In a stunning performance at Vicarage Road, the Blues successfully defended their Continental Cup trophy against the Vixens. It ended Bristol City 0-6 Chelsea, giving Emma Hayes’s side a 2nd Conti Cup after their 2-1 victory against Arsenal last year.
Emma Hayes put out a strong lineup with Magda Eriksson back in the starting eleven after being sidelined due to injury. Beth England missed the match due to concussion, whilst Jessie Fleming and Guro Reiten found themselves in the mix, having both struggled for minutes this season They came in for Ji and Pernille Harder, who were both rested after midweek.
Chelsea were heavily fancied ahead of kick-off and it didn’t take long for them to open the scoreline. Barely two minutes in, Jessie Fleming drove forward from midfield and played in Kirby. The club record goalscorer held off the Bristol defender before whipped the ball in for Kerr who comfortably swept home from close range.
A similar situation arose barely eight minutes later. Fleming pressed the Bristol defence, causing them to panic and Kirby nipped in. As always, the English attacker’s radar was pinpoint. She played in Sam Kerr and the Aussie finished cooly across goal to make it Bristol City 0-2 Chelsea. The brace goal was notable as it was the first appearance in England of Sam Kerr’s signature backflip celebration.
Emma Hayes’s team continued to dominate possession and control the ball, with Bristol scrambling desperately to keep the Blues at bay. Both Magda Eriksson and Millie Bright went close from set-pieces. Yana Daniels was very lucky to not concede a penalty with a blatant handball to block a goalbound effort.
By the 28th minute, the game was over as a comtest. Fran Kirby having had two assists already, grabbed a goal. It was somewhat fortunate as Vixens’ keeper Sophie Baggaley committed a rare error, playing the ball straight to Kirby. She made no mistake, chipping in brilliantly from 30 yards.
Kirby grabbed her 2nd goal, and Chelsea’s fourth of the afternoon on the 34th minute. A splendid exchange of passes between Kerr and Kirby sprung the offside trap, and the latter strode into the box. Although Baggaley and a covering defender provided ample challenge, Kirby shot low and her effort squirmed through Baggaley’s legs into the net.
Chelsea continued to control the match and Bristol offered little resistance. A rare foray forward in added time of the first half saw Salmon get past Jonna Andersson, but her cutback to Ella Mastrantonio saw the Australian midfielder blaze over the bar.
HT: Bristol City 0-4 Chelsea
With the game already over a contest, Emma Hayes made 3 changes at the break to keep fresh legs on the pitch. Hannah Blundell, Erin Cuthbert and Drew Spence all came into the action, replacing Sophie Ingle, Melly Leupolz and Jonna Andersson.
It took just four minutes into the second half for Chelsea to get a 5th. Again, it was the brilliance of Kirby and Kerr linking up. Bristol City caught cold from their own corner. Guro Reiten broke away and her pass was inch-perfect for Fran Kirby. She showed composure and calmness and rolled it across for the Australian to sweep into an empty net.
The goalscoring for the afternoon concluded on the 55th minute. The mercurial Kirby was involved again. Collecting a pass from substitute Spence, she drove into the box and looked likely to claim her own hat-trick. Instead, she squared for Reiten who had the simple task to sweep home from 6 yards. Bristol City 0-6 Chelsea comfortably secured the margin for the biggest ever Continental Cup Final victory.
The 60th minute saw another pair of changes as the indomitable Kirby and Kerr made way. Niamh Charles and Jess Carter replaced them. Bristol played their part in the second half well and were unlucky to not grab a consolation goal. AKB made good stops from Ebony Salmon and Palmer as the Vixens pressed.
The game sadly ended on a sour note. On the 74th minute, Palmer and Maren Mjelde collided in an innocuous challenge. The Norwegian fullback landed awkwardly on her knee, clearly in discomfort. After a lengthy period of treatment, she left the field on a stretcher. We wish her the best in recovering from the serious injury.
The final few minutes were muted following this event. Harrison briefly threatened to grab a goal for Bristol but was denied by Millie Bright’s sliding challenge. At the other end, Chelsea could have put more gloss on the scoreline. Drew Spence volleyed wide from Charles’s precise cross, before Charles herself was denied twice by Baggaley.
It remained Bristol City 0-6 Chelsea and this was the end result, after a subdued period of added time.
FT: Bristol City 0-6 Chelsea
POTM: Continental Cup Final: Bristol City 0-6 Chelsea
Final Thoughts: Continental Cup Final – Bristol City 0-6 Chelsea
The Blues were thoroughly outstanding and deserved their victory. The performances of Kerr and Kirby were, in particular, brilliant.
They will hope this is not the only piece of silverware they win this season. They currently lead the WSL, and also a UWCL tie against Wolfsburg to contend with the forthcoming weeks.
The only blot on the copybook is Mjelde’s injury. She is a key member of the squad due to versatility and experience and the Blues will miss her.
Written by Tobs (@blueflops)
Edited by Rob Pratley