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Sting in the tale

Sting in the tale

It's London derby time as Chelsea take on a team whose nickname conjures up all sorts of puns about being stung. No, I’m not talking about the boys' Watford v Chelsea clash, where the Hornets hope to inflict anaphylactic shock at Vicarage Road after swapping a Portuguese manager for a Spanish one. I mean Chelsea

It’s London derby time as Chelsea take on a team whose nickname conjures up all sorts of puns about being stung.

No, I’m not talking about the boys’ Watford v Chelsea clash, where the Hornets hope to inflict anaphylactic shock at Vicarage Road after swapping a Portuguese manager for a Spanish one.

I mean Chelsea Ladies’ visit to the Bees at lunchtime on Sunday February 4; an intriguing double bill which also features a Brentford v Blues reserves curtain-raiser.

It’s a west London clash with ancient echoes, and it’s a match Emma Hayes’ players must win to keep up their Women’s FA Cup momentum and give the squad regular match practice.

First up, at noon on the pitch alongside the Bees’ Hive stadium in Edgware (between Queensbury and Canons Park stations), is a Bees v Chelsea Development Cup quarter-final featuring prospects for future stardom.

Then the action switches to the stadium proper for London Bees v Chelsea Ladies. Tickets are £4 (£2 concs, £1 U17s).

After turning their Kingsmeadow home into an apparent fortress for six months, Chelsea Ladies suffered their first domestic defeat in January… losing 1-0 to Manchester City in the equivalent of the League Cup.

“Ultimately it’s about taking your chances,” said Emma after that game. “We had the best three chances, and didn’t finish them.”

More encouraging is the relentless growth in interest in the women’s game. The City defeat was the second week on the trot that more than 2,500 turned up to watch – beating the League 2 averages of such men’s teams as Barnet and Stevenage.

Tickets for Chelsea Ladies’ home games are available via www.chelseafc.com/ladiestickets

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