Chelsea moves one step closer to title in wild week of WSL action

Sportsbeat
·4 min read
Manchester United's Jessica Sigsworth in action with Tottenham Hotspur's Josie Green (Picture: Reuters/Lee Smith)
Manchester United's Jessica Sigsworth in action with Tottenham Hotspur's Josie Green (Picture: Reuters/Lee Smith)

The Barclays FA Women’s Super League will go down to the wire after a wild week across the entire table of top-flight football.

And while Chelsea keeper Ann-Katrin Berger might have done enough to swat away Manchester City’s title hopes, there remain more questions than answers as the season heads into the home stretch.

Walsall’s Banks’s Stadium hosted the weekend’s most exciting match, with relegation strugglers Aston Villa and Bristol City locking horns on Saturday.

Villa opened the scoring in the third minute through a Meaghan Sargeant own goal before doubling only ten minutes later when Natalie Haigh headed past Sophie Baggaley for the game’s second.

But the hosts’ lead would not last. Bristol pulled one back through Faye Bryson in the 74th minute before Ella Mastrantonio’s last-gasp free-kick levelled the scoring at 2-2 and earned Matt Beard’s side a vital point.

It wasn’t enough for the displeased skipper, who said: "The first half was probably the most disappointed I’ve been since I’ve been here because we didn’t do the bare basics of our game, the bare fundamentals, which is frustrating.

“We did it in the second half. We caused them problems.

"It just looked like, to me, in the first half they wanted it more and you can’t allow that to happen when you’re in a relegation battle.

“But the second half performance was good and it was a great way to end the game for us.”

The two are now level at the foot of the table with 12 points apiece, but Bristol’s goal difference of -51 puts them in graver danger. Villa, with -32, also have a game in hand, so upcoming clashes against fellow basement sides Birmingham City and West Ham will make or break their season.

On Wednesday evening, Manchester City and Chelsea played out a 2-2 draw in Manchester, and Ann-Katrin Berger’s late save could soon be pointed to as the moment that handed Chelsea the title.

Emma Hayes’ side are now two points ahead of City with two league games remaining, and back-to-back trophies for the Blues loom on the horizon.

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

Arsenal inched closer to securing Champions League football when they won 2-0 at home to Brighton on Sunday. Jordan Nobbs’ two-goal heroics kept her squad level on 41 points with Manchester United in the quest for the final European spot, with the Gunners holding the advantage on goal difference.

Brighton had held Manchester City to a draw early in the season and are the only team to have beaten Chelsea in the league, so there were no guarantees for departing gaffer Joe Montemurro’s side.

“I commend Brighton,” he said. “I went up to Hope [Powell] after the game and I congratulated her on the work she’s done over the past 2-3 years.

“She’s really building a legacy and a solid squad. They are a real positive in the WSL in regards to what they’re doing and the way they’re going about things.”

Despite an emphatic 4-1 victory at home to Spurs, European football seems to be out of reach for Casey Stoney’s Manchester United after their rivals’ good result.

Ella Toone bagged a brace for the Reds at Leigh Sports Village with Christen Press and Jess Sigsworth also getting on the scoresheet for the hosts.

But it was Tottenham who netted the pick of the bunch, when Alanna Kennedy curled an exquisite free-kick into the top-right corner from distance for a consolation in the third minute of extra time.

Elsewhere, Birmingham City picked up an important point against Reading thanks to an early goal from on-loan Arsenal youngster Ruby Mace. It was cancelled out by Rachel Rowe in the second half, but the Blues now have a two-point cushion from the drop and look likely to retain their WSL status.

Another squad in danger, West Ham United, also picked up a crucial point at the weekend. After playing out a goalless draw with Everton, they are now level with Birmingham on 14 points but edge them out on goal difference.

Away from the league, Chelsea fell 2-1 away to Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final tie. They will look to overturn the deficit when they face the German giants at Kingsmeadow next Sunday.