Manchester City move up to second in the Barclays FA WSL on a day of thrills at the bottom
Manchester City kept the pressure on rivals United as they beat West Ham to go second in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League.
With Chelsea and Arsenal both in Champions League action, the Manchester clubs had the chance to put the pressure on.
United did that in midweek against Arsenal, winning 1-0, to go four points clear at the top, but City’s victory saw them move ahead of Chelsea into second, three points behind United.
Both teams have played two games more than the defending champions with City’s 6-2 win over the Hammers crucial as they bid to stay in the hunt.
Earlier in the day, there was plenty of excitement at the bottom of the table with teams in ninth, tenth and eleventh all involved in thrillers.
Tottenham came from 2-0 to lead Aston Villa 3-2, eventually having to settle for a point, while Liverpool came from behind to deny Brighton a much-needed win with a 2-1 success.
And last, but by no means least, Everton made it a double Merseyside comeback, trailing 2-0 to Reading before eventually running out 3-2 victors.
City strike early
Man City made their intent clear from the start, racing into a 2-0 lead in just seven minutes thanks to two goals from Chloe Kelly.
The England star scored twice in the space of 60 seconds although Emma Snerle got West Ham back into it as three goals went in during a frantic first 11 minutes.
Laura Coombs headed in a third midway through the first half, before City made the game safe by scoring twice just after the hour.
Khadija Shaw restored her two-goal buffer at the top of the goal-scoring charts with her 17th of the season before Steph Houghton made it 5-1 three minutes later, volleying home a birthday goal.
Lisa Evans pulled one back for West Ham, but City fittingly had the final say, Mary Fowler heading Kelly’s corner home to complete the win.
There were plenty of contenders for game of the day, with Spurs against Villa making a strong case.
Kirsty Hanson opened the scoring on nine minutes before the outstanding Rachel Daly boosted her Golden Boot hopes by doubling the advantage.
At that point, Spurs looked in trouble with others around them in the table winning their games, but Eveliina Summanen got them back into it.
Goals either side of half-time from the Finn levelled matters before Beth England put Spurs in front on the hour-mark when given too much space in the six-yard box.
But just as it seemed Spurs would complete a brilliant comeback, Daly added her second, her 15th of the campaign, to earn a point for the visitors.
At the same time, Everton pulled off a remarkable fightback away to Reading.
Justine Vanhaevermaet had given the Royals the perfect start with two goals in the first 17 minutes, the first a penalty, as they looked to move up from second bottom in the table.
However Hanna Bennison got a goal back for Everton shortly before half-time, with Katja Snoeijs levelling matters from the spot when Jess Park was brought down by Diane Caldwell.
And Nicoline Sorensen curled home a brilliant winner seven minutes from time to earn all three points for the Toffees.
Everton’s performance was emulated by city rivals Liverpool, who overcame a 1-0 half-time deficit to beat Brighton, who themselves had beaten Everton 3-2 in midweek.
Elisabeth Terland had put the visitors in front with a fine finish over Rachel Laws from distance five minutes before the break.
However two goals from Ceri Holland ensured that Liverpool came away with all three points and moved them further clear of the battle at the bottom.
Holland was on hand to fire home Shanice van de Sanden’s cross from the right to level matters before she took advantage of a mistimed clearance from Emma Kullberg to wrap up the points for Liverpool.