The big guns in the Women’s Super League all won this weekend to keep the three-way title race alive, with Emma Hayes’ Chelsea side still leading the way by two points. They followed up their impressive 2-0 Champions League win over Atletico Madrid with an away victory over West Ham United. Unlike in that dramatic game in midweek, the Blues kept all 11 players on the pitch as they eased to a 2-0 win thanks to goals from Sam Kerr and Beth England.
England set up the Australian forward with a brilliant cross which allowed Kerr to nod in her 14th goal of the season, leaving her two behind the leader in the Golden Boot race, Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema. The roles were reversed after the break following a huge long throw down the right which caught West Ham napping. Kerr, in behind the defence, crossed to the back post where England was waiting to double the away side’s lead.
Hayes’ side showed no sign of the pressure that had been heaped onto them by title rivals Manchester City an hour earlier, as the Citizens briefly went top of the league thanks to a late winner over Everton. With less than 10 minutes left on the clock it looked as if City had missed their opportunity before a brilliant finish from Keira Walsh gave them a 1-0 win and kept their title hopes alive.
Everton had defended well, with City striker Ellen White unusually off colour, but it was Lauren Hemp who drove into the Toffees’ box before teeing up Walsh. From outside the area, she powerfully side-footed the ball into the far corner to spark massive celebrations from her teammates. They all clearly knew exactly how pivotal that goal could be at the end of the season.
So Chelsea lead the way on 41 points, with City in second place on 39, but Manchester United in third will still feel they have a shot at overhauling the pair of them. They proved their worth after back-to-back league defeats with a convincing 3-0 win over Aston Villa which leaves them six points off the top.
A lackadaisical piece of defending handed United the opener as Kirsty Hanson pounced on a loose ball to crash the ball in off the crossbar via a deflection. Lucy Staniforth then whipped a delightful free-kick into the area for Jess Sigsworth to head home, before captain Katie Zelem added a third in the second half. It could have been more for the hosts, Hanson almost scored directly from a corner while Sigsworth also had a shot saved from close range. A 3-0 win will satisfy Casey Stoney, who will just be happy her team are back to winning ways in the league.
Elsewhere, Arsenal hotshot Miedema was on the scoresheet yet again as her side beat Birmingham 4-0. Caitlin Foord scored twice in three minutes in the first half to take the game away from the hosts and keep the Gunners’ hopes of a top-three finish alive. Arsenal are now six points behind United, with an all-important game in hand on their rivals. Inessa Kaagman scored twice as Brighton beat Tottenham 2-0, while tonight Bristol City host Reading with the home side needing three points to take them off the bottom of the table and out of the relegation zone.