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Birmingham triumph in six-goal thriller
 Women's Football News 1 Jun 2012
 
Birmingham triumph in six-goal thriller - 1 Jun 2012 - Women's Football NewsBirmingham City 4 (Taylor 5, Carney 10, Unitt 53, Potter 81)
Chelsea 2 (Bonner 24, Lander 51)

Birmingham City closed the gap on FA WSL leaders Arsenal to two points after defeating Chelsea 4-2 in another cracking match between the two sides. 
 
After the teams had met in the F.A.Women's Cup Final just five days earlier, the opening ten minutes proved to be decisive as Birmingham took the points despite a gallant fightback which drew Chelsea level at one stage.
 
The match started at a furious pace and saw Birmingham take a fifth minute lead. A long ball from Chelsea Weston saw Carly Telford come out of her goal to clear but Jodie Taylor beat her to the ball and although Gemma Bonner blocked her initial shot, the striker kept her composure to roll the ball into the empty net.
 
Before Chelsea could recover, they found themselves two behind. This time Taylor turned provider as she carried the ball to the edge of the area to find Karen Carney, who curled a sublime left foot shot into the far corner of the net.
 
Birmingham were threatening to run riot at this stage but Chelsea began to settle down and a period of possession, orchestrated by Danielle Buet, started to give them more of a foothold in the game.
 
A corner almost led to them pulling a goal back, firstly as Ashlee Hincks' fierce shot brought out a good instinctive save from Rebecca Spencer and Bonner's shot from the rebound was blocked on the line.
 
However from the resulting corner from Claire Rafferty, this time Spencer was given no chance as the impressive Bonner beat her with a towering header.
 
Chelsea continued to dominate possession and attack, putting the home side under severe pressure. Buet had a shot deflected narrowly wide and Spencer pulled off another fine save from a well struck effort by Hincks. A deep cross from Hincks saw Helen Lander get to the ball before Spencer but her header bounced inches wide.
 
Birmingham responded and almost extended their lead before the break as Carney broke clear on goal but Telford came out to make a superb save to deny the England star her second goal.
 
Chelsea picked up the pace from the restart and were rewarded with an equaliser following good work by Dunia Susi, who held off Rachel Unitt and fed Kate Longhurst out wide where her cross was touched past Spencer by Lander for a typical opportunist goal by the Welsh international, her sixth of the season.
 
However just over a minute later, Chelsea's hard work was undone as Birmingham came up with an instant reply. Telford was unable to get to an inswinging Potter corner and Unitt was on hand to bundle the ball over the line.
 
Play went from end to end with opportunities for both teams, Rachel Williams - playing in a midfield role - powered a shot over the bar from long range whilst at the other end, Susi made a strong run into the area before her effort went just wide of the far post.
 
Hincks was unlucky with a curling shot which drifted inches over the bar but Birmingham were growing strong again and Telford needed to save from strikes by Potter and Taylor.
 
The result was put beyond doubt with nine minutes remaining following a foul on Williams on the edge of the area. Potter stepped up to drill a low shot past Telford and into the corner of the net to put her side two goals ahead again.
 
It could have been five moments later as Carney went through on goal but substitute Sophie Gwilliam, who had just come on, did very well to get across and avert the danger.
 
The margin of defeat was harsh on Chelsea who once again had contributed greatly to a very entertaining match and whose central defenders Bonner and Ingle once again showed up well. But Birmingham are starting to gather momentum on the back of their Cup success and will go top of the table on Sunday if they can beat Bristol Academy. 
 
Birmingham City: Rebecca Spencer, Chelsea Weston, Rachel Unitt (sub Kerys Harrop 56mins), Jade Moore, Emily Westwood, Laura Bassett, Eniola Aluko (sub Issy Christiansen 72mins), Rachel Williams, Jodie Taylor (sub Marie Ballard 84mins), Karen Carney, Jo Potter. Subs not used: Marie Hourihan, Cristina Torkildsen.

Chelsea: Carly Telford, Lara Fay (sub Sophie Gwilliam 81mins), Claire Rafferty, Drew Spence, Gemma Bonner, Sophie Ingle, Ashlee Hincks (sub Suzanne Lappin 65mins), Danielle Buet, Kate Longhurst, Helen Lander, Dunia Susi. Subs not used: Sarah Quantrill, Sophie Perry, Laura Coombs, Victoria Williams.


 
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