Match report: Chelsea Ladies 2 Manchester City Ladies 1
News Sun 29 Dec 2014
Second-half goals from Katie Chapman and Jackie Groenen sealed an important win for Chelsea as they increased the pressure on top-of-the-table Birmingham.
The Blues went behind during the first period, but fought back well against a strong Manchester City team before finally sealing the win in the last minute of normal time.
Emma Hayes named two changes to the Arsenal-beating team of midweek with the suspended Gilly Flaherty replaced by Emma Wilhelmsson and Claire Rafferty making way for Rachel Williams.
Ana Borges and Drew Spence maintained their place in the starting line-up, with Anne Meiwald and Atlanta Primus named again on the bench.
The early exchanges of an end-to-end first half were defined by some fantastic goalkeeping from Chelsea's Marie Hourihan and City's Karen Bardsley.
Hourihan made a superb reflex save to deny City from a corner, while at the other end Bardsley pulled out a finger-tip save to turn a long-range Ji So Yun effort over the bar.
A Natasha Flint goal opened the scoring on the half hour, when Drew Spence was ambushed in possession and Hourihan was caught off her line, allowing the Manchester City striker to lob the ball in from 25 yards.
Ji, Rachel Williams and Eniola Aluko all had chances to level it up for Chelsea, but found Bardsley in top form.
Chelsea came out fighting in the second half, with Aluko making a fast break down the right before crossing to Yuki Ogimi who could not keep her shot down from close range.
It eventually fell to captain Katie Chapman to equalise for Chelsea on 62 minutes with a powerful close-range header.
Both teams then had great chances to take the lead from headers, first with Toni Duggan getting to a well-struck cross ahead of the Chelsea defence, before Aluko set up Williams for a looping header which drifted over the bar.
Chelsea picked up a precious three points in the last minute. Substitute Jackie Groenen strongly held off a challenge and played a great one-two with Ji before calming taking the ball round the goalkeeper and finding the back of the net.
Chelsea Marie Hourihan, Hannah Blundell (Anna Meiweld 79), Emma Wilhelmsson, Yuki Ogimi, Rachel Williams, Eniola Aluko (Jackie Groenen 75), Ji So Yun (Laura Coombs 90), Ana Borges, Katie Chapman (c), Laura Bassett, Drew Spence.
Unused subs Christiane Endler, Danielle Buet, Laura Rafferty, Atlanta Primus
Scorers Chapman 62, Groenen 90
Manchester City Karen Bardsley, Steph Houghton (c) (Chelsea Nightingale 44), Krystle Johnston, Jill Scott, Toni Duggan, Izzy Christiansen, Betsy Hassett, Emma Lipman, Natasha Flint (Emma Kete 56), Abbie McManus, Kathleen Radtke.
Unused subs Alex Brooks, Nicola Harding, Danielle Young, Keira Walsh.
Scorer Flint 28
Booked Scott, McManus