Chelsea Women 1-0 Tottenham Ladies: Bethany England seals WSL win
Arsenal, Everton and Reading also claim victories on opening weekend of the FA Women's Super League season
By PA Media
Last Updated: 09/09/19 10:53am
Bethany England's stunning fourth-minute strike sealed victory for Chelsea over London rivals Tottenham in the Women's Super League in front of just under 25,000 fans at Stamford Bridge.
England's early long-distance shot was enough for the Blues to secure a 1-0 win in a match they dominated for long periods in their first game of the season.
Spurs goalkeeper Becky Spencer kept her side in the game in the first half, making two good saves to deny Hannah Blundell and Guro Reiten.
The attendance figures did not break the 31,213 at the Etihad Stadium for the Manchester derby on Saturday, but dwarfed the previous season's record of 5,265 at Brighton last season.
Tottenham survived an early scare when the ball fell to Chelsea captain Magdalena Eriksson at the far post inside the opening two minutes of the match, but her attempt went just wide.
The home side did not have to wait long for the goal however, with England's effort from outside the box the perfect opening.
Chelsea continued to look the more dominant, as Spencer was called into action a number of times in the first half and made some good saves, notably a deflected effort from Blundell and a powerful strike from Reiten.
Tottenham started to come back into the contest and came close to scoring the equaliser with their best chance of the match just four minutes after the restart when debutant Rachel Furness hit a low shot but Ann-Katrin Berger managed to dive low and make the save.
Chelsea hit the woodwork twice in the 58th minute, as Drew Spence hit a powerful strike onto the crossbar, before Reiten's follow-up header hit the post.
As the Blues looked for a second goal to seal all three points, Reiten sent in a curling free-kick which forced Spencer into another good save to deny the Norwegian midfielder.
In added time, England almost added a second after driving into the box and sending a powerful effort towards the goal, but Spencer was again able to make the save and deny the Blues forward.
Reigning champions Arsenal were given a fright in the second half as they were forced to cling on for a 2-1 win over West Ham at Boreham Wood.
Beth Mead fired a 14th-minute opener from the edge of the box and when Jill Roord side-footed home her side's second just before the break, Arsenal looked set to cruise to victory.
But West Ham stormed back in the second half, with Martha Thomas reducing the deficit with a 58th-minute header then Kenza Dali going agonisingly close to an equaliser when her deflected 30-yard free-kick hit the post.
FA Women's Super League results
- Chelsea Women 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur Ladies
- Birmingham Women 0-1 Everton Ladies
- Liverpool Women 0-1 Reading Women
- Arsenal Women 2-1 West Ham Women
Former Liverpool star Fara Williams returned to haunt her former club as she scored the only goal of the game in Reading's victory at Prenton Park.
Williams, twice a WSL winner while on Merseyside, floated home a free-kick shortly before half-time but the Royals were made to fight for their victory.
New signing Melissa Lawley missed a fine first-half chance for Liverpool while Rinsola Babajide and Lawley again could have grabbed at least a point for the hosts.
An own goal from Kerys Harrop early in the second half handed Everton a 1-0 win over Birmingham in Solihull.
Claudia Walker came close for the home side in the first half but Blues keeper Hannah Hampton pulled off a brilliant save to deny Simone Magill from point-bank range.