WSL: Chelsea 1 Tottenham 0
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Chelsea made the perfect start to their Barclays FA Women’s Super League campaign as they beat debutants Tottenham 1-0 in front of a bumper crowd at Stamford Bridge.
The almost 25,000 people in attendance saw Beth England fire the Blues into a fourth-minute lead with an unstoppable curling strike from 30-yards after she pinched the ball off Ria Percival before unleashing into the top-corner.
That goal came moments after Magdalena Eriksson poked narrowly wide from close-range.
The hosts dominated almost the entire first half but were often wasteful and Spurs nearly made them pay just past the half hour mark.
Coral-Jade Haines and Kit Graham combined well down the left before the latter drilled across goal, but her powerful strike was smartly saved by Ann-Katrin Berger before Chelsea cleared the danger.
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Son-Yun Ji then picked out Adelina Engman, who couldn't hit the target before Haines was inches away from finding the top-corner on the stroke of half-time with a speculative effort.
Tottenham went even closer to equalising in the 50th minute, but Berger made another brilliant stop, this time from Rachel Furness after she latched onto a perfectly-timed pass from Graham.
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Becky Spencer tipped Drew Spence's thunderous effort from distance onto the crossbar before Guro Reiten struck the post from the rebound as Chelsea went in search of a second.
Spencer, who was in superb form all afternoon, then denied Reiten's free-kick as Chelsea were still unable to brush off a resilient Tottenham outfit.
But they held on despite some late Spurs pressure to claim the points against their London rivals.
Chelsea manager Emma Hayes said: "Should we have won the game by a bigger scoreline? Yes.
"When you coach professional players and they fly all over the place and they come back three days - they have to adjust as much as they do in the men's game.
"If this is a game that goes out of sight and we win 4-0, it then gives us a bigger goal difference, which is what you want, but I wanted three points because I know what is was like to draw multiple games.
"We are not delusional, Tottenham are full-time, they have got a top manager, players that have played in this league. No team is a walkover, we saw that with Manchester United yesterday.
"I don't know any results, but it will be like this week in week out. We have won a lot today, not just three points. People's consciousness, women's football continuing to grow and I am so proud of this football club."
ottenham manager Karen Hills said: "We came here to win a football match, first and foremost.
"Obviously the occasion was a momentous one in women's football. This weekend has been absolutely incredible in terms of attendance.
"I thought both sets of fans were outstanding. We set our stool out and come away with a lot of positives, obviously we are dissappointed to love a football match, but really pleased and proud of every single one of those girls in there.
"I thought the character, the commitment of the team today to play in front of that sort of crowd and in a crazy stadium like Stamford Bridge in your opening game to play against Chelsea, who are a fantastic team, it is credit to all of them and they should be really proud of themselves.
"I thought Becky [Spencer] was outstanding today, I thought she showed experience and really supported that back line and pulled off some incredible saves."
*To follow the action, buy tickets and sign-up for The FA Player's live Barclays FA Women's Super League coverage visit womenscompetitions.thefa.com.Tottenham (4-3-3): Becky Spencer, Ashleigh Neville, Hannah Godfrey, Jenna Schillaci, Siri Worm (Rosella Ayane 84), Rachel Furness, Ria Pecival, Coral-Jade Haines (Chloe Peplow 46), Kit Graham, Lucy Quinn (Angela Addison 73), Gemma Davison.
Unused subs: Chloe Morgan, Lucia Leon, Sophie Mclean, Anna Filbey.