Well the game was played in atrocious conditions, summer league my bum lol. Both side tried to play football and should be applauded for it.
Chelsea made a lot of positional changes since the last time I saw them against Lincoln. The program confirmed Carly Telford taking over from Kylie Davies. I can only say it is a very bizzare situation to go from club captain to not making the matchday squad of 18 at all.
So Perry moved from left back to right back, Ingle from number 8 to left back. Dani Buet from right wing to playmaker, Dunia Susi from right back to right wing. The result was Chelsea playing more possession football. When you have Buet and Coombs in midfield and Sherwood protecting the back 4, your midfield 3 is very solid. Rafferty and Hincks came on the left side for Bleazard and Coombs at half -time. I am still wondering why Laura was subbed because she was playing well in the interval between the oppsoition line and getting good through ball for the forwards and keeping possession.
Rafferty made a big impact from the left back position and immediately you think Hope Powell must be pleased to have a dynamic left back who can do everything on the wing back in business. She has been missed for too long and should be a shoe-in for team GB as she has no real equivalent in the Wales, English, Scottish and Northern Ireland squads.
Lander scored a superb half volley for the equaliser and gave her usual non stop performance. Dunia Susi got a brace in the second half and clearly have more impact playing higher on the pitch because she wasn’t getting much of the ball on previous games I saw.
Some notable thing also happened when Sherwood as subbed is there was no real holding midfield player on the pitch and the midfied 3 were rotating in the holding position or were not at times actually, leaving a big hole between the back 4 and the midfield 3. katie Sherwood iso ne of the best signing for Chelsea in this window if not the best by a mile.
Overall a definite improvement in term of passing game for Chelsea, sometimes the off the ball movement died a bit but it was a lot better than lumping long balls for the poor center forward to chase.
For the Belles, it was my first game this season watching them. They have obviously changed a lot of the playing staff. Mary Earps was injured so they gave a debut to England U19 Jasmine Elliott who didn’t disappoint dealing well with what came her way. Little Oxtoby Cunningham and Chadwick in defense. Lipka, Holtham and Lagonia in midfield. Billson O’Gorman and Russell up front.
What I noted is Little is a beast a typical English defender very powerful and useful to battle. Chadwick has a good technical left foot. Lipka is tidy and has played recently well against Wales in the U19 games I have attended. Lagonia scored the opener and is a classical playmaker with a good touch. The front 3 worked hard to get width and provide option for the other players.
Overall, I feel the Belles are like a child who is growing. You can feel it can become an good adult if the maturing comes quickly enough in the next weeks in training because there is a potential to build on especially in the attacking game.
With the players available and their characteristics, they should be able to work on some one or two touch moves to unsettle defence and find space between the lines and behind opposition’s defence.
If you go on youtube and search FC Nantes 94/95, they had the same kind of players and could play football. I certainly believe the Belles could do that with hard work in training.
In the end the 3-1 win for Chelsea came from 2 quality goals but Doncaster could have gone home with a point.