WSL 1: Chelsea Ladies 2-1 Notts County Ladies

By Tom GarryBBC Sport at Wheatsheaf Park
Claire Rafferty (second left) celebrates her goal
Claire Raffery (second left) gave Chelsea Ladies the lead with a 15th minute header

Chelsea moved one step closer to clinching their first Women's Super League One title with a home win over Notts County.

England left-back Claire Rafferty's downward header put the hosts in front early on.

Gilly Flaherty's volley doubled Chelsea's lead after the break, before Jess Clarke pulled one back for Notts.

Chelsea now have a five-point lead over second-placed Arsenal, with two matches of the campaign remaining.

Their lead could be reduced when fourth-placed Manchester City host Sunderland on Sunday evening.

Defeat for Notts officially ended their slim hopes of winning the league, and their chances of securing a Champions League place look all-but over too.

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After an unmarked Rafferty nodded Chelsea ahead from Hannah Blundell's cross, the Blues took control and would have doubled their lead were it not for Carly Telford's fine save to deny Ji So-Yun.

After half-time, Telford denied Ji from close range once again before Flaherty's acrobatic strike made it 2-0.

Some nerves grew among the Chelsea players after Clarke picked up a loose ball and drove a low shot past Hedvig Lindahl, but they deservedly held on to win.

Chelsea boss Emma Hayes told BBC Sport:

"It was a tense affair. We deserved to go two-nil up. We did create chances.

"We were a little sloppy in conceding a goal, but the team was resilient.

"This was a performance about the spine of the team today, and that's what wins championships - good defence."

Chelsea: Lindahl, Blundell, Flaherty, Fahey, Davison, Aluko (Coombs), Ji (Bright), Rafferty (Borges), Kirby, Chapman (c), Spence.

Substitutes not used: Hourihan, Legg, Coombs, Brett, Banusic.

Notts County: Telford, Greenwood, Whelan, Clarke, Williams, White, Scott, Turner, Crichton (Plumptre), Whelan (Buet), Bassett (c).

Substitutes not used: Chamberlain, Walton, Hassall, O'Neill.

Referee: Ryan Atkin.

Attendance: 883.

As It Stood

1Chelsea Women1282222101226
2Man City Women11632159621
3Arsenal Women126331712521
4Sunderland Women126242317620
5Notts County Ladies124351917215
6Liverpool Women114161314-113
7B'ham City Women12246613-710
8Bristol City Women12129730-235
View full The FA Women's Super League table

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