Bethany England’s stunning fourth-minute strike sealed victory for Chelsea over London rivals Tottenham in the Women’s Super League in front of just under 25,000 fans at Stamford Bridge.
England’s early long-distance shot was enough for the Blues to secure a 1-0 win in a match they dominated for long periods in their first game of the season.
Spurs goalkeeper Becky Spencer kept her side in the game in the first half, making two good saves to deny Hannah Blundell and Guro Reiten.
Tottenham started to come back into the contest and came close to scoring the equaliser with their best chance of the match just four minutes after the restart when debutant Rachel Furness hit a low shot but Ann-Katrin Berger managed to dive low and make the save.
Chelsea hit the woodwork twice in the 58th minute, as Drew Spence hit a powerful strike onto the crossbar, before Reiten’s follow-up header hit the post.
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The attendance figures did not break the 31,213 at the Etihad Stadium for the Manchester derby on Saturday, but dwarfed the previous season’s record of 5,265 at Brighton last season.
Elsewhere, Arsenal held on for a 2-1 victory over West Ham to begin their title defence with a win.
Beth Mead and Jill Roord’s goals were enough despite Martha Thomas’ strike for the visitors.
Chelsea 1-0 Tottenham
Birmingham 0-1 Everton
Liverpool 0-1 Reading
Arsenal 2-1 West Ham