivisto, Whelan, Connolly (Brazil 72), Kaagman, Green, Carter (Babajide 86).

Subs not used: Stenson, Babajide, Brazil, Robinson, Arimore, Bance, Cordier.

Booked: Kaagman