Sjoeke Nusken scored her first Chelsea goals since joining from Eintracht Frankfurt in July as they proved too strong at Kingsmeadow
Summer signing Sjoeke Nusken scored twice as Chelsea came from behind to beat Brighton & Hove Albion at Kingsmeadow and draw level on points with Women’s Super League leaders Manchester City.
German international midfielder Nusken nodded Jess Carter’s inswinging cross past Sophie Baggaley from close range to break Brighton’s resistance on the stroke of half-time, replying after Pauline Bremer’s tap-in from a Katie Robinson cross had given the visitors a surprise early lead.
Sam Kerr set up two of Chelsea’s goals after the restart, allowing former Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Nusken to curl in as part of a rapid counter-attack and sending in a cross which Brighton defender Guro Bergsvand poked home.
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Nusken punished defensive slackness to supply the pass for substitute Aggie Beever-Jones to sweep in a late fourth, embellishing Chelsea’s 18th successive WSL home victory before Elisabeth Terland scored her fourth Brighton goal of the season in the 90th minute.
Fran Kirby struck the crossbar twice with first-half shots as part of a Chelsea attacking display featuring 30 attempts at goal – the most of any team in a WSL match this season.
Brighton goalkeeper Baggaley responded impressively, making a succession of inspired saves behind a defence who frequently performed last-ditch heroics to prevent their opponents from scoring sooner.
Albion have now lost three successive league matches since their opening-day win at Everton, leaving them three points clear of the foot of the table and four shy of the top half.
Chelsea, who are on an 11-game unbeaten run in the top flight, are next in action when they visit Aston Villa on 4 November, while Brighton host Manchester United the following day.
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With on-loan Belgium goalkeeper Nicky Evrard not involved for Brighton against her parent club, Baggaley proved why she was an astute signing from Manchester United in September by making seven saves before the break.
The former back-up to England’s Mary Earps saw Kirby’s curling sixth-minute effort wobble the woodwork, then denied Kerr from a one-on-one and clawed the ball away with the Australian international poised to pounce on the line.
Kirby hit the crossbar again as part of a quickfire flurry of chances, and Maria Thorisdottir hacked a clearance off the line as Brighton held on until Carter found Nusken unmarked to provide relief for the reigning champions in first-half added time.
Chelsea had 28 attempts on goal and 66 touches inside Brighton’s penalty area, with visiting goalkeeper Sophie Baggaley making nine saves
Baggaley initially thwarted Chelsea after the restart, saving from Rytting Kaneryd after the substitute had skipped through and skimmed in a dangerous drive, but Brighton – scorers in all eight of their last WSL away games – retained a threat.
Albion’s win at Chelsea in 2021 makes them the only league side to have beaten Emma Hayes’ team at home since January 2019, and Bremer twice tested Ann-Katrin Berger, while Niamh Charles alertly diverted a Robinson delivery behind to prevent the hosts from equalising.
Eventually, though, Chelsea’s pressure told. Nusken gave them the lead as part of an incisive move to ease any fears that the holders’ long winning home run would come to an end and cost them ground on City, who won at Leicester on Saturday to become the leaders after four games.
Nusken will feel a little unlucky not to have had a hat-trick with Bergsvand having being ruled to have had the final touch on Chelsea’s third goal, and the 22-year-old unselfishly assisted for Beever-Jones when Brighton surrendered possession through wayward passing at the back.
Second-bottom Villa, who are yet to earn a point this season, and third-bottom Everton now await Chelsea before their Champions League campaign begins at Real Madrid on 15 November. On this form, anything less than maximum points from those games would be a shock.
- Match Stats
- Live Text
- 26BuchananSubstituted forRytting Kanerydat 45’minutes
- 5IngleSubstituted forBeever-Jonesat 79’minutes
- 14KirbySubstituted forCankovicat 56’minutes
- 20KerrSubstituted forFishelat 79’minutes
- 10JamesSubstituted forFlemingat 56’minutes
- 19Rytting Kaneryd
- 26LiSubstituted forRuleat 67’minutes
- 22RobinsonSubstituted forSarriat 67’minutes
- 17Ferreira PintoSubstituted forSymondsat 59’minutes
- 8BremerSubstituted forHaleyat 78’minutes
- 9LeeSubstituted forTerlandat 59’minutes
Home TeamChelsea WomenAway TeamBrighton WomenPossessionHome64%Away36%ShotsHome31Away7Shots on TargetHome13Away4CornersHome8Away3FoulsHome4Away6
Match ends, Chelsea Women 4, Brighton and Hove Albion Women 2.
Second Half ends, Chelsea Women 4, Brighton and Hove Albion Women 2.
Offside, Brighton and Hove Albion Women. Emma Kullberg tries a through ball, but Elisabeth Terland is caught offside.
Foul by Jelena Cankovic (Chelsea Women).
Maisie Symonds (Brighton and Hove Albion Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Goal! Chelsea Women 4, Brighton and Hove Albion Women 2. Elisabeth Terland (Brighton and Hove Albion Women) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Maisie Symonds.
Attempt missed. Veatriki Sarri (Brighton and Hove Albion Women) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left.
Goal! Chelsea Women 4, Brighton and Hove Albion Women 1. Agnes Beever-Jones (Chelsea Women) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Sjoeke Nüsken.
Attempt missed. Agnes Beever-Jones (Chelsea Women) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left.
Attempt blocked. Agnes Beever-Jones (Chelsea Women) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Johanna Rytting Kaneryd.
Sjoeke Nüsken (Chelsea Women) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Maisie Symonds (Brighton and Hove Albion Women).
Jessie Fleming (Chelsea Women) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Veatriki Sarri (Brighton and Hove Albion Women).
Substitution, Chelsea Women. Mia Fishel replaces Sam Kerr.
Substitution, Chelsea Women. Agnes Beever-Jones replaces Sophie Ingle.
Offside, Chelsea Women. Millie Bright tries a through ball, but Sam Kerr is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Millie Bright (Chelsea Women) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Johanna Rytting Kaneryd with a cross following a corner.
Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion Women. Madison Haley replaces Pauline Bremer.
Corner, Chelsea Women. Conceded by Maria Thorisdóttir.
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