AFTER the season's bizarre opening fixture at Liverpool, which Chelsea Women lost 2-1 in a blizzard of penalties, yet another penalty clinched three points for the Blues, with Maren Mjelde clinching a 2-0 win over arch-rivals Man City.

Chelsea dominated last weekend's game, but - as seems to be the way while the new recruits bed down - struggled to find the killer blow. Three minutes before half-time, Guro Reiten galloped down the left on a counter-attack and squared to Fran Kirby, who was in exactly the right place to welly home. But it wasn't until the 78th minute when Chelsea were awarded a penalty for handball, and Mjelde placed it high above the outstretched arm of Ellie Roebuck, that the result was assured.

It leaves City playing catch-up, and Arsenal looking increasingly imperious. The crucial Arsenal v Chelsea games are in mid-January and mid-May, so there's a long time for Emma Hayes to tweak her starting line-ups.

What was impressive was the size of the crowd - more than 4,400 in Kingsmeadow. Lauren James was the pick of the crop for the Blues, bossing midfield and using her strength to good effect, while City clearly miss Kiera Walsh in their ranks.

Hayes' analysis? "We overplayed and kept playing ourselves into trouble," she said, summing up the first half. "We were playing out from the back in every situation and gave City the best chances."

She added that Chelsea were "a bit tentative". This fractured season now has another international break, with the next women's game at Everton on October 16. The fans left happy, and at this early stage of the season, Hayes will settle for that.

Chelsea's men travel to Palace this weekend after their own international interruption, but it's on a rail strike day, so disruption is anticipated.