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Women's Football News
Birmingham City 3 (Williams 21,89, Potter 80)
Chelsea 2 (Lander 55, Morwood 62)
Birmingham City ensured that the FA WSL title race will go to the last day after two goals in the last ten minutes gave them a dramatic win over Chelsea.
It looked as though the Blues' challenge was going to take a fatal blow as they trailed to an inspired second half display by the visitors but goal machine Rachel Williams help dragged the match round and kept her side on top of the table.
The first half started slowly as both teams went seeking to regain some lost form and almost inevitably it was Williams who had the game's first chance as she poked her shot wide at full stretch after Issy Christiansen had headed down Karen Carney's cross.
Williams then turned provider as she slid a pass into the path of Carney whose shot was tipped over by Carly Telford. However the corner, taken by Jo Potter, was bundled in by Williams at close range for the opening goal.
To make matters worse for Chelsea, Telford left the pitch with a dislocated shoulder to add to their growing injury list and she was replaced by Sarah Quantrill.
Chelsea did reply with their best effort so far, Danni Buet making a good interception and carrying the ball forward before finding Helen Lander, who set up Laura Coombs to fire narrowly over the bar.
Birmingham were having the better of things at this stage and the set pieces from Potter were causing a constant threat. Two free kicks almost led to a second goal as Emily Westwood twice headed over. Chelsea continued to grow in confidence and a good flowing move from their own goal line ended with Ashlee Hincks cutting in from the right and shooting just wide.
After the break, Chelsea carried the game to the home side and were rewarded ten minutes into the second half with a fabulous equaliser. Hincks made a strong run into the Birmingham half and found Lander, who curled a superb 20-yard shot over Marie Hourihan and into the far top corner of the net.
Chelsea's tails were up and they twice went close to scoring from Buet corners. Firstly, Hincks produced a downward header which was well saved by Hourihan and then Gemma Bonner rose high for a header that Chelsea Weston cleared off the line.
The increasing pressure told though and a fine diagonal pass from Coombs was latched onto by Hayley Moorwood who beat the oncoming Hourihan to place the ball into the back of the net to put her side ahead for the first time.
Chelsea were playing some attractive football with Coombs having a magnificent game in midfield but a stunned Birmingham side still carved out chances. Quantrill mistimed a punch from a Potter free kick and Kerys Harrop stabbed the loose ball wide, then Dunia Susi headed a Carney cross past the post after Quantrill had saved Williams' initial shot.
Birmingham became more and more frustrated and Chelsea almost capitalised with a third goal as Moorwood slid the ball through to Lander whose left foot shot was just off target.
Back came Birmingham and Carney went close as she cut in from the left and got past Naomi Cole's challenge before her shot struck the bar. However a minute later, the Blues were back on terms as Carney again broke down the left, this time squaring the ball for Potter to strike a firm right foot which Quantrill got a hand to but couldn't keep out.
The game remained open as both sides sought a winner and Chelsea were soon on the attack, the tireless Coombs making a strong run down the left before cutting the ball back for Buet whose well struck shot flew straight at Hourihan. Birmingham immediately countered and Carney headed a deep cross from Weston into the side netting.
Two minutes later, an alert Potter won the ball from Coombs and fed Carney on the left. The England winger clipped a pinpoint cross into the area for Williams to plant a header past Quantrill for her 14th goal of the season.
Birmingham's hard earned win means that Arsenal must beat Everton on Thursday in order to take the advantage into the last day of the season. Spare a thought for Chelsea though who contributed much to the game and saw their desperate list of injuries increase once more.
Birmingham City: Marie Hourihan, Chelsea Weston, Kerys Harrop, Sally Stanton, Laura Bassett, Jade Moore, Isobel Christiansen (sub Dunia Susi 67mins), Rachel Williams, Emily Westwood, Karen Carney, Jo Potter. Subs not used: Jess Wright, Stef Curtis, Heather Scheuber, Laura Watts.
Chelsea: Carly Telford (sub Sarah Quantrill 22mins), Danni Buet, Sophie Perry, Laura Coombs, Kylie Davies, Gemma Bonner, Ashlee Hincks, Leanne Champ (sub Naomi Cole 72mins), Emma Plewa (sub Kate Longhurst 45mins), Helen Lander, Hayley Moorwood. Subs not used: Lara Fay, Shelby Hills.
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