Chelsea began their defence of the Women’s Super League with a 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge.
The Blues almost scored in just the sixth minute when Jess Carter’s header was cleared off the line by Molly Bartrip but Spurs did look threatening whenever they went forward with new arrival Martha Thomas a handful for the Chelsea defence.
Another new signing who immediately looked the part was Chelsea’s Mia Fishel. The American linked impressively well with her new teammates and headed her team into the lead in the 28th minute when she got on the end of Niamh Charles’ cross.
It could have been 1-1 at half-time when Thomas was played through but Zećira Mušović was able to keep the shot out.
Emma Hayes’ team threatened to wrap the game up early in the second half after a long period of pressure that virtually led to two goals in the same move – and what was almost a controversial moment.
Ashleigh Neville did her best to try and prevent Fishel’s effort from going in but it looked like the ball had crossed over the line. The decision wasn’t given though and there is no goal-line technology in the WSL to alert the referee.
To save the official’s blushes, Chelsea scored immediately after as Neville’s clearance ended back with the Blues with Charles again providing a cross this time for Lauren James to bury.
Tottenham Hotspur looked to have lost some of their earlier attacking momentum in the second half but they did find a way back into the game.
In the 78th minute, Rosella Ayane had an effort that Mušović couldn’t hold on to. Martha Thomas was the first to react and poke the ball home to get what was a very deserved goal based on her performance.
If Mušović had been at fault for that goal she did manage to make a vital save to deny Jessica Naz just a few minutes later.
Chelsea managed to get control of the game late on to complete a professional performance in what was a tricky opening fixture.
Hayes will be particularly happy to see how new signing Fishel performed in her first game and to see Fran Kirby back on the pitch for the first time since early February.
Meanwhile, there were plenty of positives for Robert Vilahamn with Spurs looking much improved over last year based on this performance.