Chelsea continued their electric start to the season by comfortably beating relegation-battling Everton 3-0 at Walton Hall Park.
The victory means Chelsea remain atop the Women’s Super League (WSL), as well as maintaining their unbeaten record this season.
Emma Hayes made two changes to the Chelsea side who beat Aston Villa 6-0 last weekend, replacing attackers Fran Kirby and Mia Fishel, with Jelena Čanković and Sam Kerr.
To mark Remembrance Sunday, all match officials were either current or former serving members of the British Armed Forces, a first for a WSL game.
Everton started the better team, with Chelsea keeper Ann Katrin Berger having to perform a great save to prevent the away side from going a goal down within the first two minutes.
However, it was not long before The Blues imposed themselves on the game, with the combination of Eve Périsset and Johanna Rytting Kaneryd creating a lot of problems on The Toffees’ left-hand side.
Everton continued to struggle with the Chelsea onslaught and this would eventually lead to a poor defensive header by Clare Wheeler being collected by Jessie Flemming in the penalty box. Flemming was then able to neatly volley the ball across the goal into the bottom-right corner.
After going a goal-down, Everton began to grow into the game, testing the Chelsea defence with several dangerous counters and set pieces. They came close to an equaliser when striker Martina Piemonte capitalised on a Milly Bright miskick, leading to a clear shot on goal that required another impressive save from Berger.
Minutes later, Everton believed they had finally cracked Chelsea’s defence when midfielder Justine Vanhaevermaet put the ball into the back of the net, after a scramble in the six-yard box, but the goal was flagged for offside.
Despite the visible improvement of the home side, Chelsea were still able to create a number of chances, but a lack of clinical finishing meant the scoreline remained 1-0 going into the halftime break.
The Blues started well and dominated possession when play resumed, but poor passing in the final third meant they were unable to increase their lead in the early minutes of the second half. Erin Cuthbert came closest to extending the league, but her long-range effort struck the bar.
However, their persistence finally paid off, as Kerr instinctively poked in a low cross from Kaneryd on the right-hand side. Going 2-0 down seemed to be quite consequential for The Toffees, as their heads seemed to drop, which allowed the visitors to firmly establish themself in the game
The away side’s control of the game was only boosted by the introduction of Kirby and Lauren James after the Kerr goal.
Much to the annoyance of Chelsea and their traveling support, the away side was unable to convert a lot of their chances in the second half, despite their dominance in possession and poor performance from the Everton defence
Fortunately, in the dying minutes of the game, Agnes Beever-Jones (who was on loan at Everton last season) received the ball at the righthand corner of the Everton penalty box and beautifully curled the ball into the left-hand corner of the net. This superb finish immediately quelled the frustrations of the Chelsea fans, and the team was able to see out the game 3-0 victors.
Chelsea travel to the Spanish capital on Wednesday to kick off their UEFA Women’s Champions League (UWCL) campaign against Real Madrid. Departing manager Emma Hayes will be eager to end her successful Chelsea tenure with a UWCL trophy, a competition she has yet to win.