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Report: Chelsea Ladies 2-1 Sunderland Ladies

Chelsea came from behind to defeat Sunderland in the FAWSL 1 at Staines Town on Wednesday evening.

Stephanie Roche handed the Lady Black Cats the lead after six minutes with powered drive from the edge of the box.

Sunderland’s lead lasted less than a minute, though, as Katie Chapman expertly headed Chelsea level from 10 yards.

Fran Kirby then handed the hosts the lead midway through the first half when her glancing header left Rachael Laws rooted to the spot.

Laws then made a string of excellent saves in the second period as Chelsea piled on the pressure in search of more goals.

Carlton Fairweather rang the changes ahead of kick-off with Danielle Brown and Kelly McDougall named in the starting XI in place of Abby Holmes and Rachel Furness. 

Meanwhile Krystle Johnston was named on the substitutes' bench for the first time since she picked up a muscle injury at Liverpool in April.

After suffering defeat last Wednesday to Liverpool, Sunderland knew it would always be a tough place to go as they looked to respond against the FAWSL1 champions.

But with the Lasses game plan to nullify the hosts’ threat and then hit them on the break, they couldn’t have asked for a better start when they took the lead inside six minutes.

A long ball downfield to Beth Mead caught Chelsea off guard and the forward did well to hold up the ball before releasing to Roche who drilled a left-footed strike into the bottom corner.

It was a ruthless start after Fairweather’s side missed a host of chances last time out against Liverpool.

However, it’s widely stated that you are at your most vulnerable when you have just scored and Chelsea struck back with vengeance to level a minute later through Chapman who headed home Karen Carney’s incisive set-piece.

From there on Chelsea really began to turn the screw and as the clock ticked over into the 21st minute Kirby headed the hosts in front.

Aluko did well down the left hand side and managed to pick Kirby’s near post run out before the forward guided the ball across the face of goal and beyond Laws.

Chelsea continued to dominate and created much of the better chances throughout the first period as the Lady Black Cats were forced to be patient and disciplined in their play.

And that’s the way the game continued to be played in the second period as Aluko looked to drop deeper and control proceedings along with Ji So Yun.

Aluko forced Laws into action from close range before Kirby tried an acrobatic bicycle kick from 12 yards out which flew over the bar.Yun then shaved the outside of the post before Laws, at full stretch, did well to turn behind Aluko’s rasping drive from outside the box.

Fairweather brought on Johnston and Furness in an attempt to freshen things up, but Chelsea’s dominance continued to come through as they looked to make it a two-goal cushion between them and Sunderland.

Aluko was then denied again by Laws who made a fabulous save to deny the striker who look destiny to net her first of the evening.

Sunderland were restricted and Mead was forced to feed on scraps as Chelsea huffed and puffed in search of a third goal.

But as the hosts piled bodies forward, Furness was her disruptive self and bulldozed her way through Chelsea’s rearguard before seeing her shot go behind for a corner.

Unfortunately though, Sunderland couldn’t muster up that one clear-cut chance and Chelsea held out for a deserved victory.

Sunderland Ladies: Laws, Brown, Sharp, Bannon, Williams, McDougall (Furness, 68), Staniforth, Chaplen, Roche, Ramshaw (Johnston, 61), Mead.

Unused subs: Olsen, Potts, Beer, Holmes, Joice.

Attendance: 1,397

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