Match Report: Bristol City 0-4 Chelsea

Bristol City, the surprise package in the first half of last year’s Womens Super League were finding it tough this time around. Having taken only a solitary point from there two opening games against Brighton and Everton, who themselves had finished 9th and 10th last term, just above Yeovil and had failed to score in those two games were hosting Chelsea.

This is the first game of the season at there regular Stoke Gifford Stadium having played out a 0-0 draw against Hope Powell’s Brighton at Ashton Gate in there ‘home opener’ and were hopeful of finding some form in the league after a 3-0 win over London Bees in the Conti Cup last time out. The supporters were hoping the players could rekindle the magic of this fixture last season when an inspired Sophie Baggaley and her Bristol defence held out against an all star Chelsea offense to claim a memorable 0-0 draw.

Before the game several of our Bristol City Women Supporters Group met in a local pub including two of our members who had come all the way from Belgium for the game and were hopeful of a rousing performance from there country woman, the returning Yana Daniel‘s. We also spent time to discuss the game and the potential line ups. Many of us were hopeful that the young exciting Ebony Salmon would make her first start as the lone striker but coach Tanya Oxtoby chose again to go with ethe former Hibernian forward Abi Harrison who had so far failed to find the net in her 11 previous WSL appearances for City.

We arrived at the ground which was buzzing with a good crowd of over 900 including a healthy contingent from Chelsea with all there colourful flags and were congregated at the far end of the ground. The visting supporters were no doubt delighted that a fit again Fran Kirby was back in there starting lineup. The attendance was further swelled with a number of supporters from Birmingham and Reading who’s game had been postponed earlier in the day due to a waterlogged pitch.

We positioned ourselves in our usual spot at the side of the pitch to greet the players onto the pitch with some of our songs and were encouraged with Bristol City playing in there new shiny red kit getting off on the front foot and trying to attack Chelsea’s defence in the first minute.

The feelgood factor and hopes of a repeat or even better of last years fixture took a blow on 3 minutes when Andersson played Guro Reiten in who put Chelsea 1-0 up.

Reiten doubled hers and Chelsea’s tally for the afternoon two minutes later with a well taken goal from a pass by Scottish World Cup star, Erin Cuthbert. She almost got on the scoresheet herself but for a good save from Baggaley.

Chelsea midfielder Ji who had a disappointing World Cup for South Korea wasn’t to be disappointed today as she got the Blues third goal from a Kirby pass on 18 minutes. Surely it was now about damage limitation as Chelsea were running through City’s midfield that has really struggled since the departure of the brilliant Julie Biesmans in the summer.

Bristol tried to get back into the game but were never really able to trouble Berger in the Chelsea goal. Baggaley ensured the score remained at 3-0 to the visitors at half time with a couple of fine saves late in the half and despite the scoreline Jaz Mathews was having a good game with some good tackles. 

City were much more organised in the second half and the tireless Harrison hopeful of breaking her WSL goalscoring duck tried to run at the Chelsea defence with little reward. The talented academy product Georgia Wilson was brought on for City, one of many that Dan Liddiard’s conveyor belt have produced.

Salmon was finally introduced with 12 minutes to go but unable to make an impact. Chelsea finally got there fourth and final goal on 78 minutes when Cuthbert played in Sophie Ingle who scored after City had gallantly held on for an hour and stopped this impressive Chelsea forward line from getting a cricket score which is what looked liked might happen in the first half.

A disappointing result but it is difficult to be too critical considering who we were up against. Still having not scored in the WSL this season and not looking like doing so unless Salmon is on the pitch is a worry. Our next game at bottom club Liverpool is a huge game and must be won if we don’t want to be considered as relegation favourites this early in the season.

Richard Paish
harvpaish@yahoo.com