Powell: A massive result for us

Head coach praises her side's resilience after goalless draw with Chelsea in the WSL.

By Luke Nicoli • 23 January 2022

By Kyle Hemsley
Hope Powell gives instructions during the 0-0 draw against Chelsea

Albion head coach Hope Powell hailed a “massive” performance from her team following a 0-0 home draw against title-chasing Chelsea. 

The Blues came into the game as strong favourites against a side that had lost its last six games, but the formbook went out of the window as Powell’s side put in a strong rearguard action and created a number of chances of their own. 

“It was massive, based on the run we’ve been on, which hasn’t been particularly good,” said Powell. “It was really important, and joyous, to come away with a point against a very, very good Chelsea side. The players fought until the end and I think we deserved the point.” 

Chelsea, chasing down Arsenal at the top of the WSL table, put Albion under serious pressure in the second half, but some heroics in goal from Megan Walsh – named the Player of the Match – ensured the Seagulls kept their first clean sheet of 2022. 

“Credit to Megan, who I thought was outstanding,” Powell added. “She’s been great for the best part of the season.  

By Kyle Hemsley
Meg Walsh made some crucial saves against Chelsea

“Last season I thought she was good but this season she’s got better. She listens, tries to implement the things we’re asking her to do, and, more importantly, keeps the ball out of the net. That’s what her job is and I think she did it magnificently today.  

“Actually the whole back four played their part, putting bodies on the line, throwing themselves at everything to block everything they could. We were really well organised, stuck to the game-plan and I’m pleased that it worked today.” 

It would be hard to criticise Albion's performance in any way but looking ahead, Powell feels that, against the top sides, her team can keep the ball better. 

“We perhaps give the ball back too cheaply and it’s hard work, especially against the top sides. You’re chasing, you win the ball, and within one pass you give it back, and you’re chasing again. That’s a real energy-sapper.  

“We recognise that it’s important to minimise those turnovers and if you can do that against the quality sides, you stand a better chance of getting something out of the game.”