Ladies report: Chelsea 7 Doncaster 0

Chelsea Ladies opened the 2017 season with a thumping win at Wheatsheaf Park to book a spot in the Women's FA Cup quarter-finals.

The Blues were dominant from the first whistle, with new signings Ramona Bachmann and Crystal Dunn impressing on their competitive debuts for the club and both players finding the back of the net before half-time. In between our first and fifth strikes of an excellent first half was a brace for Ji So-Yun and an own goal.

The scoreline could have reached double figures in the second half but for the efforts of Donny keeper Nicky Davies, but a Katie Chapman header and a neat finish by substitute Drew Spence made it 7-0.

Bachmann and Dunn wasted little time imposing themselves on the contest and both were both involved in a sweeping move just five minutes after kick-off which almost resulted in the game's opening goal. The former whizzed past her marker down the left and centred for the latter, who bundled the ball past the keeper but there wasn't enough on it to beat the defender on the line.

However, the Belles weren't so fortunate the next time the ball dropped to Dunn inside the box. Karen Carney's corner was powerfully headed at goal by Maren Mjelde and though Davies superbly kept that effort out, there was no denying our American international a debut goal as she drove a low shot past the keeper.

The link-up between the two signings was almost telepathic at times and they so nearly combined to make it 2-0 less than five minutes later as this time Dunn turned provider and Bachmann brilliantly sold her marker a dummy in the box, but she just couldn't get enough on her shot to beat Davies.

Somehow the scoreline remained at 1-0 until just past the half-hour mark, thanks in no small part to the keeper, but then the floodgates opened once Ji fortuitously scored our second. Davies brilliantly denied Dunn once again, but she blundered when the ball was played back in towards the South Korean international, palming the ball into her midriff to allow her the simplest of finishes into an empty net.

The keeper more than made up for it with two excellent saves in quick succession, clawin away Dunn's rocket from distance and then keeping out Mjelde's looping header from the resulting corner, but there was nothing she could do to prevent Ji making it 3-0 when the Blues No10 was sent in on goal by Dunn.

By half-time that lead had become five, with Bachmann heavily involved in both goals in the final five minutes of the half. First, she broke away down the left and crossed for Dunn, who was beaten to the tap-in by the unfortunate Leandra Little, who turned the ball past her own keeper. Then, Bachmann brilliantly pulled down a cross by Carney before prodding her shot past Davies.

Even the most ardent Donny supporter would have been hard pressed to deny the Blues were good value for that lead and it could, and should, have been added to in the early stages of the second half. Carney almost scored straight from a corner, but the ball was smuggled off the line as far as Dunn, whose shot was saved by Davies, and then hammered against the post by Chapman from the edge of the box. Before that chaos ensued, Rafferty made way for Beth England.

With such a comfortable lead, the Blues could have been forgiven for taking their foot off the gas in the second half, but they continued to show the same intensity at both ends of the field, snuffing out any opportunities for the visitors and continuing to cut through their defence at will. Twice Dunn was only inches away from scoring her second, but it was a quite brilliant performance by the American, who departed to a standing ovation when she was replaced by Erin Cuthbert – but not before the Blues had made it six.

After Ji was denied a hat-trick by a goal-line clearance, the resulting corner saw Carney clip the ball to the back post for Chapman to power home a header. And then, within moments of Cuthbert and Drew Spence taking to the field, the latter had scored with a tidy low finish after being teed up by the young Scot.

An eighth was almost forthcoming when Carney sent Bachmann clear, but the Swiss international became the latest player to be denied by a fabulous stop by Davies, who saved with her legs on this occasion.

In the end, the Blues had to settle for seven, but it was quite a statement of intent from our season-opener and hopefully a sign of things to come.

Chelsea (3-4-2-1): Lindahl; Mjelde, Bailey, Bright; Blundell, Chapman (c), Carney, Rafferty (England 51); Ji (Spence 71), Bachmann; Dunn (Cuthbert 71)
Unused subs: Kitching, Cooper
Scorers: Dunn 12, Ji 33, 37, Little (og) 41, Bachmann 45, Chapman 70, Spence 72

Doncaster: Davies, Pacheco, Tierney, Little (c), Lipka, Sweetman-Kirk, Murray, Hanson, Newborough (Raynor 71), Simpkins, Barker
Unused subs: Mosby, Matthews

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