Chelsea went top of WSL 1 – at least for Saturday night – with a 2-0 win at Birmingham City, while Sunderland climbed to fifth with a 2-1 victory away to Bristol City.
Saturday 10th February
FA WSL 1
Birmingham City 0-2 Chelsea (Att: 669)
Bristol City 1-2 Sunderland (Att: 448)
Chelsea push into pole position
With morning leaders Manchester City not playing until Sunday, Chelsea took the chance to go top for at least a few hours.
They were ahead soon after Ann-Katrin Berger had denied Ramona Bachmann, with the rebound from a Crystal Dunn shot falling for Fran Kirby to slide home.
The home keeper dived at Kirby’s feet moments later and Aoife Mannion then blocked Hannah Blundell’s drive on the City goal-line.
Drew Spence blazed over the bar from 12 yards and when she combined with Bachmann, Berger made the save at full stretch.
Birmingham had a better start to the second half, with Ellen White charging at goal but missing the target and then firing at Hedvig Lindahl.
Chelsea doubled their lead in the 71st-minute, Ji So-Yun with an impressive finish into the top right corner from the edge of the box.
It might have been 3-0 but Erin Cuthbert’s effort from Dunn’s through-ball brought another great stop from Berger.
Birmingham City’s Charlie Wellings said: “We knew we didn’t come out of the blocks like we should have. We didn’t do the things we planned on all week. I think we improved in the second half but we still weren’t at our best so we need to put it right for our next game.”
Chelsea striker Fran Kirby said: “I think we were really dominant in the first half and created lots of chances and managed to get a goal which killed their momentum a little bit. Second half they tried to get back into but Ji So-Yun scoring knocked a bit out of them but overall professional performance, dominant performance and we’re happy with it.”
Win sends Sunderland into top half
A second-half Rachel Pitman goal gave Sunderland the points at Bristol City and lifted them into fifth spot.
Sunderland were ahead on 11 minutes from Dominique Bruinenberg’s cross which was slotted home by Bridget Galloway.
Yana Daniels went close to an immediate equaliser with a free kick but it was not long until the Vixens did level, Lauren Hemp heading home at the front post on 15 minutes.
The Black Cats then found themselves frustrated by Sophie Baggaley, who stopped Galloway’s header and twice cleared off the line before Kasia Lipka nodded inches past the home post.
The visitors regained the advantage on 57 minutes, Lucy Staniforth’s free kick eventually dropping for Rachel Pitman to score.
Bristol’s Charlie Estcourt hit a powerful shot which was saved well by Rachel Laws and Carla Humphrey’s looping effort smacked against the crossbar.
City kept pressing for a late leveller with Julie Biesmans having an effort cleared off the line but Sunderland held out to take all three points.
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Quotes by Sportsbeat