Birmingham City Ladies 0 Chelsea Ladies 1
BLUES Ladies’ wait for a first league win of the campaign continues after leaders Chelsea clinched maximum points in deserved fashion on Sunday.
The visitors looked a well drilled unit throughout and, inspired by the dangerous promptings of Ji So-Yun and former Blues forward Eni Aluko, they made it four wins from as many league games this season.
Blues, for whom the main positives were the second half returns to the side of Karen Carney, Freda Ayisi and Kirsty Linnett, now face a vital match at home to Bristol Academy on Wednesday as they bid to put some daylight between themselves and the bottom placed side.
The only goal of the game arrived in the ninth minute and, whilst it capped a bright start by Chelsea, Blues will be disappointed by the way it came about.
Hesitant play in possession at the back resulted in a needless corner from which Chelsea captain Katie Chapman was able to hook the ball beyond Blues keeper Becky Spencer.
Other than a Jo Potter free kick which flew over the bar, the hosts could not get behind the Chelsea defence and the visitors were the more likely to add to the scoring.
Aluko twice surged dangerously into the box and on the second occasion Spencer made a smart save at her near post to deny the striker after So-Yun’s through ball.
Spencer made a brilliant save eight minutes before the break when Aluko’s defence-splitting pass set Gemma Davison in on goal on the right but Spencer denied the midfielder with a fine block with her legs.
Blues began the second half with the welcome return to the side of Carney and Ayisi from injury and suspension respectively and Ayisi created instant danger with a fine run down the left, but her well struck strike was blocked.
Chelsea continued to look the more composed and So-Yun did superbly to jink her way into the box on the right but she was crowded out at the expense of a corner.
Chelsea came within a whisker of extending their lead in the 71st minute when defender Gilly Flaherty hooked a shot against the post on the turn from close range following a corner, as again the hosts lived dangerously.
Ayisi tried her luck from distance two minutes later but her shot was deflected and was a comfortable save for Hedvig Lindahl.
Linnett then made her return to the side from an ankle injury in the 75th minute as the hosts made their final throw of the dice, but after that there was little in the way of goalmouth action as Chelsea sealed a victory which keeps them above Arsenal by two points as the London duo set the pace.