Chelsea Women 3-1 Brighton & Hove Albion Women: The Blues moved up to second place in the WSL

Chelsea put a League Cup final defeat behind them as they beat Brighton and one point adrift of Super League Women’s leaders Manchester United.

Blues boss Emma Hayes got the answer she demanded as Chelsea moved up to second in the table ahead of Sunday’s home game against United.

A managerless Brighton lost on a Guro Reiten penalty before Jess Carter doubled the hosts’ lead.

Johanna Rytting Kaneryd added a third before consoling Danielle Carter.

The Blues dominated despite seven changes to the side, who were beaten by Arsenal at Selhurst Park on Sunday.

Swedish winger Kaneryd had an early attempt to clear from the goal line as the match was goalless, Jelena Cankovic crossed the bar and Sam Kerr’s attempt was ruled out for offside.

Brighton, who announced the departure of manager Jens Scheuer on Monday by mutual consent after only two months in charge, were hit at the bar after the break by Elisabeth Terland.

They remain in 11th place in the table with eight points, two more than the weakest club Leicester City.

Chelsea shows character to bounce back

Chelsea suffered after losing the first major trophy of the season and Hayes admitted her star players did not match Arsenal’s desires at the weekend.

But they are still very much in the hunt for a fourth consecutive WSL title with Sunday’s match against Manchester United – which is live on BBC Two at 12:30 GMT – an encounter of immense importance at the top.

Chelsea, who have a match in hand with the leader, have won 11 times in a 12-match unbeaten run.

That result – and response – was exactly what Hayes wanted ahead of the crucial three weeks that also include the Champions League quarter-final against holders Lyon and the FA Cup quarter-final at Reading.

The only surprise was that Kerr – one of the four survivors of the so-called starting XI against Arsenal – missed the target after scoring 11 goals in the previous six matches.

Kerr looked ready for 3-0 but was knocked back by an excellent save by Australia teammate Lydia Williams from eight yards out before setting up Kaneryd to complete a comfortable win.

Chelsea players celebrate scoring a goal against Brighton in the Women's Super League
Chelsea have scored 73 goals in 24 matches in all competitions this season

Positives in Brighton defeat

There were positives in the defeat for Amy Merricks who is in her second spell as interim boss of Brighton this season.

At 2-0, the Seagulls made their best moment of the game as Terland hit the bar with an ambitious shot from the angle.

Even after a 3-0 down, the visitors showed a fight as substitute Carter scored four minutes after coming on to prevent Chelsea from having a clean sheet.

It remains to be seen how long Merricks will hold out on this occasion, having scored four points in three WSL games following Hope Powell’s departure before Scheuer was named.

But Brighton need to tighten up their defense as they fight to avoid relegation. They have conceded 54 goals in 16 games since registering their last WSL shutdown in March 2022.

“Goal difference will matter” – reaction

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes: “That was a great answer. The team wanted to focus on defense and that was something Millie wanted [Bright] he said before the game.

“This is an amazing group of women. They know what it requires and what it needs [to react after the Arsenal defeat] and I thought they reacted the way we would all like.

“The players are upset to concede a sloppy goal so late and goal difference will matter.

“I took Millie off and gave other players a chance. If you’re disrupting the line of defence, you’ve got to expect it. But for me the priority was to win the game and we still have to play our third game this week. It’s an important game and we need fresh players for Sunday. ”

Brighton interim boss Amy Merricks: “I’m really proud of the players for the way they’ve contributed. We can build on that performance in the second half. I was impressed with the way they competed because it was a 48 hour gale.

“On Sunday we focus all our attention on Manchester City. It’s a great game and opportunity for us.”


Women from Chelsea

Creation 4-1-4-1

  • 1Musovic
  • 18Mjelde
  • 26Buchanan
  • 4BrightReplaced byEnglishOn 82′minutes
  • 7Driver
  • 8LeupolzReplaced byclay poleOn 81′minutes
  • 19Kaneryd Ritting
  • 17Fleming
  • 28Cankovic
  • 11ReitenReplaced byAbdullinOn 76′minutes
  • 20KerrReplaced byCharlesOn 76′minutes


  • 5English
  • 10James
  • 15Perisset
  • 16Eriksson
  • 21Charles
  • 27Abdullin
  • thirtyBerger
  • 31clay pole

Women of Brighton

Creation 5-4-1

  • 25Williams
  • 16Kullberg
  • 8Connolly
  • 20Williams
  • 21morse
  • 3Pattinson
  • 22Robinson
  • 10Olme
  • 9LeewardReplaced byDriverOn 84′minutes
  • 4VisallaReplaced bysarriOn 64′minutesBooked for 68 minutes
  • 11TerlandReplaced bybanksOn 84′minutes


  • 1Walsh
  • 5Bergsvand
  • 7sarri
  • 12banks
  • 14Park
  • 18Driver
  • 23Jarvis
  • 40Activation

Abigail Byrne


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