Frank Kirby (right) rolled in Chelsea's opener in what was a dominant first half for her side
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Chelsea 2-0 Man City: Emma Hayes’ side pick up first win of the season after Fran Kirby and Maren Mjelde strikes help them to victory over pointless City

  • Chelsea defeated Manchester City in the Women’s Super League on Sunday
  • Fran Kirby’s strike and Maren Mjelde’s penalty earned Emma Hayes’ side the win
  • It was their first victory of the season after defeat against Liverpool last weekend
  • City remain without a point so far this season and are tenth in the WSL table 

In years gone by, matches between Chelsea and Manchester City have been pulsating, end to end affairs that have finished with high scorelines. 

But after an opening day defeat at newly promoted Liverpool, Chelsea boss Emma Hayes had said she would be happy with a dull and close game with few goals, as long as her team came out on top. She got her wish.

This was by no means a classic but Chelsea were worthy winners, with goals from Fran Kirby and Maren Mjelde sealing a 2-0 victory.

Frank Kirby (right) rolled in Chelsea's opener in what was a dominant first half for her side

Frank Kirby (right) rolled in Chelsea’s opener in what was a dominant first half for her side

Maren Mjelde (second right) scored a penalty 12 minutes from time to make it 2-0 to Chelsea

Maren Mjelde (second right) scored a penalty 12 minutes from time to make it 2-0 to Chelsea

‘First half I thought we overplayed, we kept playing ourselves into trouble,’ Hayes said. ‘Second half we adapted, they stopped pressing. We were lucky in the first half. 

‘It felt like today was the season opener, not last week. It looked like two teams who haven’t got momentum in the season. I thought it was comfortable in the end after a poor first half. The collective leadership in my group I think is further ahead of Man City.’

City have now lost their first two games of the season for the first time since 2014.

The word crisis is too strong but all is not well in the blue half of Manchester. The exodus of key players over the summer made for a tumultuous pre-season before an early exit from the Champions League. 

The presence of former Netherlands boss Mark Parsons in the crowd at Kingsmeadow may have been a coincidence but pressure will continue to mount on City boss Gareth Taylor if results do not improve and chances of a title challenge already look slim.

Mjelde's spot kick gave her side some breathing space in a dull second half at Kingsmeadow

Mjelde’s spot kick gave her side some breathing space in a dull second half at Kingsmeadow

Emma Hayes' side picked up their first points of the season after defeat to Liverpool last week

Emma Hayes’ side picked up their first points of the season after defeat to Liverpool last week

MATCH FACTS 

Chelsea (4-2-1-3): Berger, Mjelde (Perisset 86), Bright, Buchanan, Eriksson, Fleming (Ingle 65), Cuthbert, Kirby, James (Rytting Kaneryd 90+1), Reiten (Charles 87), Kerr

Subs not used: Musovic, Carter, England, Svitkova, Charles, Cankovic

Goals: Kirby 42, Mjelde 78

Manager: Emma Hayes

Manchester City (4-3-3): Roebuck, Casparij, Houghton, Greenwood, Ouahabi, Coombs, Aleixandri (Losada 84), Castellanos, Kelly, Hemp (Raso 79), Shaw (Blakstad 84)

Subs not used: MacIver, Stokes, Fowler, Angeldahl, Raso, Losada, Keating, Hutchings, Blakstad

Booked: Ouahabi

Goals: None

Manager: Gareth Taylor

Referee: Abigail Byrne

Attendance: 4,403

‘That’s the nature of the league, I’ve always been negative about that, 22 games is nothing,’ Taylor said. It is what it is. Unless teams keep beating each other, then you can maybe get away with four defeats in a season and still win the league, so we can’t do much about that. 

‘It’s a new team with new players to bed in. These will be really good players and this will be a really good team. 

‘Unfortunately at the moment we have a couple of defeats which is really difficult to take but there are positives to take forward.’

Also in the stands was Sarina Wiegman. There was a mixed bag of performances from the England players on show but the standout performer was Lauren James. 

The forward was making only her second competitive start for the Blues after her first year was spent working her way up to full fitness. An impressive pre-season was enough to earn her a call-up to last month’s England squad. 

There is still more to come from James, but today was evidence of the huge potential she has. Her passing, dribbling and awareness was first class. It was not as good a day for City’s England hopefuls.

Steph Houghton had said this week that she did not want to retire from international football on an injury after missing out on selection for the Euros. 

She was given her chance to impress the on-looking Wiegman, but it is doubtful whether she will have done enough to force her way into next week’s squad. The defender almost gifted Chelsea the opener with a misplaced back-pass to goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck. The ball was intercepted by Sam Kerr but, instead of shooting, the forward played a poor pass to Kirby whose eventual effort was blocked. 

That was a let off, but City would be punished just before half-time. Jessie Fleming skipped past Houghton on the edge of the box and played through Guro Reiten. 

She cut the ball back to an unmarked Kirby and, with Roebuck having been drawn off her line, had an empty net to finish into. City could have equalised straight after going behind as Laura Coombs hit the post.

The defending champions will be able to take confidence from beating last year's runners up

The defending champions will be able to take confidence from beating last year’s runners up

Only one team really looked like scoring in the second half and it was the home side. 

James nearly doubled their lead with a driving run and strike from the edge of the box but Roebuck got down to make the save. 

The decisive goal came 12 minutes from time as Sophie Ingle’s shot was blocked by the hand of Leila Ouahabi. Referee Abigail Byrne pointed to the spot and Mjelde converted superbly into the top corner. 

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