Chelsea Ladies have lost their position at the top of the WSL for the first time this season after losing 1-2 to Manchester City Ladies.
A curled Toni Duggan strike early on gave the visitors the lead, before Blues striker Eniola Aluko levelled. But, City captain Steph Houghton’s deflected freekick was enough to give City the win.
Chelsea had a chance to go back to top spot after being displaced earlier in the day, but fell behind early after Duggan connected with Daphne Corboz’s through ball.
Chelsea, backed by a crowd of 1,857 – a record for the club at Staines Town – did however grow into the game, with Aluko’s quick swivel and finish equalising for the home side in front a record crowd of 1,857 at Staines.
But, England captain Houghton’s freekick took a very heavy deflection off Claire Rafferty to inflict a second consecutive league defeat on FA Cup finalists Chelsea.
Chelsea now slip to third after Arsenal and Sunderland both won, and Manchester City stay in fifth, but are level on points with fourth-placed Notts County with a game in hand.
In the other games, Sunderland thrashed Bristol Academy 1-4 to move to second, with Beth Mead’s double securing her fifth goal in two games following her hattrick against Chelsea. Jade Boho Sayo fired Bristol level by the break, but Steph Bannon netted for the Lady Black Cats after a scramble. Bristol remain bottom, with only one point all season.
Arsenal moved to top spot after coming back from behind to beat Notts County 2-1. The visitors took the lead early on through Jess Clarke’s calm finish, but the Gunners turned the game around in the second half following headers from Danielle Carter and Natalia Pablos Sanchon. It’s a blow for County, who face Chelsea in the FA Womens Cup Final next Saturday.
Birmingham claimed their first win of the 2015 season after beating Liverpool 1-0. Karen Carney’s penalty was enough to claim all three points, with the strike also being the Blues’ first home goal this season. It ends a 10-match unbeaten run, whilst moving Birmingham’s side to three points off sixth-placed Liverpool.
Chelsea Ladies boss Emma Hayes told BBC Radio 5 live sports extra:
“It was a cruel way to end the game. A draw would have probably been a fair result. It’s important that the squad bounce back to get ready for Saturday.
“While everybody is licking their chops about us losing today, I promise you this league has got a long way to go.”
Manchester City Women boss Nick Cushing:
“All season we’ve played well, but we haven’t turned those performances into results, but in the last four games we have.
“Now we seem to be scoring all over the pitch, and we’re even getting the lucky ones like Steph (Houghton)’s goal today.”
Chelsea Ladies: Lindahl, Blundell, Bright, Flaherty, Fahey, Davison (Borges), Aluko, Ji, Rafferty, Chapman (c), Spence (Coombs).
Subs not used: Hourihan, Brett, Meiwald, Banusic, Primus.
Manchester City Women: Bardsley, Bronze, Stokes, Beattie, Houghton (c), Scott, Duggan, Corboz (Johnston), Christiansen, Parris, Radtke.
Subs not used: Brooks, Lipman, Brougham, McManus.