Goals from Fran Kirby and Erin Cuthbert were enough to overcome a struggling Brighton & Hove Albion side as Chelsea registered their first league victory of the season on Sunday, writes Calum Preston Kelly.

Two goals in four first half minutes capped a dominant opening 45 for the home side who’d not scored in their first three league games.

Captain Millie Bright stressed the importance the first victory had for her side.

“It’s a big relief,” said Bright.

“Obviously we haven’t had the results we’ve wanted in the league so far, but we stayed focused, we kept our mentality strong, and we knew it was only a matter of time before we got the win, and today is the day.”

Emma Hayes’s side were in the ascendency from the off, with Kirby, Ji So-Yun and Cuthbert all forcing saves from Brighton goalkeeper Marie Hourihan before Kirby eventually broke the deadlock just past the half-hour mark. Magdalena Eriksson lofted a pass into Chelsea’s playmaker, who had the awareness to deftly flick the ball goalward with the outside of her boot past the onrushing Hourihan.

It was the perfect way to score her side’s first league goal of the season and came just four days after she netted her 50th goal for the club in a 6-0 Champions’ League victory over SFK 2000 Sarajevo on Wednesday.

Chelsea didn’t have to wait long for a second as Cuthbert finished off a swift counter-attacking move that was from the top drawer. After Ji found Ramona Bachmann down the right, her cross was turned in by the sliding Cuthbert, who wrong-footed Hourihan to find the bottom corner.

It was an outstanding first-half performance from the Blues who more than deserved their two-goal lead.

The visitors responded after the break. Ini Umotong was the figurehead of their attempt at a fightback, but the Nigerian striker was thwarted on three occasions by Chelsea goalkeeper Carly Telford, who preserved her side’s seventh consecutive clean sheet in all competitions, and with that their first three points of the WSL season.