Chelsea pick up crucial win, Tottenham saved by superb free kick

Guro Reiten of Chelsea celebrates with Magdalena Eriksson after scoring her team's first goal during the Barclays FA Women's Super League match between Chelsea and Birmingham City at Kingsmeadow  (Photo by Linnea Rheborg/Getty Images)
Guro Reiten of Chelsea celebrates with Magdalena Eriksson after scoring her team's first goal during the Barclays FA Women's Super League match between Chelsea and Birmingham City at Kingsmeadow (Photo by Linnea Rheborg/Getty Images)

Guro Reiten and Bethany England earned Chelsea three crucial points with victory over Birmingham City leaving their side just one point behind Barclays FA WSL leaders Manchester City.

It took 46 minutes before Reiten poked her side into the lead from a loose ball and England managed to double the advantage 12 minutes later.

Lucy Staniforth had Birmingham’s clearest opportunity in the 36th minute when her stunning strike dipped just over the crossbar.

After a strong first half, Birmingham were unable to replicate their successful 3-2 result last time they travelled to Kingsmeadow.

Erin Cuthbert had Chelsea’s first attempt on goal in the 20th minute, but Hannah Hampton comfortably knocked the ball out for a corner.

Staniforth failed to give her side the lead nine minutes before the break with a stunning shot that went over the net after a promising City attack down the left wing.

On the stroke of half-time, a cross from Jonna Andersson resulted in Reiten netting a loose ball to put Chelsea in the lead.

A poor clearance from the visiting defence in the 52nd minute forced Hampton into a stunning save to deny Drew Spence’s shot from the corner of the box.

It wasn’t until the 58th minute that England broke free of the City defence and doubled Chelsea’s advantage with ease against the Birmingham stopper.

England was denied a second by the post in the 76th minute from a left footed shot low towards the right corner of Hampton’s goal, but the Blues comfortably held on for the win.

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Chelsea's Sophie Ingle said: "They set up really well compared to the last time we played them - I think they’ve changed a lot.

"It was tough for us, we had to move the ball a lot and try and tire them out basically. I think our fitness showed in the second half.

"They didn’t play like a team towards the bottom of the table and credit where credit's due, they defended really well and luckily we got the goal just before half-time which killed their momentum."

Birmingham's Lucy Staniforth said: "I felt we battled well, we showed that we’ve grown up a lot since the last time we played them. We’re not a pushover.

"I’m just so proud with how well we competed and in the first half we played some good football. We showed that we have a bit of grit and personality about us to take the game to Chelsea at times."

Chelsea (4-4-2): Carly Telford, Hannah Blundell, Millie Bright, Sophie Ingle, Bethany England, Guro Reiten, Magdalena Eriksson, Maren Mjelde, Erin Cuthbert, Drew Spence, Jonna Andersson

Substitutes: Ramona Bachmann for Spence 66, Jess Carter for Ingle 76, Maria Thorisdottir for Reiten 77

Substitutes not used: Ann-Katrin Berger, So-Yun Ji, Deanna Cooper

Goals: Reiten 46, England 58

Birmingham (4-2-3-1): Hannah Hampton, Sarah Mayling, Kerys Harrop, Chloe Arthur, Rachel Williams, Brianna Visalli, Abbi Grant, Adrienne Jordan, Georgia Brougham, Lucy Whipp, Lucy Staniforth

Substitutes: Emma Kelly for Visalli 78, Claudia Walker for Grant 84

Substitutes not used: Alex Brooks, Harriet Scott, Connie Scofield, Rebecca Holloway

Referee: Robert Whitton

Attendance: 1,928

by Alex Waite, Sportsbeat

Emma Mitchell’s superb free kick rescued a point for Tottenham who came back from two goals down to grab a 2-2 draw with Everton.

Mitchell's strike rounded off a captivating match at The Hive, which saw Everton race into a two goal lead thanks to strikes from Chloe Kelly and Inessa Kaagman.

Angela Addison pulled one back for Spurs with her first ever Barclays FA Women's Super League goal, before Rosella Ayane was shown the red card for lashing out after being fouled.

Mitchell then stepped up to save the day for her side, to leave both sides locked together in mid-table.

The first chance came after 22 minutes when Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah found space inside the Spurs area and shot quickly. Becky Spencer saved but parried to Chloe Kelly, who’s follow up shot was blocked by a desperate Spurs defence.

Spencer almost gifted a goal to Everton minutes later, as she threw the ball against Boye-Hlorkah and Simone Magill controlled the ball but she was tackled before releasing a shot.

Against the run of play, Rianna Dean raced through for Spurs after some loose passing from the Everton defence, but her curling shot hit the post.

The breakthrough came for Everton on the half hour mark, as Kaagman pressured the Spurs defence, won the ball back well and teed up Kelly who fired into the bottom corner for the opener.

Everton started the second half-brightly, with Kelly playing a first time ball for Boye-Hlorkah who raced through and hit the ball early but her shot flashed just wide.

The Toffees doubled their lead on 56 minutes when the ball was played into Magill who controlled well and fed Kaagman who lashed a pinpoint shot into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

Everton continued to push forward but midway through the first half Ria Percival delivered a deep cross which was met by substitute Angela Addison at the far post who guided her header into the bottom left corner.

Ayane was sent off with 15 minutes left for kicking out following a heavy challenge. From the resulting free kick, Mitchell stepped up from 30 yards out and curled into the top right corner.

Both sides had chances in an end to end finish, but neither was able to get the winner.

Tottenham head coach Juan Amoros said: “Going 1-0 down was never good and we changed a couple of things about how we press and that we believe in our work and how we do things. We had our chances and in the second half we took them.

“The pitch was a little bit wet and is got a bit risky and dangerous but this is football. I think both teams played fair. I need to see what happened with the red card because it was a bad challenge from the opposition but the player sent off was ours.

“We created our own problems a little bit at times, it’s something we will address but we are a team who try to play and be brave on the ball and I don’t think we’ll change that because that’s what we believe in. A lot of our chances came from being brave in possession.”

Everton manager Willie Kirk said: “It’s our first draw of the season. It’s frustrating but that’s where we are as a team, I feel there is still loads and loads of potential and so many things to improve on and one of those is killing games off when we’re on top.

“We let a player turn infield easily for their first and there’s a player unmarked in the box. We never really had a chance to capitalize on the 10 men in terms of keeping a lead intact, but it was the first goal that changed the momentum of the game and that’s ultimately what’s done us.

“These are good lessons for the squad but I think there are loads of positives to take. The first 60 minutes we were really good and the amount of chances we created in the first-half.”

Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Becky Spencer, Ria Percival, Josie Green, Anna Filbey, Gemma Davison, Chloe Peplow, Rianna Dean, Emma Mitchell, Rosella Ayane, Hannah Godfrey, Ashleigh Neville

Substitutes: Angela Addison for Chloe Peplow 45, Lucia Leon for Gemma Davison 89, Lucy Quinn for Rianna Dean 90

Substitutes not used: Chloe Morgan, Coral-Jade Haines, Jenna Schillaci, Siri Worm,

Goals: Angela Addison 67, Emma Mitchell 77

Bookings: Ria Percival 61

Red Cards: Rosella Ayane 76

Everton (4-3-3): Tinja-Riikka Korpela, Danielle Turner, Gabrielle George, Simone Magill, Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah, Inessa Kaagman,Chloe Kelly, Lucy Graham, Megan Finnigan, Maeva Clemaron, Esme Morgan

Substitutes: Hannah Cain for Simone Magill 63, Abbey-Leigh Stringer for Chloe Kelly 76

Substitutes not used: Sandy Maciver, Taylor Hinds, Kika Van Es, Kirstie Levell

Goals: Chloe Kelly 30, Inessa Kaagman

Bookings: Chloe Kelly 28, Hannah Cain 85

Referee: Ryan Atkin

Attendance: 768