September 8, 2019 / 4:45 PM / 9 days ago

Stunning goals give Chelsea, Arsenal winning starts in WSL

Soccer Football - Women’s Super League - Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur - Stamford Bridge, London, Britain - September 8, 2019 Tottenham Hotspur's Gemma Davison in action with Chelsea's Ji So-Yun Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

(Reuters) - An unstoppable Beth Mead goal helped champions Arsenal to a narrow 2-1 win over West Ham in their FA Women’s Super League opener on Sunday, while Bethany England’s early rocket proved enough for Chelsea as they beat newcomers Tottenham Hotspur 1-0.

Although last year’s top scorer Vivianne Miedema missed the game with a tight hamstring, Mead’s thunderous shot put Arsenal ahead in the 14th minute, and she then teed up debutant Jill Roord to make it 2-0 just before halftime.

A much-improved West Ham pulled a goal back through Martha Thomas just before the hour mark, and though they also hit the crossbar from an indirect free kick in the dying minutes, Arsenal managed to hang on for the three points.

The opening weekend of the WSL provided some superb long-range goals and huge gates as the women’s game continues to ride a wave of success after England’s fourth-place finish at July’s World Cup in France.

A crowd of over 24,000 at Stamford Bridge saw England get Chelsea’s season off to a perfect start in the fourth minute when she rifled home a left-footed shot from outside the area.

An outstanding free kick by Fara Williams gave Reading a 1-0 victory at Liverpool, while Everton won 1-0 at Birmingham City thanks to an own goal by Blues captain Kerys Harrop.

On Saturday, Caroline Weir’s brilliant goal saw Manchester City beat neighbours Manchester United in front of a record crowd of 31,213 for the curtain raiser at the Etihad Stadium, while Bristol City and Brighton & Hove Albion drew 0-0.

Reporting by Philip O'Connor; Editing by Ian Chadband

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