Chelsea bounce back from cup loss to beat Brighton


Guro Reiten celebrates scoring a penalty for Chelsea against Brighton in the Women's Super League
Chelsea have taken 34 points from a possible 36 in the Women’s Super League

Chelsea put their League Cup final defeat behind them to beat Brighton and move one point behind Women’s Super League leaders Manchester United.

Blues boss Emma Hayes got the response she demanded as Chelsea moved up to second in the table before Sunday’s home game against United.

Managerless Brighton fell behind to Guro Reiten’s penalty before Jess Carter doubled the hosts’ lead.

Johanna Rytting Kaneryd added a third before Danielle Carter’s consolation.

The Blues dominated despite making seven changes to the side who were beaten by Arsenal at Selhurst Park on Sunday.

Sweden winger Kaneryd had an early attempt cleared off the line when the game was goalless, Jelena Cankovic clipped the bar and Sam Kerr had an attempt ruled out for offside.

Brighton, who announced manager Jens Scheuer’s departure on Monday by mutual consent after only two months in charge, hit the bar after half-time through Elisabeth Terland.

They remain 11th in the table on eight points, two more than bottom club Leicester City.

Chelsea show character to bounce back

Chelsea were hurting after missing out on a first major trophy of the season, with Hayes admitting her stars did not match Arsenal’s desire at the weekend.

But they remain very much in the hunt for a fourth successive WSL title with Sunday’s game against Manchester United – which is live on BBC Two at 12:30 GMT – a fixture of huge significance at the top.

Chelsea, who have a game in hand on the leaders, have won 11 times in an unbeaten 12-match league run.

This result – and response – was just what Hayes wanted before a crucial three weeks which also includes a Champions League quarter-final against holders Lyon and an FA Cup quarter-final at Reading.

The only surprise was that Kerr – one of four survivors from the starting XI against Arsenal – failed to find the net after scoring 11 times in her previous six games.

Kerr looked set to make it 3-0 but was denied by an excellent save by Australia team-mate Lydia Williams from eight yards, before setting up Kaneryd to wrap up a comfortable win.

Chelsea's players celebrate scoring against Brighton in the Women's Super League
Chelsea have scored 73 goals in 24 games in all competitions this season

Positives in defeat for Brighton

There were positives in defeat for Amy Merricks, who is in her second spell as Brighton’s interim boss this season.

At 2-0 down, the Seagulls enjoyed their best spell of the match and Terland struck the bar with an ambitious attempt from an angle.

Even after falling 3-0 behind, the visitors showed fight as substitute Carter scored four minutes after coming on to deny Chelsea a clean sheet.

It remains to be seen how long Merricks stays in charge on this occasion, after taking four points from three WSL games following Hope Powell’s departure before Scheuer was appointed.

But Brighton need to tighten up defensively as they battle to avoid relegation. They have conceded 54 goals in 16 games since registering their last shutout in the WSL in March 2022.


Chelsea Women

Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 1Musovic
  • 18Mjelde
  • 26Buchanan
  • 4BrightSubstituted forIngleat 82′minutes
  • 7Carter
  • 8LeupolzSubstituted forClaypoleat 81′minutes
  • 19Rytting Kaneryd
  • 17Fleming
  • 28Cankovic
  • 11ReitenSubstituted forAbdullinaat 76′minutes
  • 20KerrSubstituted forCharlesat 76′minutes


  • 5Ingle
  • 10James
  • 15Périsset
  • 16Eriksson
  • 21Charles
  • 27Abdullina
  • 30Berger
  • 31Claypole

Brighton Women

Formation 5-4-1

  • 25Williams
  • 16Kullberg
  • 8Connolly
  • 20Williams
  • 21Morse
  • 3Pattinson
  • 22Robinson
  • 10Olme
  • 9LeeSubstituted forCarterat 84′minutes
  • 4VisalliSubstituted forSarriat 64′minutesBooked at 68mins
  • 11TerlandSubstituted forBanceat 84′minutes


  • 1Walsh
  • 5Bergsvand
  • 7Sarri
  • 12Bance
  • 14Park
  • 18Carter
  • 23Jarvis
  • 40Startup

Abigail Byrne


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