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Chelsea 7 Doncaster Rovers Belles 0
Chelsea made a stunning return to competitive action with a 7-0 SSE F A Women's Cup Fifth Round victory over WSL 2 opponents Doncaster Rovers Belles at Staines Town F.C.
New recruits Crystal Dunn and Ramona Bachmann marked their debuts with first half goals and Maren Mjelde went very close to joining them on several occasions, whilst another new recruit, Erin Cuthbert also impressed in a second half cameo as the exciting potential and depth of the new look squad became obvious. Were it not for several fine saves by Belles keeper Nicky Davies and second half chances missed the score would have been more painful for the Belles.
USA international Dunn made the initial breakthrough after Davies had blocked Mjelde's powerful header from Karen Carney's corner on 12 minutes. Courtney Sweetman-Kirk had Belles' first effort on 19 minutes but her shot was held by Hedvig Lindahl. A goal line clearance from Leandra Little denied Bachmann before Ji So-Yun added the second on 33 minutes. The same player added the third four minutes later whilst Davies denied Dunn from a long range shot, then Mjelde with an excellent tip over from another close range header.
An own goal provided a rampant home team with the fourth from a Bachmann cross before the Swiss international opened her account right on the break from a Carney cross to complete a four goals in 12 minutes blitz.
The second half followed a similar pattern in terms of chances created but Belles showed their spirit by resisting bravely to keep the score within reasonable bounds. Dunn was denied by a last ditch tackle, Mjelde crashed a 20-yard effort against the bar, Davies made a stunning save to frustrate Bachmann in a one-on-one whilst Sophie Barker was on hand to clear off the line in another goalmouth scramble.
It was Chelsea's British contingent who added the last two goals, Katie Chapman powering in a header from another Carney cross on 70 minutes, then sub Drew Spence shooting home when set up by debuting Cuthbert two minutes later.
Belles battled hard as they had done all afternoon and Sweetman-Kirk had a great chance to notch a consolation late on but her header from a left wing cross was straight at Lindahl.
Chelsea will hope to go one better than last year's Wembley defeat to Arsenal whilst Belles were unfortunate to be on the receiving end of sparkling debuts from high class international talent as well as the more familiar stars in the opposition ranks.
Hedvig Lindahl, Hannah Blundell, Millie Bright, Karen Carney, Ji So-Yun, Claire Rafferty, Katie Chapman, Maren Mjelde, Crystal Dunn, Ramona Bachmann, Jade Bailey. Subs: Fran Kitching, Beth England, Deanna Cooper, Erin Cuthbert, Drew Spence.
Doncaster Rovers Belles:
Nicky Davies, Maz Pacheco, Sam Tierney, Leandra Little, Rachel Newborough, Sophie Barker, Kasia Lipka, Emily Simpkins, Kirsty Hanson, Christie Murray, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk. Subs: Marta Bakowska-Mathews, Rebecca Rayner, Yasmin Mosby.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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