Chelsea Go Into Final Day As Leaders

Wednesday 31st May 

Arsenal 1-0 Reading (Att: 870)
Birmingham City 0-0 Yeovil Town (Att: 625)
Bristol City 0-4 Chelsea (Att: 823)
Sunderland 0-1 Manchester City (Att: 1,054)

Chelsea took over at the top of the WSL 1 Spring Series table with a comfortable 4-0 win over Bristol City at the Stoke Gifford Stadium.

The Blues broke the deadlock on the half-hour when Millie Bright rose to glance home a header from Maren Mjelde’s ball into the box.

The second goal came 20 minutes in to the second period as the visitors showed their prowess on the counter-attack, Ramona Bachmann cutting the ball back for substitute Fran Kirby to fire home.

And Kirby took advantage of a slip by Bristol City’s on-loan Chelsea player Jodie Brett to grab her second eight minutes later, intercepting a pass across the box and advancing to tuck a low shot beyond Caitlin Leach’s grasp.

Kirby’s dummy then allowed the hard-working Bachmann the goal her effort deserved as she fired home Chelsea’s fourth goal with 10 minutes remaining.

Pictured top – Fran Kirby celebrating with team-mates. (The FA via Getty Images)

Georgia Stanway scored in stoppage time as Manchester City earned a late 1-0 win at Sunderland in the penultimate game of the Spring Series.

Georgia Stanway strikes in stoppage-time. (The FA via Getty Images)

City were dominant in possession for long periods, with Sunderland breaking out sporadically. But the home side’s dogged resistance was ended with seconds remaining as Stanway smashed home from the edge of the area to claim the points.

Nikita Parris was the most potent threat for City in the first half, but she chipped over and wide of Anke Preuss when clean through before Jane Ross took the ball around the Sunderland stopper in the 32nd minute, only for her effort to be cleared by Victoria Williams.

The hosts struggled to get hold of the ball but still had two decent chances in the opening half, Stephanie Roche firing straight at Ellie Roebuck when clean through in the 24th minute, before Abbey Joice deflected a Roche shot goalward but City’s keeper was up to the task 11 minutes later.

The second half turned into an attack versus defence exercise as City pushed for victory.
Parris, the elusive winger, once again tested Preuss but her 74th minute shot was too close to the keeper who comfortably saved to avert the danger for the home side.

Steph Houghton thought the biggest chance of the game had gone when she failed to guide the ball home at the back post after a corner had floated over everyone in the 89th minute. But up popped Stanway to seal the win.

Arsenal’s title hopes are still on track after they saw off a stubborn Reading 1-0 in a closely-fought game at The Hive thanks to Danielle Carter’s goal.

Gunners’ goalscorer, Danielle Carter. (The FA via Getty Images)

Arsenal went close after 15 minutes but Beth Mead’s effort struck the post and they remained frustrated as Mead, Jordan Nobbs and Leah Williamson all went close shortly after.

However, five minutes before half time they went ahead as Mead combined with Heather O’Reilly down the left, with the latter reaching the byline and squaring the ball across the box to the unmarked Carter, who tapped home.

Both sides began the second half with the bit between their teeth but as Reading searched for the equaliser, Arsenal went close with Danielle Van de Donk firing wide.

As the game sparked into life Nobbs again went close for Arsenal and Reading goalkeeper Mary Earps then palmed away a fierce Fara Williams drive.

The Royals then went even closer when Lauren Bruton’s volley from the edge of the box went inches wide, but Carter’s goal was enough as Arsenal climbed up to third in the table.

Yeovil Town finally picked up their first point in what was their final match of the FA WSL 1 Spring Series, as they claimed a 0-0 draw at Birmingham City despite coming under heavy pressure.

Birmingham’s Rachel Williams between two Yeovil players. (The FA via Gatty Images)

Both of these sides have struggled for goals in the last couple of months and the Blues were left to rue letting several good chances slip away over the course of the evening.

Birmingham struck the bar twice in the first ten minutes through Coral Haines, as her lovely chip didn’t quite dip in time before a powerful strike from 25 yards also rattled the woodwork.

It was soon Yeovil’s turn to curse their luck when the Blues’ Meaghan Sargeant struck the ball against Nicola Cousins and it ricocheted against the post.

But the hosts pressed again, as Freda Ayisi curled an effort narrowly wide before onrushing Yeovil goalkeeper Megan Walsh did well to beat Emily Westwood to Ayisi’s through ball.

Walsh then got away with fumbling Sargeant’s hanging cross early in the second half before Andrine Hegerberg volleyed wide from the edge of the area.

And the breakthrough just wouldn’t come for Birmingham, with Rachel Williams heading Ellie Brazil’s cross over in the 90th minute to sum up a frustrating night.

The Spring Series comes to a conclusion on Saturday 3rd June, with all four fixtures kicking off at 3.30pm (with coverage on the BBC Red Button / Online):

Birmingham City v Chelsea 
Bristol City v Arsenal 
Liverpool v Manchester City
Sunderland v Reading