Chelsea Women 3, Manchester City Women 1
Goals by Maren Mjelde, Sam Kerr, and Fran Kirby saw Chelsea beat Manchester City at Kingsmeadow in the WSL battle of the titans.Embed from Getty Images
Chelsea were the better side but a refereeing error allowed them to open the scoring after Ellen White was wrongly booked for deliberate handball to concede a penalty when she didn’t even touch the ball.
City had hit the post through Sam Mewis early on but they were punished throughout for mistakes in their build-up leaving a very strong Chelsea fully deserved winners as Kirby made Kerr’s goal before finishing off City herself.
Jess Park got the nod to start this game after her midweek performance against Everton in the top-two clash at Kingsmeadow while Lucy Bronze started this game after being rested in midweek as a precautionary measure.
And City were under pressure early as Chelsea started on the front foot but both sides settled into a high energy game – both sides giving neither much space on the ball.
Pernille Harder had a couple of good chances but was blocked by Lucy Bronze and Gemma Bonner while Sam Kerr blazed over as Chelsea started to carve out the better early chances.
Harder tried again with high and wide shot as City began to struggle against Chelsea’s high press, only coming into their own on the rare times wen they went direct.
Mewis hit the foot of the post with a curling shot after a driving run from midfield as City got some respite after 24 minutes – it was the fifth time that City had hit the woodwork this season – more than any other WSL team.
Park won a corner but from the resulting set piece Steph Houghton was accidentally trod on by Harder as she tried to keep the ball in play.
City were making gifting Chelsea too much possession of the ball when their attempts to pass out from the back broke down, and they were made to pay for that towards the end of the first half when the home side won the ball and then won a controversial penalty following a mistake by referee Rebecca Welch.
Mistake to penalise Ellen White for handball as Chelsea go on to beat Manchester City
Erin Cuthbert’s shot was adjudged to have hit the hand of Ellen White after she flinched from the ball resulting in the penalty but replays showed the ball had come off Demi Stokes and didn’t hit her arm either.
White was furious, especially after she was wrongly booked for a deliberate handball offence, but the penalty stood and Maren Mjelde’s spot kick was drilled into the bottom right corner with Roebuck diving the wrong way.
Chelsea had just about deserved that lead on balance of play and continued to harry City who tried to find an equaliser but there was no end product to a couple of hopeful crosses into the Chelsea box.
Chelsea looked to exploit the space left behind by Bronze’s runs upfield with Ji So-yun’s left wing cross for Kerr saw her direct a header on target but Roebuck had an easy save to make.
Chelsea started the second half strongly, with Cuthbert shooting wide and Fran Kirby crossed for an unmarked Kerr who headed over while the Australian also screwed a cutback from Kirby wide.
A mistake by Lucy Bronze – the kind of mistake that City were making all day – allowed Cuthbert a shot on goal which she skied.
Kerr doubled Chelsea’s lead in the 57th minute from 7 yards when Kirby crossed again from the right after being released again by a long ball over the top – with the Australian making no mistake this time.
City were finally moved to make changes with Rose Lavelle and Georgia Stanway coming on for Park and White on the hour.
City improved after the double change but it wasn’t enough to make a breakthrough as passes continued to go astray and Bethany England came on for Harder as Chelsea freshened up their attack.
Weir’s cross earned City a penalty as the cross hit Mille Bright’s hand – a much more obvious award – and Kelly rammed the ball into the roof of the net to put City back into the game with 17 minutes to go.
Mewis’ chip was easy to collect for Berger as City struggled to get good quality ball into the final third.
The Chelsea counter attack was complete after Lavelle had pressed Berger but the Chelsea keeper managed to pass the ball out and her team passed their way around City and Cuthbert applied a great long pass to release Kirby for the coup-de-grace.
City had left themselves too open and Kirby, who had come back into the centre of the park, rounded Roebuck, who had raced out of the City box to try and get to the ball, and slotted into the empty net.
Stanway’s deflected shot fell to Lavelle who couldn’t react fast enough and it bounced off her and into the hands of Berger as City’s luck deserted them.
Defeat leaves City fifth in the WSL table on 7 points while Chelsea moved into third place on 10 points behind Everton and Arsenal on a maximum 12 points after 4 WSL games.
GOALS – Chelsea Women 3, Manchester City Women 1
Chelsea Women 1, Manchester City Women 0: 36. Maren Mjelde sent Ellie Roebuck the wrong way from the penalty spot.
Chelsea Women 2, Manchester City Women 0: 57. Sam Kerr made no mistake from 7 yards out after meeting a right wing cross by Fran Kirby.
Chelsea Women 2, Man City Women 1: 73. Chloe Kelly rammed the ball into the roof of the net after City earned a spot kick when Mille Bright handled Caroline Weir’s cross from the left.
Chelsea Women 3, Man City Women 1: 79. Fran Kirby rounded Ellie Roebuck and fired into the empty net after the City goalkeeper had raced out of her box to try and meet the ball following a quick Chelsea couter attack.
MATCH STATS – Chelsea Women 3, Manchester City Women 1
Chelsea Women: Berger, Mjelde, Bright, Eriksson, Andersson, Cuthbert, Leupolz, Ji (ingle 85), Kirby, Kerr (Charles 74), Harder (England 69)
Chelsea Women Subs not used: Telford, Thorisdottir, Reiten, Jessie Fleming, Charlotte Fleming
Booking: Bright 33 (foul on Caroline Weir); Mjelde 88 (foul)
Goals: Mjede pen 36; Kerr 57; Kirby 79
Man City Women: Roebuck, Bronze, Houghton, Bonner, Stokes, Walsh, Mewis, Weir (Scott 81), Park (Lavelle 60), Kelly, White (Stanway 60)
Man City Women Subs not used: Bardsley, Taieb, Coombs, Beckie, Morgan, Greenwood
Bookings: White (deliberate handball 35); Mewis 45+3 (foul on Magda Eriksson)
Goal: Kelly pen 79
Referee: Rebecca Welch