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Irish interest and stunning goals aplenty as title race heats up across the water

Chelsea were 4-1 winners over Arsenal in yesterday’s top-of-the-table clash in the Women’s Super League.

Sophie Ingle scored a screamer for Chelsea, while Ireland captain Katie McCabe (15) featured for Arsenal.
Sophie Ingle scored a screamer for Chelsea, while Ireland captain Katie McCabe (15) featured for Arsenal.
Image: Bradley Collyer

CHELSEA’S 4-1 WIN over reigning champions and leaders Arsenal has turned the heat up in the Women’s Super League [WSL] title race across the water.

There was disappointment for Irish starting duo Katie McCabe and Louise Quinn as the Gunners were thrashed on home soil. 4,000 watched on at the Meadow Park sell-out.

While Manchester City stay top on goal difference, Emma Hayes’ Chelsea are now just a point behind City and Arsenal on 32, with a game in hand just past the halfway point.

There’s a significant gap then, with newly-promoted Manchester United fourth on 18 points. The race should come right down to the wire, though, with two Champions League football spots up for grabs.

The Blues laid down a statement of intent at Arsenal yesterday, racing into a three-goal lead inside 20 minutes with Australia striker Sam Kerr bagging her first WSL goal since signing for the club. 

Their other two first-half goals were incredible, first up a brilliant curled opener courtesy of Beth England while Sophie Ingle fired home this stunning half-volley into the top corner:

Guro Reiten made it 4-0 after the break and while Beth Mead pulled one back for Arsenal, the dominant visitors held on to pull off a massive win.

To heat things up even more, City — in manager Nick Cushing’s last game in charge before his move to the MLS — host Arsenal in the next round of games on 2 February.

Cushing’s Sky Blues were 2-0 winners over Birmingham City yesterday after goals in each half from Ellen Whyte and Keira Walsh. England World Cup star Whyte’s opener came after just 34 seconds.

City’s Irish duo Megan Campbell and Tyler Toland didn’t feature, but Harriet Scott went the distance in defence for Birmingham.

Meanwhile, Liverpool’s win yesterday — their first of the season — lifted them from the bottom of the table as they leapfrogged Bristol City to move out of the relegation zone. 

wsl Source: WSL Twitter.

Northern Ireland star Rachel Furness was the Reds’ hero against the Robins, her first half goal the difference in the bottom-of-the-league clash at the Stoke Gifford Stadium.

Galway’s Niamh Fahey starred in defence for Liverpool.

Ireland internationals Leanne Kiernan and Courtney Brosnan were both involved for West Ham in their late 2-1 win over Megan Connolly‘s Brighton. 

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Swiss star Alisha Lehmann grabbed a late double for the Hammers as they came from behind to cancel out Danique Kekdijk’s 24th-minute opener.

Cork native Connolly played the full game for the Seagulls, while Brosnan did the same for the Hammers. Cavan star Kiernan, who was lively throughout but picked up a yellow card, was substituted after 70 minutes, while Ruesha Littlejohn was on the bench.

west-ham-united-v-brighton-and-hove-albion-fa-womens-super-league-rush-green-stadium Leanne Kiernan on the ball yesterday. Source: EMPICS Sport

Elsewhere, three second-half goals from skipper Katie Zelem (penalty), Jess Sigsworth and Ella Toone earned Casey Stoney’s Manchester United a victory over Tottenham, while England striker Chole Kelly’s sublime hat-trick saw Everton past Reading. 

Ireland goalkeeper Grace Moloney plies her trade for the Royals but she wasn’t in the squad, while England’s most-capped international Fara Williams scored their only goal from 13 yards.

Results

  • Arsenal 1-4 Chelsea
  • Birmingham 0-2 Manchester City 
  • Everton 3-1 Reading 
  • West Ham 2-1 Brigton & Hove Albion
  • Manchester United 3-0 Tottenham Hotspur 
  • Bristol City 0-1 Liverpool

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Emma Duffy

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