Dublin: 16°C Thursday 5 August 2021

Chelsea beat United to go top on another busy weekend for Irish in English top-flight

Six Irish internationals featured, with Ruesha Littlejohn making her Birmingham City debut after signing for the club yesterday.

birmingham-city-v-brighton-and-hove-albion-fa-womens-super-league-sportnation-bet-stadium Ruesha Littlejohn made her Birmingham City debut after signing yesterday. Source: PA

THERE WAS PLENTY of Irish interest across the water on a day where reigning Women’s Super League [WSL] champions Chelsea moved to the top of the table with a 2-1 win against challengers Manchester United.

United — who have been hugely impressive in the top flight since their promotion ahead of this season — had been top of the table before a ball was kicked, but they suffered a first defeat of the campaign at Kingsmeadow.

Goals from Pernille Harder and Fran Kirby earned the Blues victory, the latter sealing the win after Lauren James’ well-taken 61st-minute response.

Elsewhere, Ireland captain Katie McCabe returned to action for Arsenal after a turbulent time off the pitch due to a controversial Dubai trip — and her third-placed side had to settle for a 1-1 draw against Grace Moloney’s Reading.

The Royals went ahead within five minutes when Lauren Bruton turned home ex-Gunner Emma Mitchell’s free-kick into the box. Arsenal equalised against the run of play on 39 minutes; Jill Roord’s header well saved by ‘keeper Moloney, but she could only parry the ball into Vivianne Miedema’s path and the WSL leading scorer tapped home from two yards.

Both McCabe and Moloney played the full game, sharing the spoils at the death.

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reading-v-arsenal-fa-womens-super-league-madejski-stadium Katie McCabe facing Danielle Carter. Source: PA

reading-v-arsenal-fa-womens-super-league-madejski-stadium Grace Moloney taking a kick-out today. Source: PA

Lauren Hemp scored a brace and set up another two as Manchester City beat Aston Villa 7-0 for a fifth successive win.

Further goals from Jill Scott, Georgia Stanway, Ellen White, Chloe Kelly and an own goal from Natalie Haigh added to Hemp’s first-half double. Ireland defender Megan Campbell is on the books at City, though she hasn’t featured in quite some time due to injury. Donegal teenager Tyler Toland is currently on loan at Glasgow City, where she’s joined by Clare Shine and Niamh Farrelly.

Brighton’s winless run was extended to four games as they played out a 0-0 draw with Birmingham City, for whom Harriet Scott and Ruesha Littlejohn played the full game, the latter making her debut after signing yesterday.

Their Irish team-mates, Rianna Jarrett and Megan Connolly, started for the Seagulls — Connolly going the 90 and Jarrett making way in the 73rd minute after an encouraging performance up top.

birmingham-city-v-brighton-and-hove-albion-fa-womens-super-league-sportnation-bet-stadium Megan Connolly played the full 90 for Brighton. Source: PA

Elsewhere, Tottenham were 1-0 winners over West Ham. Ireland’s US-born ‘keeper Courtney Brosnan was on the bench for the Hammers, while Leanne Kiernan was again absent from the squad as she continues her return from injury.

Lucy Quinn did the damage for Spurs in the first half, consigning Olli Harder to a losing start to life as West Ham boss.

And Everton recorded their first win in six games with a 4-0 victory over bottom-placed Bristol City. The Blues made the perfect start to 2021 with Izzy Christiansen (two), Simone Magill and Megan Finnigan grabbing the goals.

- with reporting from Press Association 

WSL results 

  • Manchester City 7-0 Aston Villa
  • Reading 1-1 Arsenal
  • Chelsea 2-1 Manchester United
  • Everton 4-0 Bristol City
  • Birmingham City 0-0 Brighton & Hove Albion
  • West Ham 0-1 Tottenham

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Emma Duffy

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