A stunning second-half fightback from Chelsea saw them claim the Barclays FA Women’s Super League title with a 4-2 win over Manchester United at Kingsmeadow.
United twice took the lead in the first half through Martha Thomas and then Ella Toone either side of Erin Cuthbert’s strike for the defending champions..
But Chelsea came out firing in the second half, with Sam Kerr scoring two sensational volleys and winger Guro Reiten finishing off a fast counter-attack to turn the game on its head.
United were much the better of the sides in the opening exchanges and were rewarded when Thomas got onto the end of Katie Zelem’s perfect ball from a free-kick after 13 minutes.
Emma Hayes’ side were reigning champions for a reason though, and Cuthbert emphatically levelled the scores with a powerful strike into the bottom corner five minutes later.
When Toone connected superbly with a volley midway through the first half it looked like it just wasn’t to be Chelsea’s day and the visitors went in 2-1 up at the break with nerves clearly among the Chelsea supporters.
Hayes made two changes at half-time, and they had the desired effect immediately when Australian star Kerr scored the first of her two outrageous volleys to level the scores just a minute into the second half.
After 50 minutes, Chelsea were ahead and all nerves of the title heading to their London rivals Arsenal were gone when Reiten tucked away a breakaway goal with a smart finish.
The hosts weren’t done there though, as Kerr scored her 20th league goal of the season with an audacious volley that left Mary Earps stranded in the United net to seal their sixth Barclays FA Women’s Super League crown – and third title in a row – in style.
Hayes said: “I think no matter what we do in terms of the team we put out or the tactics we put out, the team has the ability when something doesn’t go well to overcome it, we didn’t carry out the game plan at all in the first half.
“We couldn’t pass the ball, let alone win the first and second ball, the distance between her (Sam Kerr) and the rest of the team was too massive.
“I nearly changed it after 30 minutes but I felt strongly that we needed Beth (England) and Ji (So-Yun) to come into the game and for Erin (Cuthbert) to sit a little bit deeper.
Kerr, Hayes said: “I don’t even know what words I could use to sum this person up.
“She knows she can cope with these situations and deal with it when it really, really matters and most importantly have joy in what she’s doing, she enjoyed herself in the first half.
“I’ve never in my career had a player come over when the scores are level at 2-2 and say “today’s our destiny, today was always our destiny” and I was thinking but we’re not winning yet!”
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