Chelsea storm into Conti Cup Final with a Harder hat-trick

Chelsea's Pernille Harder celebrates after scoring.
Chelsea's Pernille Harder celebrates after scoring her side's first goal during the FA Women's Continental Tyres League Cup Semi-Final match at Kingsmeadow, London. (Photo by Adam Davy)

West Ham fell victim to an early Chelsea lead which saw the Blues sail through to a second consecutive Continental Cup final with six goals to nil. The victors will play Bristol City at Vicarage Road on the 14th of March to keep hands on the cup, which they won in 2020.

Hayes’ lineup saw a couple of changes as Sam Kerr sat out following her strong performance against Tottenham on Sunday. She was joined on the bench by Guro Reiten, making way for Bethany England to start up front.

An attacking masterclass

Pernille Harder was the star of the show, scoring her first hat-trick since joining the club last summer. The Danish international netted her first before the fourth minute.

The Blues played a brutal first half, denying the Hammers any breathing space in their relentless attack. The home side were 4-0 up in 27 minutes in a brilliant display of finishes. Sophie Ingle showed off yet again her finesse from long-distance. Her strike beautifully sliced through the West Ham defence.

The Hammers picked up the pace after the break, making several chances that put the Chelsea defence under pressure. The visitors certainly weren’t giving up the match.

Despite the setback in attacking play, the Blues still found their way up the pitch and into the back of the net twice more. Fran Kirby, who had yet to score in the competition, was able to get on the sheet. An earlier assist to England made for a standout performance by Kirby.

With six goals from four different players, Chelsea’s attacking prowess is undeniable. They head into a series of back-to-back matches over the next week, and Hayes’ squad are in an excellent position to continue their league run. Their next meeting is with Brighton and Hove Albion at the weekend, which will likely see some further rotation on the team sheet.