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Chelsea 3 (Ji 33, Flaherty 52, Aluko 67) Birmingham City 1 (Mannion 65)
Chelsea went top of the FA Women's Super League thanks to a confident and largely comfortable victory over previous leaders Birmingham City.
Ji So Yun gave the Blues the lead in the first half before Gilly Flaherty increased the lead early on in the second half. Birmingham, who have two games in hand over Chelsea, briefly got themselves back into the game, but Eniola Aluko restored Chelsea's advantage a few minutes later.
A cagey first 20 minutes saw little of note created by either side, with a series of strong challenges by both teams setting the tone for most of the game. It was Chelsea who started to take advantage once the game opened up, with Yuki Ogimi's half volley ricocheting off the bar before an Aluko effort clattered against the post.
The deadlock was finally broken on the half hour when an Ana Borges cross found an unmarked Ji So Yun in the area who was able to head home.
Birmingham had several chances, but found Marie Hourihan on top form as she strongly forced away numerous close range efforts.
Chelsea dominated the early stages of the second half and nearly doubled their lead early on when Aluko picked out Ji in the box, but the South Korean fired her shot into the side netting.
The breakthrough came after 51 minutes when Birmingham needlessly conceded a corner which was headed in by Flaherty.
Birmingham narrowed the deficit on 65 minutes when Aoife Mannion forced her shot past Hourihan following a corner but the two-goal cushion was soon restored when Aluko glanced home a header from close range following a Ji wide free kick on the left past Rebecca Spencer in the Birmingham goal on 67 minutes.
Chelsea: Marie Hourihan, Ana Borges (sub Claire Rafferty 68mins), Hannah Blundell, Katie Chapman, Gilly Flaherty, Laura Bassett, Yuki Ogimi, Laura Coombs (sub Danielle Buet 84mins), Eniola Aluko (sub Atlanta Primus 89mins), Ji So-Yun,
Birmingham City: Rebecca Spencer, Chelsea Weston (sub Cristina Torkildsen 90mins), Jess Carter, Emily Simpkins (sub Emily Westwood 52mins), Aoife Mannion, Kerys Harrop, Melissa Lawley, Remi Allen, Kirsty Linnett (sub Hannah Keryakoplis 84mins), Karen Carney, Jo Potter.
(Report by www.fawsl.com)
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