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Women's Football News
Chelsea 1 (Perry 48) Lincoln Ladies 1 (Cantrell 35)
In a match of two halves, both Chelsea and Lincoln Ladies opened their scoring and points accounts in the WSL with a 1-1 draw in an entertaining encounter.
The Imps dominated the first half and deserved their interval lead through Carla Cantrell. Chelsea soon drew level and had marginally the better of the second period, although Lincoln were always dangerous. In the end, the result was a fair reflection of the match, although both sides created enough chances to have won.
Lincoln penned the Blues back from the start, looking stronger and sharper all over the pitch. Sue Smith struck an powerful free kick from 20 yards, forcing Carly Telford to punch clear. A long throw from Sophie Bradley caused havoc in the Chelsea penalty area and Jess Clarke volleyed over from close in on 10 minutes.
Lucy Staniforth drove into the box on 17 minutes only for Gemma Bonner to slide in with a fine tackle as she was about to shoot. Clarke and Cantrell again went close before another Bradley long throw was flicked on by Leandra Little for Cantrell to head in from five yards on 35 minutes.
Staniforth nearly added a second, but was denied by Telford's alert block. Just before half time, Chelsea finally managed a wothwhile attempt on goal, Helen Lander flicking a header just wide from a Claire Rafferty free kick.
The home side got the lift they badly needed three minutes after the break when a Rafferty corner cleared the entire Lincoln defence and Sophie Perry stooped to head the ball in from a couple of yards beyond the far post.
The introduction of Drew Spence, Danni Bird and Becky Jane from the bench gave Chelsea far more punch up front in support of Lander. It was Bird who missed the best chance when a lob rebounded from the bar and she fired wide from ten yards on 75 minutes. Meanwhile Lincoln stiill threatened, the impressive Cantrell hit a superb 50-yard pass to release Jess Clarke who shot wide and another wicked Smith free kick then nearly forced an own goal, the ball skimming the bar with Telford helpless on 86 minutes.
The final chance to settle a fast paced match fell to Lander, but she was foiled by a good save by Imps keeper Kay Hawke, who blocked an attempt to slide the ball past her from five yards.
Both teams can take encouragement from their periods of dominance and the creation of a number of chances. Lincoln go next to table topping Birmingham City on Sunday whilst Chelsea have their first away match at unbeaten Doncaster Rovers Belles.
Chelsea: Carly Telford, Lara Fay, Sophie Perry, Leanne Champ (sub Dannii Bird 63mins), Gemma Bonner, Kylie Davies, Ashlee Hincks (sub Becky Jane 79mins), Dani Buet, Hayley Morwood, Helen Lander, Claire Rafferty (sub Drew Spence 63mins). Subs not used: Sarah Quantrill, Emma Plewa.
Lincoln Ladies: Kay Hawke, Mel Sutcliffe, Leandra Little (sub Rachel Daly 75mins), Sophie Walton, Casey Stoney, Sophie Bradley, Jess Clarke, Sue Smith, Megan Harris, Carla Cantrell, Lucy Staniforth (sub Stacey Aisthorpe 83mins). Subs not used: Remi Allen, Bonnie Horwood, Nicola Hobbs.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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