The visitors could have gone top of the table with a victory, but a goal from Izzy Christiansen and a stunning strike from Jo Potter condemned the Londoners to defeat, despite Hannah Blundell’s consolation.
Blues made two changes from the team that drew 1-1 with Lincoln nine days earlier as goalkeeper Marie Hourihan and striker Kirsty Linnett returned in place of Mary Earps and the injured Rachel Unitt.
The England international suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury against the Lady Imps that will keep her out for the rest of the season and the upcoming Euro 2013 tournament.
Chelsea gave a starting role to former Blues striker Eni Aluko, who rejoined the club from the DCS Stadium in the winter.
Following a day of torrential rain, it was somewhat surprising to see the pitch covered in evening sunshine; conditions that reflected Blues’ start to the game.
The hosts were the shining light in the early proceedings with Kerys Harrop firing inches wide from 25 yards and their crisp passing could not have been more fitting on a brisk spring night.
Christiansen gave a hint of things to come in the 11th minute when she rolled her marker smartly from a throw-in, but after cutting inside on her left foot, she floated her effort wide of Carly Telford’s goal. Harrop then had her second chance of the night as she connected with Potter’s corner, but her header was straight at the Chelsea stopper.
The visitors’ control was letting them down when they did get into the Blues half as Bleazard ran the ball out of play from a dangerous position and Chelsea Weston intercepted Aluko’s through ball before it could reach Sofia Jakobsson.
Blues continued to press as efforts from Linnett and Harrop failing to beat Telford, but the visitors grew into the game and should have taken the lead in the 38th minute when Helen Ward got free inside the Blues box. However, her effort across the face of goal was diverted behind by the slightest of touches from Hourihan’s outstretched right boot as the half ended goalless.
Whatever Blues boss David Parker said to his side during the interval clearly worked.
Blues took the lead just 12 seconds into the second half when Linnett played a through ball to Christiansen who drove through a chasm at the centre of the Chelsea defence before drilling home from 12 yards.
The hosts’ frantic start to the half seemed to take Chelsea by surprise and it was not long before Blues doubled their advantage.
In what must surely be a contender for goal of the season, Potter took aim from 35 yards before rifling an effort into the top corner using her trusted left foot. It was a moment of magic from Potter and the second sensational strike that Chelsea had seen a Blues player score against them this season following Rachel Williams’ 30-yard bullet on the opening day of the season.
That seemed to spark Chelsea into life as Dunia Susi and Danielle Buet both fired over from range as the visitors searched for a way back in to the contest.
In the 72nd minute, they were given hope. Having come on as a substitute just two minutes prior, Hannah Blundell cut inside from her advanced left-back position and fired a rasping effort into the top corner to leave Hourihan helpless.
Williams, putting in yet another tireless display up front, was replaced by Katie Wilkinson with moments remaining after the striker dislocated a finger in a committed challenge and with Chelsea trying to notch an equaliser, Blues gradually started to take the sting out of the game.
Referee Simon Barrow soon blew the final whistle and Blues celebrated their first win of the season following three consecutive draws.
Blues: Hourihan; Weston, Harrop, Bassett (c), Westwood; Christiansen, Potter, Moore, Lawley; Williams (Wilkinson, 88) Linnett (Torkildsen, 75).
Unused subs: Simpkins, George, Earps, Haines.
Goals: Christiansen (46), Potter (55)
Chelsea: Telford, Vidarsdottir (Blundell 70), Holtham, Buet, Aluko, Ward, Davies, Bleazard (Spence, 62), Susi, Gardarsdottir (Dos Santos, 51), Jakobsson.
Unused subs: Cole, Myers, Coombs, Longhurst.
Goals: Blundell (72)
Player of the Match: Jo Potter