Sjoeke Nüsken scored a brilliant double as Chelsea battled from behind to beat Brighton 4-2 at Kingsmeadow on Sunday.
Nüsken, 22, netted either side of half time to cancel out Pauline Bremer’s opener, as well as playing a key role in contributing to Guro Bergsvand’s own goal in the 74th minute.
The win sends Chelsea back level on points with Manchester City at the top of the Women’s Super League (WSL).
The away side had initially stunned the hosts when Bremer fired in at the back post after a neat interchange with Katie Robinson on the right-hand side, although there was a suspicion of offside in the build-up.
Emma Hayes’ side responded with an onslaught on the Brighton goal. Fran Kirby saw two efforts cannon off the crossbar, with the second effort preceding a goalmouth scramble that somehow managed to elude the goal.
Kirby and Sam Kerr also had chances with only the Brighton goalkeeper to beat but neither could convert.
However, the equaliser did arrive seconds before the half time whistle. Centre back Jess Carter found herself in an unlikely position on the left wing and delivered a pinpoint cross for Nüsken to head home at a crucial time.
The second half followed a similar script, with Chelsea refusing to relent. Seven minutes into the second half, after receiving the ball into space on the right-hand side, Sam Kerr unselfishly played the ball across the box for Nüsken to score her second of the match.
Nüsken, who signed from Eintracht Frankfurt in May, nearly completed her hat-trick in the 74th minute as she attempted to run onto another Kerr pass.
Although the ball did trickle in, the final touch was deemed to have been made by Bergsvand.
The midfielder still claimed the match ball at the full-time whistle, which was a just reward for her player of the match performance.
Eight minutes later, Aggie Beever-Jones scored her first senior goal to seal the victory, although there was still time for Brighton to hit back with a late consolation through Elisabeth Terland after some complacent Chelsea defending.
Hayes described the match as a “basketball game” at times, which was a testament to the constant threat that Brighton posed to Chelsea throughout the match.
Whilst she was pleased with her side’s attacking fluidity, Hayes was not satisfied with the overall defensive effort of the team.
“It’s important to understand that as good as the give and go’s are, you’ve got to defend, and everybody’s got to do that.”
The overriding feeling from the Chelsea manager was that her side are a work in progress, and she was quick to put into perspective that the Blues were in a worse position in the table at this time last year.
There’s no doubt that it’s the best group (of players) I’ve ever had,” she added.
Chelsea will next travel to Aston Villa on November 4 after the international break.