Millie Bright and Erin Cuthbert goals saw Chelsea win Women’s Community Shield
First time fixture held at Wembley and back-to-back with men’s Community Shield
Welcome return for women’s football in England after a five-month shutdown
Millie Bright was the unlikely Chelsea heroine on a landmark day for English women’s football at Wembley Stadium.
The big defender scored a stunning long-range strike against ten-player Manchester City before Erin Cuthbert struck in stoppage time to secure the Women’s Community Shield for Emma Hayes’ Blues.
“Definitely,” Bright told the BBC afterwards, when asked if the goal had been one of her best. “Scoring at Wembley is unbelievable and we’re going for all the trophies available this year.
"We were always confident coming into the game; both teams had new players, and it’s a new challenge, but we’ve focused a lot on ourselves and that’s all you can do. The game was pretty tense but I was never in doubt we would score. We just had to stay patient.”
Today’s match was the first outing for this competition – played between England’s champions and Women’s FA Cup winners – since 2008. And while the last Women's Community Shield took place at Moss Rose Stadium in Macclesfield, this one was staged in the historic and illustrious surroundings of the country’s national stadium.
In another first, the Community Shield was held as a double-header alongside the men’s equivalent, the second part of which also ended in a London triumph, with Arsenal edging Liverpool on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
While there were no fans at Wembley to enjoy the action due to ongoing national Covid-19 restrictions, the Chelsea-City match did go out live on national TV and was shown online around the world. It also marked a welcome return for elite women’s football in England, which has been in cold storage since late February.
These sides had shared six goals in a thrilling encounter in the final round of FA Women’s Super League fixtures prior to the shutdown and, while today’s match didn’t produce the same amount of goals, there was plenty of entertainment and fine football.
Chelsea, in truth, could have been out of sight even before Bright’s stunner and a second red card for Jill Scott turned the match, had Sam Kerr brought her shooting boots to Wembley.
As it was, the normally deadly Australia striker missed a string of clear-cut chances, leaving the game goalless until Chelsea’s big defender stepped forward on 66 minutes.
Cuthbert, a second-half substitute, then sealed victory with another fine strike in stoppage time as Hayes’ impressive team claimed the first silverware of the season.
The Scotland international said afterwards: “We see other teams recruiting but we want to retain our [league] title, and we’ve recruited as well. Everything has gone up another level and we feel we have a great chance of competing for all the trophies again.”