WSL roundup: Chelsea thrash Bristol City 8-0 to take control of title race

WSL roundup: Chelsea thrash Bristol City 8-0 to take control of title race

Guro Reiten’s four-goal salvo helped Chelsea turn up the heat on Women’s Super League leaders Manchester City with a 8-0 thrashing of Bristol City on a dramatic day when the title race was blown open. A midweek loss for Chelsea at Liverpool put Manchester City in the driving seat, with Emma Hayes saying she thought her side’s challenge was over, but the pacesetters were stunned by Arsenal in a 2-1 home defeat on Sunday.

Victory for Gareth Taylor’s team over Arsenal would have meant they needed only a point from their final-day fixture at Aston Villa to claim the league championship. Yet Chelsea took full advantage of Manchester City’s slip by pummelling an already-relegated Bristol City in manager Hayes’s final fixture at Kingsmeadow to bring the prospect of goal difference settling the league winner back into play.

Chelsea’s emphatic win means they now trail City by three points with a game in hand at Tottenham to come. But, perhaps crucially, the defending champions’ goal difference is now one ahead of their title rivals going into the last fortnight of the season.

Reiten opened the scoring for Chelsea against Bristol City with a sixth-minute penalty before Sjoeke Nüsken forced home a second midway through the first half. Aggie Beever-Jones made it 3-0 in the 52nd minute with a slick finish before Reiten rifled home another.

It was 5-0 when Reiten smashed in at the near post for her hat-trick after 70 minutes. This sparked a spree of three goals in seven minutes as the Norway forward grabbed her fourth, not long after Niamh Charles had poked in at the back post.

Beever-Jones produced the cherry on top when she stooped low to nod in Reiten’s cross with two minutes left as Chelsea marked Hayes’s final home match in style.

Hayes was in buoyant mood afterwards, saying: “Let me be clear, it’s not fucking over. There is no time for sentimentality. All work drinks are cancelled. There’s a title to be won.

“That group of players, I’ve been here 12 years, no matter what, with a group of people driving standards. This group taught me something so special this week that you never, ever give up. This is Chelsea.”

skip past newsletter promotion

Liverpool claimed a decisive victory in the top-four battle after Jenna Clark’s first-half header downed Manchester United. Visitors United, who will play in the FA Cup final next Sunday, occupied fourth spot on goal difference before kick-off, but they suffered a 1-0 loss to drop below their rivals in the table.

Clark nodded in the only goal of the game at the back post from a fine Marie Höbinger cross, ensuring Liverpool marked their final appearance at Prenton Park with a win.

West Ham and Leicester played out a 1-1 draw in the battle at the bottom between two teams already safe from relegation, Sophie Howard cancelling out Riko Ueki’s opener for the hosts.