Chelsea 2-0 West Ham: Emma Hayes’ Chelsea move to top of WSL table with Kingsmeadow win

Having opened their 2023/24 Barclays Women’s Super League campaign at Stamford Bridge, the reigning champions would return to Kingsmeadow on Saturday – with Sam Kerr and Fran Kirby both making their first starts of the season after returning from injury.

CHE: Mušović; Carter, Mjelde, Bright; Laurence, Leupolz, Ingle, Charles; Kirby, Kerr, James

WHU: Arnold; Cooke, Cissoko, Smith; Evans, Shimizu, Hayashi, Denton; Asseyi, Ueki, Harries

A cagey opening half saw Lauren James have the first effort at goal, cutting inside with ten minutes on the clock – but despite her nifty footwork from the right-hand side, she fired just wide of the post. Chelsea would find the back of the net soon after with Sam Kerr, although the assistant referee’s flag had already been raised for offside.

Kerr would break the deadlock after 37 minutes in Kingsmeadow, nodding home an orchestrated header from Niamh Charles’ ball from the left flank – with the Australian making amends for her earlier disallowed goal.

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The Hammers would try to bounce back straight away through Viv Asseyi, forcing Zečira Mušović to stretch for her headed effort. The away end wouldn’t be sent into raptures though, as her shot flew just wide of the post.

Chelsea would seek to double their lead just before the half-time break as Fran Kirby picked out Lauren James with a cutting-edge pass, although the home fans were left disgruntled when the England star failed to add to the advantage.

Kirsty Smith sought to restore parity after the break, though Mušović was able to palm her hooked effort over the crossbar.

But ultimately, it was Emma Hayes’ Blues that found the next goal – with Erin Cuthbert doubling the lead with just minutes remaining in South London. The Scottish international netted her first league goal of the season, misguiding Mackenzie Arnold before picking out the bottom corner.

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Aggie Beever-Jones’ desperate efforts to add a third goal were in vein, as Chelsea settled for a two-goal lead in front of a buoyant crowd at Kingsmeadow. Emma Hayes’ side move to the top of the WSL table as a result, although the league’s other ten teams will all be in action on Sunday.