Match Reports

Resilient Albion hold the champions

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Hope Powell's side end poor run of results with goalless draw against Chelsea

By Bruce Talbot • 23 January 2022

By Kyle Hemsley
Maya Le Tissier wins a race for the loose ball

Albion ended their poor run of results with an excellent point against WSL champions Chelsea at the People’s Pension Stadium.

In front of a crowd of 1743 Hope Powell’s side kept Chelsea at bay with a resilient defensive performance, with player of the match Megan Walsh making a string of fine saves, particularly in the second half.

Albion had to soak up a lot of pressure and defended superbly but they also had chances at the other end, with Danielle Carter going close three times.

After losing their last six in all competitions Albion showed great organisation and spirit to get their deserved reward. It was their first draw of the season.

By Kyle Hemsley
Danielle Carter forced a great save with this first-half shot

Albion brought in Kayleigh Green and Megan Connolly to the starting XI after last week’s 1-0 defeat to Leicester City and Hope Powell knew her side would have to be strong defensively and they showed that in the first 45 minutes.

Pernille Harder was Chelsea’s main threat down the left and two crosses caused Albion problems. Guro Reiten stabbed the ball wide on the stretch and Danique Kerkdijk did well to block Fran Kirby’s effort.

Kirby also brought out the best in Walsh when she got through on goal but Walsh saved with her outstretched leg.

But it wasn’t all one-way traffic and Chelsea keeper Katrin Berger made a great save at full stretch when she pushed Carter right-foot shot from outside the box in the 18th minute.

Kirby went close again when she met Harder’s cross with a close-range header that flew narrowly over. Harder was the instigator again in the 51st minute with a pull-back to Erin Cuthbert 15 yards out, but she fired narrowly wide when it seemed easier to score.

By Kyle Hemsley
Emma Koivisto holds off Fran Kirby's challenge

Walsh made another great save to smother Harder’s close-range volley before Cuthbert beat Walsh from 15 yards with a powerful drive but fortunately for the hosts it came back off the crossbar. It was the bit of luck they deserved.

Maisie Symonds replaced Kerkdijk and the midfielder created a chance for the hosts with 14 minutes to go when Carter helped on her right-wing cross at the near post but Berger was in position to make a save.

Walsh saved her best stop until late on when substitute Beth England met a cross with a firm header but Walsh saved with her leg and Albion’s defence, as they had all afternoon, cleared the loose ball.

Carter's work-rate and movement was good throughout and she  nearly caught out Berger in the final minute of normal time with a shot from 35 yards which the keeper scrambled away. There was still time for Walsh to make another great save to deny Kirby as Albion dug deep until the final whistle.

Albion: Walsh, Koivisto, Le Tissier, Williams, Kerkdijk (Symonds 64), Kullberg, Connolly, Whelan, Kaagman (Zigiotti 78), Green, Carter (Brazil 90).

Subs: Startup, Bowman, Bance, Simpkins, Robinson, Startup.