Chelsea Ladies pipped to WSL title


first_imgChelsea Ladies were pipped to the Women’s Super League title on goal difference by Liverpool as they suffered an agonising 2-1 defeat at Manchester City Ladies on a gripping final day of the season.Birmingham’s failure to beat Notts County meant a draw would have been good enough to secure a first major trophy in the team’s 22-year history.But first-half goals by Jill Scott and Toni Duggan put City in control and although Gilly Flaherty’s header gave Chelsea hope and the hosts had Abbie McManus sent off, a dominant Chelsea were unable to find the equaliser.Liverpool, who started the day in third, scored three second-half goals to beat Bristol Academy 3-0 and retain their title.Chelsea’s players were inconsolable after the game, but they have at least qualified for the Champions League for the first time in their history.The day started badly when goalkeeper Marie Hourihan had to be taken off when she damaged her shoulder after colliding with Georgia Brougham and falling awkwardly inside 10 minutes.And the change visibly affected Emma Hayes’ side.Hourihan’s replacement, debutant Claire Farrow, was almost beaten by Natasha Flint within a couple of minutes when she hesitated as she came off her line.Chelsea did almost go ahead when Rachel Williams had a header cleared off the line by McManus after great work by Eni Aluko on the left wing.But it was the hosts who deservedly went ahead, Farrow making a mess of an awkward bouncing shot by Scott.The visitors started to look shaky and Duggan’s stunning strike after a fine team move made it 2-0.Chelsea began to find their rhythm towards the end of the first half, but could not reduce the deficit going into the break.Aluko continued to be their best attacking player in the second period, consistently finding space and threatening to set up a goal.City had the clearest chance in the early stages, Flint heading wide with the goal gaping.But Chelsea were doing the majority of the pressing and always looked capable of finding a way back into the game and they did just that when Flaherty headed home from a corner.McManus then saw red for elbowing Yuki Ogimi with 14 minutes remaining, but Chelsea could not take advantage.Jackie Groenen blazed a glorious chance over the bar following another corner and Ogimi was denied in injury-time as City held on.Chelsea 4-2-3-1: Hoirihan (Farrow); Blundell, Bassett, Flaherty, Borges (Buet); Spence (Groenen), Chapman; Williams, Ji, Aluko; Ogimi.Subs not used: Wilhelmsson, Rafferty, Coombs, Meiwald.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img

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