#FAWSL : Chelsea Women begin title defence with goalless game

Chelsea’s Maren Mjelde and Manchester City’s Jill Scott. (Photo: Jed Leicester for The FA)

The big opening day clash between Chelsea and Manchester City ended goalless, Arsenal and Reading had comfortable victories, Birmingham City and Bristol City enjoying single-goal successes.

FA WSL results for Sunday 9 September

Arsenal 5-0 Liverpool 
Birmingham City 1-0 Everton (Att: 602)
Brighton & Hove Albion 0-1 Bristol City 
Chelsea 0-0 Manchester City (Att: 2,501) 
Reading 4-0 Yeovil Town

Bardsley keeps Blues at bay

Reigning champions Chelsea had to settle for a goalless draw at home to last season’s runners-up Manchester City.

City keeper Karen Bardsley needed two efforts at holding onto a Beth England strike, Nikita Parris then curling an effort narrowly round the post at the other end.

Maren Mjelde’s bouncing effort was turned wide by Bardsley who was again called into action on half-time to deny Ramona Bachmann’s volley.

Steph Houghton put a free header wide from a Georgia Stanway set piece, Millie Bright and Jess Carter both needed to get in good blocks to deny Parris.

Erin Cuthbert came off the bench with 10 minutes left and met a cross from fellow sub Fran Kirby but Bardsley was behind it.

The England keeper denied Chelsea again when Kirby set up a chance for Drew Spence.

Wellings’ first-minute winner

Charlie Wellings fires Birmingham City ahead against Everton. (Photo: Jon Super for The FA)

Any late arrivals would have missed the game’s only goal, as Birmingham City’s Charlie Wellings scored against Everton before the first minute was up.

Birmingham took only 42 seconds to go in front, Ellen White finding Wellings who slotted the ball past Kirstie Levell.

Hayley Ladd should have got the second approaching the break and soon after the restart Marisa Ewers had an effort cleared off the Everton line.

Paige Williams came the closest for City in the second half when her long-range effort ricocheted off the crossbar.

Graham grabs decider

Bristol City’s match-winner Lucy Graham. (Photo: bcfc.co.uk)

A long distance strike from former Hibernian player Lucy Graham saw Bristol City begin with an impressive three points away to Hope Powell’s Brighton & Hove Albion.

Ella Rutherford got in behind for Bristol but missed the target and Kayleigh Green had the first clear-cut chance for the hosts from Danielle Buet’s through ball but was thwarted by Sophie Baggaley.

Graham intercepted a backpass and almost caught Laura Hartley off her line but the chip dropped over the crossbar.

Beth Roe went through for Albion but Baggaley turned her strike round the upright.

Graham broke the deadlock with a solo effort from distance which dropped under the bar.

Brighton through everything at Bristol without being able to find an equaliser.

Miedema features for five-goal Gunners

Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema threatens the Liverpool goal. (Photo: Kate Green for The FA)

Vivianne Miedema not only claimed a hat-trick but also a couple of assists as Arsenal brushed aside Liverpool 5-0.

The Gunners were off to a flying start against Liverpool, with two goals in the first 14 minutes.

Vivianne Miedema hooked the ball home at the second attempt when the visitors failed to deal with a ball into the six-yard box and the Dutch forward then turned provider for Lisa Evans to finish from close range.

Although Liverpool began finding their feet in the game as Christie Murray saw efforts turned over the crossbar by Lucy Quinn and goalkeeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin, the hosts then effectively ended the match as a contest by half time.

Miedema returned a pass to Kim Little for the Scottish star to slot home the third goal and then Evans picked out the unmarked Netherlands international to turn home number four.

The second half remained goalless until a late free kick was rolled aside for Miedema to blast high into the net for her hat-trick, also meaning Arsenal end match day one top the table.

Early goals set up Reading victory

Reading v Yeovil Town. (Photo: Kieran McManus for The FA)

The Royals scored twice in either half to post a 4-0 home victory over Yeovil Town.

Reading scored a fifth-minute opener as Brooke Chaplen’s through ball found Gemma Davison who dinked the ball over the Glovers’ goalkeeper and into the back of the net.

Fara Williams doubled the lead with still just 11 minutes played, punishing Yeovil for giving away possession.

Davison won a penalty on 58 minutes that Lauren Bruton tucked away and 2 minutes later after Remi Allen headed home Natasha Harding’s cross for 4-0.