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Chelsea 4 (Ji So-Yun 6, Kirby 55,62, Davison 86) Sunderland 0
Chelsea held their nerve to pick up the win they needed to confirm themselves as FA WSL 1 Champions for the first time at a packed Wheatsheaf Lane.
In front of a club record crowd of 2,710 which included men's club captain John Terry, Emma Hayes' side went into the game with memories of missing out on the title a year ago but this time they were able to stamp their authority from the start.
Chelsea made a fast start to the game with Gilly Flaherty heading a Drew Spence free kick straight at Hilde Gunn Olsen but with six minutes on the clock, Eniola Aluko sped away from Abby Holmes on the left and drove a low cross into the path of Ji So-Yun, who steered her shot into the net from close range.
Sunderland reacted with Rachel Furness driving a shot wide from just outside the area but the momentum was with Chelsea and a good passing move ended with Fran Kirby finding Ji who lifted her shot over the bar. Gemma Davison then fired narrowly over after cutting in from the right as the Blues sought a second goal.
Kirby had a great chance herself to make it two after the ball had rebounded kindly into her path, taking it through on goal and lifting her shot over Olsen but wide of the post. An overhit back pass by Victoria Williams just missed her own goal and Aluko drilled a shot just off target from the edge of the area but Chelsea had to settle for their one-goal lead going into the break.
Chelsea were inches away from extending their lead early in the second half when a corner was headed goalwards by Flaherty and Niamh Fahey flicked her shot against the post, Keira Ramshaw clearing before she able to tuck home the rebound.
Back came Sunderland with a glorious opportunity, Beth Mead stealing the ball and going through on goal but for once, the normally lethal striker's finishing let her down and she slid the ball past Hedvig Lindahl but also past the post.
Five minutes later, Chelsea made the most of the let off and took a firm grip on the game. Spence's pass released Davison on the right and she raced into the area before squaring the ball across goal for Kirby to slide in and prod into an unmarked net from six yards.
Kirby was not finished yet and she was to send the crowd into raptures when picking the ball up on the right and making her way across the edge of the area before unleashing a left foot shot which flashed past Olsen and into the far corner of the net for her second goal.
The pressure was now off Chelsea and they passed the ball around confidently. the rampant Davison creating another good chance but Aluko's header flew over the bar.
Lindahl made a good save to deny Mead, moments before the goalkeeper was replaced by substitute Marie Hourihan. It was a sentimental moment for Hourihan who broke her collarbone in the last match of the season a year ago against Manchester City.
However Hourihan nearly ended up picking the ball out of the net with her first touch, Stephanie Roche crossing from the left for Mead whose glancing header drifted inches wide of the far post. Although having to plough a lone furrow up front virtually all match, Mead had once again looked a threat against a high class defence.
Chelsea were to crown their day with four minutes remaining and it was fitting that the outstanding Davison - the first player to win the WSL with three different clubs - should round it all off. After carrying the ball to the edge of the area, Davison exchanged a one-two with Kirby before sliding her shot under the advancing Olsen.
Chelsea could celebrate the superb achievement of winning their first title as well as banishing memories of twelve months previously and answering those who had questioned their nerve ahead of the game.
Chelsea: Hedvig Lindahl (sub Marie Hourihan 81mins), Hannah Blundell, Claire Rafferty, Drew Spence (sub Millie Bright 60mins), Gilly Flaherty, Niamh Fahey, Gemma Davison, Katie Chapman, Eniola Aluko, Ji So-Yun (sub Laura Coombs 74mins), Fran Kirby. Subs not used: Ana Borges, Jodie Brett, Anne Meiwald, Rosella Ayane.
Sunderland: Hilde Gunn Olsen, Abby Holmes (sub Charlotte Potts 78mins), Vicky Greenwell, Rachel Furness, Steph Bannon, Victoria Williams, Keira Ramshaw (sub Shannon Etherington 87mins), Kelly McDougall, Beth Mead, Emma Kelly (sub Stephanie Roche 68mins), Abbey Joice. Subs not used: Alice Harkness, Megan Beer, Danielle Brown, Madelaine Hill.
(top) Niahm Fahey's effort comes back off the post
(middle) Fran Kirby scores Chelsea's second goal
(bottom) Chelsea are the Champions!
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