Goals in extra time from Sjoeke Nusken and Erin Cuthbert allowed Chelsea through to the next round of the FA cup, after a tense game against West Ham at Kingsmeadow on Sunday.
League leader Chelsea’s first game back after the winter break was an FA cup tie against West Ham, who currently sit second to bottom in the WSL. It was The Blues first fixture since star striker Sam Kerr picked up an injury in Morocco, while captain Millie Bright also remained side-lined. West Ham took the opportunity to debut January signings Katrina Gorry and Shelina Zadorsky, however Kristie Mewis was left out of the squad due to injury.
It didn’t take long for the visitors to go ahead. In extraordinary circumstances, keeper Mackenzie Arnold’s long ball found Viviane Asseyi in the 18th minute to fire home past Zecira Musovic.
Chelsea fought hard, creating many chances down the left from the exceptional Guro Reiten, but were not able to convert.
However, a triple substitution saw Chelsea come back fighting as they levelled the score line in the 70th minute, when Mia Fishel’s right footed shot found the top right of the net, curling the ball past Arnold.
Despite domination from Chelsea, the game stayed at 1-1 and went to extra time.
Chelsea sprang into action and collected two goals within five minutes. Johanna Rytting Kaneryd’s cross picked out Erin Cuthbert in the box, who headed The Blues to victory in the 11th added minute.
Substitute Aggie Beever-Jones made an immediate impact on the game, with an expertly delivered chip towards goal, allowing Nusken to tap in to make it 3-1 to Chelsea.
Goal scorer Cuthbert told The River: “It was a slow start and a poor goal to concede but we kept plugging away and we are eventually going to break teams down and we need to keep moving and keep stretching them.
“We were maybe coming a bit too short in the first half, but as soon as we started stretching them out spaces began to open up and that’s where we got our joy.”
Chelsea are now unbeaten in 13 home games, and next face Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, January 21.