Chelsea Ladies 2-1 Sunderland Ladies
Chelsea Ladies moved to within one win of the FA Women’s Super League 1 title after getting the better of a spirited Sunderland at Kingsmeadow on Saturday evening.
Goals in either half from Fran Kirby and Eni Aluko were enough to extend Chelsea’s unbeaten league season and send the Blues six points clear at the top.
Keira Ramshaw pulled one back for the lasses but their efforts were unfortunately in vain as Chelsea took another major step towards the title.
The Lady Black Cats were tireless throughout as Lucy Staniforth’s opportunistic 40-yard effort almost caught out Blues keeper Carly Telford early on.
Shortly after, Eni Aluko raced clear on the left and played in Erin Cuthbert, but her shot was deflected wide.
Chelsea broke the deadlock just before half-time when Gemma Davison burst down the right before picking out Kirby who was unmarked in the middle.
The striker’s shot looped off Back Cats’ defender Kasia Lipka and into the net for Kirby’s 25th goal of the season.
Playing her final home game before retirement, captain Katie Chapman almost signed off in perfect style, but Rachael Laws tipped her fierce effort onto the post.
But Chelsea continued to apply the pressure and doubled their advantage 10 minutes into the second half, which proved to be the match-winner, when Aluko flicked home Jonna Andersson’s looping left-wing cross.
The visitors, though, kept pushing on and did get one back for their efforts, Ramshaw’s low shot found way through to set up a grand finale in London.
Chelsea Ladies: Telford, Bright, Flaherty, Thorisdottir, Davison, Mjelde, Chapman (Cooper, 83), Andersson (Rafferty, 59), Cuthbert, Kirby (Bachmann, 67), Aluko
Subs not used: Lindahl, Blundell, Spence
Sunderland: Laws; Pitman, Williams, Sharp, Sjoman, Lipka (Bruinenberg, 69), Wyne, Joice, Lambert, Ramshaw, Staniforth
Subs not used: Preuss, Stewart, Griffiths, Galloway, Koren