Chelsea, Birmingham and Liverpool stay in WSL title hunt

By Tony LeightonWomen's football reporter
WSL title set to go down to the wire

The Women's Super League title chase will go to the wire after a pulsating penultimate round of matches left three teams in contention.

Rachel Williams and Eniola Aluko scored as leaders Chelsea beat Everton 5-2.

Birmingham moved up to second place, two points behind Chelsea, as captain Karen Carney hit both goals in a 2-1 win at Manchester City.

Liverpool dropped to third, a further point behind, after a late equaliser earned them a 3-3 draw at Arsenal.

Women's Super League
Chelsea Ladies13826
Birmingham Ladies13624
Liverpool Ladies13623

Chelsea 5-2 Everton

Chelsea showed their title intent from the kick-off, Williams heading home the opening goal from an Aluko cross after just 38 seconds.

A great chance to double the lead came in the seventh minute, but a Yuki Ogimi penalty was brilliantly saved by the diving Rachel Brown-Finnis.

The second goal came six minutes later, however, Aluko racing clear of the Toffees defence to slide the ball past the advancing Brown-Finnis.

The visitors brought themselves back into the game with a 17th-minute goal by striker Lucy Whipp, who went round keeper Marie Hourihan to shoot home.

A mix-up in the Chelsea defence then led to striker Nikita Parris equalising with a 32nd-minute chip over Hourihan from the edge of the penalty area.

But it took the home side just four minutes to regain the lead as Williams drilled in her second goal from an Aluko cross.

And a minute before the interval, Aluko struck her second goal from a low cross by midfielder Jackie Groenen.

Nine minutes into the second half, Ogimi sent a 15-yard effort just over the top as Chelsea looked for a killer fifth goal.

After much pressure that goal finally arrived eight minutes from time, left back Hannah Blundell jinking her way into the area to score from 12 yards.

Arsenal 3-3 Liverpool

While Chelsea were enjoying a dream start, it was a nightmare opening for Liverpool as they looked to stay in touch with the leaders.

The Reds went behind in the first minute, midfielder Jordan Nobbs heading in right-back Alex Scott's cross.

And Nobbs grabbed a second goal after 12 minutes, this one coming after neat play by striker Danielle Carter.

Carter herself then went close to putting her name on the scoresheet with a long-distance drive that was saved brilliantly by keeper Libby Stout.

Liverpool reduced the arrears through a superbly struck 25-yard drive by midfielder Fara Williams nine minutes before half-time.

But eight minutes after the interval the Gunners restored their two-goal advantage, central defender Casey Stoney heading in a Rachel Yankey corner.

The visitors refused to buckle and once again pulled themselves back into contention as substitute Nicole Rolser netted a 66th-minute lob.

And though the Gunners went close to adding a fourth goal on a couple of occasions, Davison had the final word with a solo run and low shot to dramatically level the score three minutes into stoppage time.

Manchester City 1-2 Birmingham City

Birmingham had almost as bad a start as Liverpool when their crossbar was hit by Everton striker Toni Duggan's 25-yard drive in the second minute.

But the visitors then took the lead through a clever 15th-minute lob by Carney.

Manchester City's response was immediate and only a 17th-minute clearance off the line by right-back Chelsea Weston denied midfielder Jill Scott an equaliser.

The home side began to get on top but Birmingham were looking dangerous on the break and in the 34th minute striker Mel Lawley forced keeper Karen Bardsley into a good diving save.

Five minutes after the break, another tremendous goal-line clearance by Weston, this time keeping out a Duggan effort, kept Birmingham in front.

But the visitors were pegged back in the 62nd minute as Scott sent an 18-yard volley fizzing into the roof of the net.

A couple of match-winning chances for Birmingham went begging but they got the goal that keeps them in the title race four minutes from time.

The outstanding Carney raced on to a through-ball to send a low shot beyond the reach of Bardsley and into the far corner of the net.

Top Stories