Chelsea Women 2-0 West Ham United Women: Bethany England and Erin Cuthbert goals see hosts climb to second in the WSL table and earn London derby bragging rights
- Substitute Bethany England fired Chelsea Women ahead with an astute tap-in
- Erin Cuthbert doubled the Blues’ lead with a left-footed strike on 82 minutes
- Chelsea now sit second in the Women’s Super League – one point off top spot
Chelsea turned up the heat on Arsenal at the top of the Women’s Super League as they returned to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over West Ham.
Just a point separates the top two with the Gunners on 26 and Chelsea on 25. But the Gunners could extend their lead with a victory over Brighton on Thursday. Manchester United are closely behind on 24 but have played a game more.
The Blues had been without a win in the league since November 21 following a 1-0 defeat by Reading in December and a 0-0 draw with Brighton last weekend.
Bethany England celebrates after giving Chelsea Women the lead against West Ham Women
England (centre left) was mobbed by team-mates after making an instant impact off the bench
Beth England does not want to be seen as a ‘super sub’ but she proved to be just that after coming off the bench to net Chelsea’s first league goal in two months.
The striker was, perhaps harshly, left out of the starting XI despite Sam Kerr’s absence. Kerr is currently competing at the Asia Cup with Australia but Emma Hayes started with a front three of Fran Kirby, Pernille Harder and Jessie Fleming. That is by no means a weak frontline, but it took England’s presence in the box to force the opening goal at the start of the second half.
The most poignant moment of the game, however, came in the seventh minute when players, fans, staff and officials stopped for a minutes applause to remember West Ham fan Isla Caton, who tragically died this week from rare child cancer neuroblastoma.
Chelsea started on the front foot and had the first real chance of the game when Jonna Anderson’s powerful cross from the left found Pernille Harder at the back post, but her header was well saved by Anna Leat.
At the other end, Claudia Walker forced Ann-Katrin Berger into action as the goalkeeper smothered a through ball to prevent the striker from having an effort on goal.
Chelsea continued to press for an opener but found it difficult to break through a resolute Hammers’ defence. Sophie Ingle hit the bar with a cross in the 22nd minute before Harder forced Leat into another smart stop with an effort from just outside the box.
Erin Cuthbert (centre) completed the scoreline with this left-footed strike with minutes left
The 23-year-old was congratulated by her team-mates after doubling the Blues’ advantage
Emma Hayes brought on England for Guro Reiten at half-time and the striker had the desired instant impact as she broke the deadlock in the 51st minute. Erin Cuthbert’s fierce shot was pushed out by Leat but England was there to tap-in from two yards out.
Fran Kirby had a chance to double their lead shortly after but could only fire a shot down the through of Leat after a smart turn on the edge of the box.
In the 82nd minute, Cuthbert did make it 2-0 in the 82nd minute as she hit a left-footed shot that dipped into the right corner of the net.
This was not a vintage Chelsea performance but it was enough to see off a West Ham side who failed to have a shot on target. The WSL title race is still wide open and could take another twist at Meadow Park on Wednesday night.
The match was stopped in the seventh minute to remember West Ham fan Isla Caton