Aussies Abroad: Kerr produces backheel assist in action-packed Chelsea debut
Westfield Matildas captain Sam Kerr provided a magical assist and was heavily involved in a strong debut for Chelsea, who beat Reading 3-1 overnight in the Women's Super League.
Kerr, the all-time top scorer in the Westfield W-League and the National Women's Soccer League, came close to marking her first appearance in England with a goal inside the opening minute only to fire over the bar at Kingsmeadow.
But the 26-year-old was involved in a match-turning incident which saw Reading goalkeeper Grace Moloney red carded on 19 minutes after Kerr was through on goal.
The ex-Sydney FC and Perth Glory forward dusted herself off and supplied a fantastic backheel assist for Bethany England's strike on the cusp of half time, which cancelled out an early goal from Reading's Fara Williams.
Kerr was involved in Chelsea's second too having seen her shot parried into the path of Guro Reiten, before she left the field to a fantastic ovation in the 77th minute.
Erin Cuthbert added a third for Chelsea , ensuring the Blues remain unbeaten this season and enter the second half of the campaign four points behind leaders Arsenal with a match in hand.
Chelsea boss Emma Hayes was enthusiastic in her praise of Kerr's debut in a post-match interview with The Guardian.
"She’s a doll,” Hayes said. “She’s humble, hardworking, honest, thoughtful.
"An unbelievable team player, she cares about what the team think of her and she will work and do her job for the team at any point.
"You have top players but to have a top player who is a top person? Happy days.”
Kerr told Optus Sport she was pleased with her maiden outing but admitted she still has work to do in order to get back up to speed, particularly after a post-NWSL season rest.
"It was good. I'm still finding my feet. I've only been here a week or so but I enjoyed it. I'm linking up nicely with the girls but I've still got a little way to go," she said.
" [I'm] finding [London] it pretty cold. The girls have been awesome, I've had a lot of help settling in.
Kerr and Chelsea return to Kingsmeadow on Monday 13 January, 1.00am AEST, to face eleventh-placed Bristol City.