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Women's Football News
Birmingham City 2 (Weston 5, Potter 78) Chelsea 1 (Blundell 49)
Jo Potter scored a rare headed goal as Birmingham City inflicted a first defeat of the season on Chelsea in a feisty but well contested match at Solihull.
The Blues had been in control for most of the first half but Chelsea came back strongly after the break until Potter's fine late winner gave Birmingham their first league win and ensured they remained unbeaten.
Birmingham made their customary fast start to a game with Jade Moore heading just wide from a Karen Carney corner in the opening minute and they were rewarded with five minutes on the clock, albeit in fortuitous circumstances.
Chelsea Weston swung in a cross from near the touchline which deceived Chelsea goalkeeper Cristiane Endler and dropped over her head and in at the far post.
Chelsea responded with Eniola Aluko breaking down the right and drilling in a shot which almost squirted under Rebecca Spencer but the Blues keeper was able to gather before the ball could cross the line. Birmingham hit back with Moore nodding into the path of Remi Allen who shot wide with out Endler to beat.
The Chelsea line up included three former Birmingham players and they were looking likeliest to make a breakthrough for their side. Laura Bassett drove a shot wide following good work by Jackie Groenen and a far post cross from Aluko was met by a diving header from Rachel Williams but the angle was too acute and she hit the side netting.
Katie Chapman went even closer with a 20-yard chip which struck the top of the bar but on the stroke of half time, Birmingham almost doubled their lead. Melissa Lawley made a strong run down the left and slid the ball into the path of Kirsty Linnett whose shot looked destined for the back of the net but Chelsea were grateful to Claire Rafferty, who got a foot to the ball at full stretch to make a superb goal line clearance.
At the start of the second half, Chelsea manager brought on Danielle Buet and made a tactical switch, employing a wing back formation, and it paid dividends within five minutes of the restart with an excellent equaliser.
Chelsea won a corner on the right and Buet's kick was met at the near post by Hannah Blundell with a cushioned volley which found the top corner of the net.
The switch had clearly benefitted Chelsea and another set piece almost led to them going in front. Buet was again the instigator, this time clipping a free kick into the area where it was met at the far post by a powerful header from Williams but she was denied by a good reflex save from Spencer.
Five minutes later though, Birmingham had a golden opportunity to regain their lead. A corner resulted in a scramble and Lawley was brought down by Williams for a penalty. Carney stepped up to take and although her kick was well struck, Endler dived to her right to pull off a great save.
The two goalscorers, Weston and Blundell, both had efforts from outside the area which were saved. The two defences began to get on top and chances at either end became scarcer until twelve minutes from time, when Birmingham got back in front.
Linnett found space on the left and drove in a pinpoint cross to the far post where Potter climbed above Bassett and planted a firm header back across goal and into the far corner.
Chelsea threw players forward in the dying minutes in an attempt to salvage a point and Birmingham needed to survive two late scares. First, Aluko's pass across the area picked out Williams whose initial shot was charged down by Weston, the ball rebounded to the striker but this time she was thwarted by a fine save from Spencer. Then, as the game went into injury time, a Buet free kick picked out an unmarked Chapman but she headed over and Chelsea's last chance was gone.
Birmingham City: Rebecca Spencer, Chelsea Weston, Jess Carter, Jade Moore, Aoife Mannion, Kerys Harrop, Melissa Lawley, Remi Allen, Kirsty Linnett (sub Hannah Keryakoplis 87mins), Karen Carney, Jo Potter. Subs not used: Sophie Baggaley, Cristina Torkildsen, Katie Wilkinson, Emily Simpkins, Emily Westwood, Meaghan Sargeant.
Chelsea: Cristiane Endler, Hannah Blundell, Claire Rafferty, Laura Bassett, Gilly Flaherty, Emma Wilhelmsson, Laura Coombs (sub Drew Spence 80mins), Rachel Williams, Eniola Aluko, Katie Chapman, Jackie Groenen (sub Danielle Buet 45mins). Subs not used: Marie Hourihan, Jodie Brett, Atlanta Primus.
(top) Jackie Groenen gets in a tackle on Karen Carney
(middle) Melissa Lawley finds herself up against Laura Coombs and Gilly Flaherty
(bottom) Jo Potter heads in the winning goal for Birmingham
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