Jill Scott bagged a double as Manchester City secured second spot in FA WSL 1 and Champions League football for next season with a comfortable final day victory over Everton.
The opening 20 minutes were understandably a bit nervous for the home team and Jennifer Beattie may have been lucky to stay on the pitch as she brought Danielle Turner down as the forward ran through on goal.
But those nerves were eased when Georgia Stanway’s reverse ball found Scott who turned and unleashed a rising effort into the corner from the edge of the box.
It was left to Nikita Parris to settle any lingering doubts over City’s position in the top two when she tapped home after Stanway had cushioned down Mel Lawley’s cross from the right.
Almost as soon as it was two it was three and it came in disastrous fashion for Andy Spence’s side. Marthe Munsterman’s back pass didn’t have the power to reach Kirstie Levell, allowing Scott to nip in and poke in her second and City’s third.
Man City’s two goal heroine Jill Scott said: “Today was just all about the result, it would have been devastating to not get that Champions League spot and I think overall it’s deserved for us for the effort we’ve put in.
“We’re disappointed not to win the league and not make it a more exciting end to the season but fair play to Chelsea because they were better over the course of the season.
“It was really important to get over the line. The past few weeks have been hard and I won’t shy away from the fact I’ve been a bit moody to be around the last few weeks. Losing hurts, it really does and it will be our driving force for the new season.”
Everton boss Andy Spence: “People tell me the table doesn’t lie but people talk about leagues within leagues and people talk about being happy to finish seventh but in my opinion that’s absolute nonsense. If you’re happy to finish seventhth then you shouldn’t be in the sport, you want to finish first.
“We’ve already started our plans for this summer and we’ll keep our business quiet until we’re ready to announce. We’re pleased we’re already in one position certainly where players are lined up and there’s a couple more beyond that we’re working on already.”
Arsenal ran riot in their closing game of the FA Women’s Super League 1 season, racing into a five-goal lead at the break before comprehensively beating Bristol City.
But it wasn’t enough to clinch them a place in next season’s UEFA Women’s Champions League as Manchester City’s win over Everton meant the Gunners finished third.
The floodgates were opened after 21 minutes when Danielle Van De Donk was presented with a simple header from a Jordan Nobbs corner kick.
The visitors increased their lead on 28 minutes from the penalty spot, Kim Little firing low to Sophie Baggaley’s right after Danielle Carter had been brought down by Danique Kerkdijk.
And their third arrived two minutes later, Leah Williamson getting the final touch in a goalmouth scramble following a corner.
Beth Mead smashed home a right-footed 30-yarder seven minutes before the break to make it four, and the fifth arrived just before the interval when substitute Katie McCabe showed strength inside the box to hold off her marker to turn and fire home.
Bristol began to give a better account of themselves after the break and found the net after 66 minutes when Chloe Arthur took advantage of rare defensive slackness from the visitors to chip the ball over Anna Moorhouse from 25 yards.
Lauren Hemp then sent an angled shot over the top, but the five-goal margin was restored in the 71st minute when Van De Donk bagged her second of the game, nodding home at the far post from Little’s cross.
Beth Mead, Arsenal forward: “It was a nice result to finish with and we played some good football and scored some good goals.
“But we killed ourselves earlier in the season when we were not consistent enough. A Champions League place was out of our hands today and although we did what we could, it wasn’t enough in the end.
“Hopefully we can be more consistent next season and give the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City a run for their money.”
Willie Kirk, Bristol City manager: “I was pleased with our second-half performance, I just want to forget about the first half – I don’t know what happened.
“I was disappointed we did not finish in seventh place because that had been our target over the last few weeks.
“But even finishing eighth means we have been punching above our weight in terms of our budget and I think we have won some friends along the way with football we have been playing.”
Ji So-Yun made sure League and FA Cup champions Chelsea ended their 2017-18 campaign in the perfect style, as she scored two late goals to help the Blues come from two goals down to win against Liverpool at Prenton Park.
The hosts raced out of the blocks and into a 1-0 lead inside the first minute, as Caroline Weir’s cut back was deflected into Jess Clarke’s path, and she fired home from close range.
Liverpool doubled their advantage seven minutes later, as Chelsea failed to clear Alex Greenwood’s cross and Niamh Charles found herself in space to slot in from 15 yards.
The champions pulled a goal back on 70 minutes, as Eniola Aluko latched onto a lofted through ball and calmly stroked home past Siobhan Chamberlain to ignite hopes for invincibility.
The cool finish was Chelsea’s 100th goal this season and Aluko’s farewell finish as she prepares to move on next season.
Then super sub So-Yun netted the equaliser ten minutes later, volleying home a spectacular effort from 18 yards.
After her stunning first, she curled home from the other side of the box for the second from an acute angle, following a clever dinked pass from Fran Kirby.
Liverpool’s Jess Clarke said: “Obviously the end result is disappointing. To go 2-0 up against the champions is amazing and in the second half we just looked to hold them off.
“The important thing for us now is finding that consistency. We’ve proved today that we can compete and moving into next season we just need to get that consistency right.
“If we can maintain that for next season, we can be challenging at the very top.”
Chelsea’s Eni Aluko said: “We’ve come back from 2-0 already this season, so we knew we could do it. We started slowly, we looked like we were still on the bus, we had to maintain our high standards, and we did.
“Getting the first goal was very important for me, because it set the team momentum, and then Ji came on and did what she always does – produces magic.
“It was an emotional day for me, but I needed to make sure I ended on a high with my own personal performance. I was pleased with that, I worked hard to create chances for the team and myself.”
Hotshots Ellen White and Brooke Chaplen bagged a goal apiece as Birmingham City and Reading ended the FA WSL 1 season with an entertaining 1-1 draw in front of 1,120 at St Andrew’s.
Reading led after just four minutes as Remi Allen showed great vision to split Birmingham’s defence with a ball over the top and Chaplen kept her cool to slot past Blues keeper Ann-Katrin Berger.
But Blues levelled on 29 minutes in similar fashion as White outpaced Reading defender Jo Potter to reach Charlie Wellings’ searching ball and rounded keeper Grace Moloney to slot into an empty net.
The game was then held up for several minutes as Blues’ Rachel Williams had to be stretchered off after landing awkwardly when stretching to control a difficult ball.
Williams’ replacement Lucy Quinn had a great chance to put City ahead on 67 minutes but Moloney somehow kept out the substitute’s point-blank half-volley from skipper Kerys Harrop’s cross.
Reading had an equally good opportunity to pinch the points six minutes from time but an unmarked Fara Williams headed Lauren Bruton’s floated cross over from six yards out as the spoils were shared.
The draw meant Reading achieved their highest-ever WSL 1 finish by ending the season in fourth place while the Blues – who would have leapfrogged their visitors with a win – had to settle for fifth spot.
Reading goalscorer Brooke Chaplen: “Obviously a point meant that we finished fourth and that was important to us. Three points would have been better but finishing fourth is good for us a team.
“Obviously it’s difficult to compete with Arsenal, Chelsea and Man City but I think we’ve done a really good job this year to take points off all three of them.
“Hopefully next year we can compete even higher up the table to where we already are.”
Birmingham’s Ellen White, who finished as top scorer in WSL 1: “I’m delighted to have finished as top scorer but I can’t score goals without my teammates so the honour is partly theirs as well. But I’m really happy to have finally won it!
“We’ve lost two or three games this season that we should be winning – if we had won those, we would be up there fighting for Champions League spots.
“Those two or three games could have got us in the top three but we’ve ended up fifth, so that’s frustrating but I think we can be delighted with the way we have performed and progressed.”
Two goals in the space of five minutes allowed Sunderland to come from behind to beat Yeovil Town in their final game of the FA Women’s Super League 1 season.
The defences were on top for much of the first half, with the exception of Annie Heatherson’s opener. The midfielder glided through the home defence before firing a low shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
Four minutes after conceding, Ellie Stewart powered a back-post header straight at Yeovil keeper Megan Walsh.
Moments later, Bridget Galloway picked the pocket of a Yeovil centre-half before laying in Mollie Lambert. But her cross-shot was pushed clear by Walsh before being hacked clear.
Sunderland, as has been the case this season, were much improved in the second half and duly levelled just before the hour-mark, Keira Ramshaw rising highest to thump a header past Walsh following Lambert’s delivery from the right.
The hosts then completed the turnaround on 63 minutes, Galloway latching on to Zaneta Wyne’s deflected shot to score from close range as Sunderland ended their season with victory despite a late push from the visitors.
Rachel Laws, Sunderland keeper said: “We didn’t start in the first half, we were forcing it too much. When Yeovil didn’t have the ball, they banked up and we had to find a way through which we couldn’t do.
“We spoke about it at half-time and credit to the girls they have come out and performed fantastically. There were two great goals, we defended well and it’s a great way to finish.”
Megan Walsh, Yeovil keeper and captain said: “We’re all disappointed to end the season like that and the first half was probably the best we have produced; we have gone in winning at half-time.
“We just stepped off the pedal a little bit and that resulted in two goals. We kept them at bay and stuck to our game plan which was to keep them in front of us but it came apart in the second half a bit which led to the two goals.
“The two draws, and the two goals under our belts, will give us confidence and boost the morale of the team to take into next season.”
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