The FA Women's Super League
Doncaster Rovers BellesDoncaster Rovers Belles1Chelsea WomenChelsea Women4
By Owen PhillipsBBC Sport at the Keepmoat Stadium
Karen Carney scores from the penalty spot
Karen Carney scored her second goal in as many games for the champions

England trio Karen Carney, Katie Chapman and Eni Aluko all struck as Chelsea Ladies started their Women's Super League title defence with a 4-1 win over Doncaster Rovers Belles.

The Blues, who won the FA Cup tie against Rovers by the same score last Sunday, were in rampant attacking form.

Carney scored from the penalty spot and, despite Claire Rafferty's own goal, headers by Beth England and Chapman earned a 3-1 lead.

Aluko's fine strike sealed victory.

Carney's opener, after Millie Bright was fouled by Rhiannon Roberts, came at the end of a typical Chelsea break in a first half full of good movement, intricate passing and goal-scoring threat.

Rafferty's own goal from Courtney Sweetman-Kirk's teasing cross did little to interrupt the flow.

But despite two goals from corners making it 3-1, Doncaster responded impressively in a feisty second period.

Sam Tierney almost pulled a goal back after a fine move, but Aluko's calm finish settled the match.

Chelsea Ladies manager Emma Hayes told BBC Sport:

"Karen Carney was at the heart and the core of everything, especially in the first half, and she looks like she's been playing at Chelsea for years.

"I thought she was instrumental in everything we did, whether she was on the left side, down the middle, or on the right.

"We're a group that's got a lot of confidence going forward. Being reigning champions helps with that belief in the way that we play. I was concerned defensively for the team but that's something for us to work on."

Doncaster Rovers Belles forward Courtney Sweetman-Kirk:

"I think as a side we're obviously disappointed. You never want to lose any matches and I know they're the champions but we still fancied ourselves, so it's disappointing in that respect.

"But we won't let it knock us. We've got a month now until the next game so we're go back to the drawing board and see where we're at. They're champions for a reason and as Glen Harris likes to say, Chelsea are two years in the making and we're two months.

"The Belles have always been renowned for and the gaffer made sure that the players he brought in were very aware of that and he's bringing in not just good players but good people."

Line-ups

Doncaster Rovers Belles

  • 1Hobbs
  • 17Simpkins
  • 5Roberts
  • 4Little
  • 18Barker
  • 2EastonSubstituted forMosbyat 86'minutes
  • 11Sigsworth
  • 3TierneySubstituted forNewboroughat 72'minutes
  • 6Lipka
  • 9Sweetman-Kirk
  • 10Dowie

Substitutes

  • 12Gummer
  • 13Moorhouse
  • 14Mosby
  • 15Newborough
  • 16Whittle
  • 23Hallas-Potts
  • 24Breen

Chelsea Women

  • 1Lindahl
  • 3Blundell
  • 6FaheyBooked at 66mins
  • 5FlahertySubstituted forKirbyat 64'minutes
  • 11Rafferty
  • 17Chapman
  • 4Bright
  • 8CarneySubstituted forDavisonat 64'minutes
  • 10Ji
  • 15EnglandSubstituted forBaileyat 74'minutes
  • 9Aluko

Substitutes

  • 7Davison
  • 14Kirby
  • 18Legg
  • 24Spence
  • 25Bailey
  • 26Rafferty
  • 40Kitching
Referee:
Tom Nield
Attendance:
1,165

Match Stats

Home TeamDoncaster Rovers BellesAway TeamChelsea Women
Possession
Home34%
Away66%
Shots
Home2
Away19
Shots on Target
Home0
Away9
Corners
Home2
Away7
Fouls
Home6
Away12

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Doncaster Rovers Belles 1, Chelsea Ladies 4.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Doncaster Rovers Belles 1, Chelsea Ladies 4.

  3. Post update

    Attempt saved. Ji So-Yun (Chelsea Ladies) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Claire Rafferty.

  4. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  5. Post update

    Delay in match Francesca Kirby (Chelsea Ladies) because of an injury.

  6. Substitution

    Substitution, Doncaster Rovers Belles. Yasmin Mosby replaces Becky Easton.

  7. Goal!

    Goal! Doncaster Rovers Belles 1, Chelsea Ladies 4. Eniola Aluko (Chelsea Ladies) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Gemma Davison.

  8. Post update

    Francesca Kirby (Chelsea Ladies) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Becky Easton (Doncaster Rovers Belles).

  10. Post update

    Foul by Jade Bailey (Chelsea Ladies).

  11. Post update

    Natasha Dowie (Doncaster Rovers Belles) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Substitution

    Substitution, Chelsea Ladies. Jade Bailey replaces Bethany England.

  13. Substitution

    Substitution, Doncaster Rovers Belles. Rachel Newborough replaces Samantha Tierney.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Gemma Davison (Chelsea Ladies).

  15. Post update

    Emily Simpkins (Doncaster Rovers Belles) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Gemma Davison (Chelsea Ladies).

  17. Post update

    Becky Easton (Doncaster Rovers Belles) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  18. Post update

    Attempt saved. Ji So-Yun (Chelsea Ladies) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Gemma Davison.

  19. Post update

    Corner, Chelsea Ladies. Conceded by Leandra Little.

  20. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Gemma Davison (Chelsea Ladies) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Hannah Blundell.

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