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Monday, March 20, 2023

WSL: Chelsea edge five-goal thriller at Tottenham, Manchester United held by Everton

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Lauren James scored a solo stunner as Chelsea moved two points clear of Man Utd at the top of the Women’s Super League after winning 3-2 at Tottenham Hotspur, while Marc Skinner’s side were held to a goalless draw at home by Everton.The visitors opened the scoring after just eight minutes at the Breyer Group Stadium as they worked a corner short, before Erin Cuthbert centered for Jess Carter to glance a header in at the far post. However, that lead lasted all of eight minutes, with the home side soon hitting back after the champions lost possession in the right-back area and within the blink of an eye, Drew Spence showed some neat footwork, before crossing for the unmarked Bethany England to tap in from virtually on the goal line against her former club.How the teams lined up | Match statsWomen’s Super League table | WSL fixturesMan City overpower bottom club LeicesterArsenal draw blank against resolute HammersChelsea retook the lead, though, on 27 minutes thanks to one of the goals of the season, or any season for that matter, from James, who picked up possession midway inside the Spurs half, before powering goalwards and then finding the bottom right-hand corner as the home players continued to back off. Image: Guro Reiten is congratulated after scoring Chelsea’s third goal with team-mate Sam Kerr Emma Hayes knew her team needed another goal to be sure of the points given how dangerous their hosts had been and Guro Reiten added a crucial third goal after 64 minutes – the Norway winger took advantage of some hesitancy by the Spurs defence on halfway, before racing away and coolly finding the back of the net. As it proved, that goal was key to their win after Nikola Karczewska’s 88th-minute strike made for an uncomfortable last few minutes for the champions, who held on to move clear of United at the top of the table, although Arsenal – who travel to West Ham United live on Sky Sports late on Sunday – do have two games in hand on the leading duo. Chelsea boss Emma Hayes: “It was a scrappy game. The pitch made it like that. First half we didn’t create enough depth to have the control we wanted, at least in the deeper spaces. We played ourselves into trouble.”It was sloppy from us defensively, they were both goals we could have prevented. They were as a result of us switching off. We can control those things, and we have to be mindful of that. But this is a tough league.”Anybody who thinks it’s going to be near-perfect performances, it’s not. It’s going to be a grind until the end.”It’s one of those games you know across the course of a season you have to grind out a result. The important thing is the three points. Was it perfect? No, but it’s about three points. We did enough for that to happen.”Our position’s still the same. We know the tough fixtures we’ve got coming up. We just need to stay focused on our journey and our process.”How United dropped points after frustrating draw Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player Highlights of the Women’s Super League match between Manchester United and Everton United, meanwhile, were frustrated in their goalless draw with fifth-placed Everton at the Leigh Sports Village earlier on Sunday.How the teams lined up | Match statsHow to follow the WSL on Sky Sports | Get Sky SportsThe visitors produced a determined defensive performance to frustrate Skinner’s team and almost won the game themselves on the break through Jess Park, only for the forward to spurn a wonderful second-half opening when faced with just England No 1 Mary Earps to beat. Live WSL As for United, they dominated the stats, having 25 shots on goal in the game, but only four of those tested Everton goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan and in the end, the home side had to settle for a hard-earned point.What the managers said…Man Utd boss Marc Skinner: “What I was really encouraged about was the way we created those chances, so as a group we will bounce back stronger, we will be very clear on what our identity is and we are going to keep creating chances to win games,” he told Sky Sports News.”No, not all (when asked if Alessia Russo had been affected by Arsenal’s attempts to sign the striker), I felt she linked play well, had a great opportunity in the first half which she will feel she should have slotted into the corner, but she pressed well, she gave good energy and when I have spoken to her this week, she is absolutely focussed on what we are trying to achieve here.”We have loads of games left, we would have loved to have won 11, it is now 10 left, but it did not happen and the reality is Everton will give other teams a good game because if they defend like that, they can keep anyone to a clean sheet. Image: Ella Toone starts an attack for Manchester United against Everton “We are just going to keep working, we are doing the things in our performances which are shown to be right.”Everton boss Brian Sorensen:”We started really well, we also started with a lot of attacking players in and tried to see if we could get an early goal and try to disrupt them a bit,” he told Sky Sports News.”We did not succeed in that and they took over, particularly at the end of the first half when we were under pressure, but we defended really well.”We talked about it in the break that we need to get over the first 15-20 minutes of the next big pressure that will come and then try to stabilise it and we did that well with our subs coming in, the defenders and the goalkeeper were excellent today.”So I am pleased, it is a good team and a hard place to come and take points and we did that and that shows we as a group have grown and I do not think in the first four or five games of the season we could have put on a performance like that.”But we are there now and that is good.”Liverpool too strong for Reading Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player Highlights of the Women’s Super League match between Liverpool and Reading Reading’s second-half collapse was capitalised on by Missy Bo Kearns and Ceri Holland as Liverpool ran out deserved 2-0 winners to move eight points clear of the relegation zone.Both sides were under pressure at the wrong end of the WSL table ahead of kick-off, putting even more emphasis on the outcome as the Reds took advantage of three frantic second-half minutes to gain a foothold.How the teams lined up | Match statsThe visitors had controlled the tempo up to the midway point, but Matt Beard’s side re-emerged unrecognisable after the interval as momentum shifted firmly in their favour.Katie Stengel, isolated in the first period, suddenly found herself spoilt for support and used the energetic run of Emma Koivisto to create an opening for Kearns. Twitter Due to your consent preferences, you’re not able to view this. Open Privacy Options The full-back crossed low towards the winger centrally, who grappled with Deanna Cooper, before squirming the ball beyond the clutches of Jacqueline Burns in the 63rd minute.Barely three minutes had elapsed before Liverpool’s advantage was doubled by Holland, who got the goal her individual performance merited, turning home Gemma Bonner’s routine flick-on at the far post.Neither entry was particularly pretty, although the hosts did play with much more clarity and coherence during an inspired second 45 minutes, which all but secured their WSL status for a further season. Liverpool rise to eighth, leapfrogging Spurs, while Reading are stuck precariously in 11th – four points ahead of bottom club Leicester.What’s next?Chelsea travel to West Ham in the semi-finals of the League Cup on Thursday (7.15pm), before hosting Aston Villa in the FA Cup on Sunday February 26 (2pm). Sunday 12th February 11:30am Kick off 12:00pm Tottenham, meanwhile, host Man Utd in the WSL next Sunday in a game you can see live on Sky Sports Football, kick-off 12pm. Leicester travel to Liverpool on the same afternoon, kick-off 2pm, while Reading have a free weekend.As mentioned, United next travel to Spurs and Everton entertain Aston Villa in the league on Sunday March 5 (1pm).

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