Chelsea Ladies chose the most spectacular way to finish off their successful season and claim the title of ‘invincibles’. In a match that fully encapsulated Chelsea’s never say die attitude and fighting spirit, the Blues staged a roaring second half comeback as they overturned a two nil deficit to come out with a 3-2 victory away from home against Liverpool. The champions finish the season on the best of notes as they say goodbye to a number of influential players.
Claire Rafferty, Katie Chapman & Eni Aluko all started in what would be their final games for Chelsea; Carly Telford took the goalkeeper gloves and was joined by a back three of Magda Eriksson, Maria Thorisdottir and the ever-present Millie Bright. Liverpool obviously didn’t read the script of the afternoon as they immediately took the initiative of the match; only 22 seconds had been played when Caroline Weir stormed down the right and put a cross in, Thorisdottir missed her kick and there was Jess Clarke to slot the home side into the lead.
The first goal enthused the Merseyside club and not even ten minutes had passed when Liverpool had doubled their lead. Again, a cross wasn’t dealt with efficiently and the ball fell to Niamh Charles who smashed the ball in from about 15 yards out. That double blow to the Blues seemed to spark them into action as they looked to defend their unbeaten record.
Millie Bright came close to halving the deficit as she met a corner with a powerful header that went just wide. As the game approached half time, Aluko then had a chance that went astray and at half time it looked like it wouldn’t be the champion’s day.
The second half saw a formation change to 4-4-2 and a lot of endeavour from the Blues but nothing was coming off. As the game entered the final twenty minutes, Chelsea still had a lot to do to make up the deficit. In fact, Chelsea’s desperation to get back into the game nearly led to Liverpool getting a third, only the long legs of Thorisdottir saved the Blues as Alex Greenwood could have been one on one with Chelsea putting everyone forward.
That interception proved vital as almost immediately Chelsea went down the other end and pulled a goal back. The ball was played over the top to Eni Aluko who showed great strength to hold off the defender and put the ball in the net for her 68th and final goal for Chelsea. Once Chelsea had got the first, they smelt blood and the second goal came soon after.
Liverpool thought they had avoided danger after heading away a cross, what they didn’t expect was for Ji So-Yun to smash a right footed volley in from that clearance. It was a stunning effort and Chelsea were level.
At that point it was all Chelsea and three minutes later, the turnaround was complete. Again, Ji provided a moment of immense class as she received the ball on the edge of the area, cut back onto her left foot to get a bit of space and curled the ball into the top corner as her teammates rushed to celebrate with her.
With the victory, Chelsea capped off a historic double winning season with the title of invincibles. Chelsea finished top of the table with 13 wins and 5 draws, finishing 6 points ahead of 2nd place Manchester City Women.