Chelsea and City refuse to falter in race for title

Chelsea and Manchester City maintained their frenetic pace at the top of the Barclays Women’s Super League table with vital two-goal wins.

City held the initiative after Jess Park delivered two goals and an assist to down rivals Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

The midfielder opened the scoring on 37 minutes, volleying home Leila Ouahabi’s cross.

She doubled City’s lead eight minutes later, reacting quickest at the far post after Alanna Kennedy headed Yui Hasegawa’s angled cross into a dangerous area.

The points were all-but sealed within seconds of the second half, as Shaw latched onto Park’s reverse pass to slide the ball wide of Mary Earps and become City’s all-time record scorer in the WSL era with 68 goals.

United responded later in the second half when Hannah Blundell’s cross was deflected into the far corner by City defender Kerstin Casparij, but City held on for three priceless points in their bid for a first title in eight years.

Chelsea responded with a 2-0 win at West Ham on Sunday to reclaim top spot on goal difference.

Aggie Beever-Jones thumped home from close range after just two minutes to set Chelsea on course for what looked like a comfortable afternoon in East London.

But it proved to be far from straightforward for Emma Hayes’ side, who had to wait until the 88th minute to celebrate their return to the league summit.

Erin Cuthbert’s powerful volley ensured there was no slip up from the holders, who remain a nose in front with five games to play.

Arsenal produced a late comeback to see off stubborn Aston Villa 3-1 at Villa Park.

The hosts scored with their only shot of the game on 35 minutes, when Ebony Salmon swept home Adriana Leon’s cutback.

The Gunners laid siege to the Villa goal after half time and equalised when Victoria Pelova tucked home the rebound from an Alessia Russo shot.

Frida Maanum and Russo hit the woodwork and goalkeeper Anna Leat made a string of stunning saves but a moment of quality from the England forward finally broke Villa’s resistance on 84 minutes.

Russo picked out Lotte Wubben-Moy with a pinpoint cross and the defender cushioned her header into the far corner before sub Stina Blackstenius added a game-clinching third just two minutes later.

Liverpool dropped points in the race for the final Champions League spot, sharing a 0-0 draw with Everton in the Merseyside derby.

After a first half of few chances, Everton’s Lucy Hope struck the crossbar and team-mate Justine Vanhaevermaet tested goalkeeper Rachael Laws with a fizzing long-range effort.

At the other end, Reds striker Sophie Roman Haug attempted a chip from long range and midfielder Ceri Holland made a dangerous dart towards goal in stoppage-time but it remained goalless as Everton claimed a valuable point at Goodison Park.

Tottenham Hotspur moved further clear of the bottom half thanks to Bethany England’s first league goal of the season against Bristol City.

England fired Spurs in front after two minutes, collecting Grace Clinton’s searching pass before cutting inside two players and firing into the near post.

The visitors had opportunities to extend their lead as Celin Bizet twice went close in quick succession, and while Wang Shuang and Matilda Vinberg struck the crossbar late on, the one goal was enough.

Brighton leapfrogged Leicester City into eighth after Elisabeth Terland grabbed the winner in a five-goal thriller at King Power Stadium.

After a goalless first half, Jutta Rantala broke the deadlock for the Foxes, rifling into the near post after a superb pass from Yuka Momiki.

Four minutes after her introduction as a substitute, Madison Haley got the Seagulls on level terms and they were ahead when Katie Robinson rounded goalkeeper Lize Kop and slotted home.

Momiki turned provider again in a frantic finale, as Lena Petermann looked to have secured a draw for Leicester, but Terland delivered the knockout blow just a minute later.

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