Report: Blues Women 0-1 Chelsea
Blues Women fell to a defeat against Chelsea in the Barclays FA Women's Super League on Sunday night
Pernille Harder's late penalty was enough to secure the points for Emma Hayes' side.
Blues might have snatched a share of the spoils with a late flurry, but for late stop from Ann Katrin-Berger to deny Emily Whelan.
Darren Carter named an unchanged starting XI from the 1-3 victory at Brighton & Hove Albion eight days previously.
Chelsea started with purpose, Harder was threaded into the right of the box as early as the third minute but her low drive across goal skipped narrowly wide of the far post.
Sam Kerr then unleashed a thunderous shot that whacked the underside of the bar before being gathered by Emily Ramsey and Guro Reiten’s attempt to place a daisy cutter into the far corner while on the run in the left of the box crept just wide.
The pressure subsided from there as Blues sought to build momentum of their own, twice threatening to open up their visitors.
Christie Murray pinched the ball from Sophie Ingle but her shot from the edge of the box was charged down and Veatriki Sarri then did similar to Jess Carter but could not put enough on the pass to play in a colleague.
Sarri’s corner found Louise Quinn at the far post five minutes before half-time with the loose ball hacked clear by Millie Bright.
Half-time: Blues Women 0-0 Chelsea
Half-time substitute Erin Cuthbert’s volley following a blocked shot sailed well over the crossbar four minutes after the interval but while Chelsea pressure kept coming, chances were limited.
Magdalena Eriksson’s hook towards goal just past the hour was bravely blocked by the face of Louise Quinn, while Ramsey was forced to shovel away Harder’s firm shot as pressure gradually began to tell.
Chelsea’s breakthrough came in unfortunate circumstances, a deep ball beyond the far post being kept alive by a yellow shirt and hitting Lisa Robertson’s outstretched arm as she adjusted her body position having leapt to challenge for the ball. Harder coolly swept in the penalty.
Blues got farther up the pitch from there and tried to make an impression, Sarri seizing upon a sloppy pass from Jessie Fleming to run at the Chelsea backline but Bright was on hand to charge down her 20-yard shot.
The pattern of play altered as Chelsea sought to run down the clock and Blues kept pushing right until the end, Sarri’s searching 90th-minute cross just evading Louise Quinn at the far post as Ann-Katrin Berger came from her line to grab the ball.
The big moment was still to come, though, substitute Emily Whelan thumping an effort from a half-cleared corner towards goal only for Berger to flick over, much to the relief of the visitors.
It is hard to look beyond the penalty incident, one that gave the visitors the opportunity they craved and did not always look like coming. Until then Chelsea had been banging on a locked door.
Blues stay on eight Barclays FA Women’s Super League points from their 20 league matches.
Blues (3-4-3): Emily Ramsey; Harriet Scott, Louise Quinn (captain), Gemma Lawley; Abi Cowie (Lucy Whipp, 67), Christie Murray, Jamie Finn, Lisa Robertson (Emily Whelan, 86); Veatriki Sarri, Jade Pennock (Libby Smith, 67), Lucy Quinn.
Unused substitutes: Sarah Ewens, Abbi Jenner, Louanne Worsey, Mikayla Wildgoose, Marie Hourihan.
Bookings: Cowie 35, Robertson 43, Scott 90+5.
Chelsea (3-1-4-2) Ann-Katrin Berger; Millie Bright, Jess Carter (Jonna Andersson, 64), Magdalena Eriksson (captain); Sophie Ingle (Lauren James, 64); Niamh Charles, Pernille Harder (Drew Spence, 82), Jessie Fleming, Guro Reiten; Beth England (Erin Cuthbert, h-t), Sam Kerr (Maren Mjelde, 86).
Unused substitutes: Aniek Nouwen, Alsu Abdullina, Zecira Musovic.
Booking: Berger 90+4.
Referee: Emily Heaslip.