In the end it proved one of those frustrating afternoons… but it so nearly gave Chelsea FC Women a serious edge over their arch-rivals.
The fact that it finished 2-2 as Manchester City clawed their way back into a match that should have been beyond them was maddening for coach Emma Hayes.
“They had two attempts on target, and we had 100,” she said after Saturday lunchtime’s pulsating match at City’s Academy Stadium. “Anyone looking at this will wonder how Chelsea haven’t won the game. It should have been five or six goals to two.”
Millie Bright, on the brink of flying out to the States to join the England squad, fired a gem of a shot into the roof of the City net – with her weaker left foot – to put down an important marker for the Blues in the first half, with Ji-So Yun making it 2-0 to Chelsea before the break.
But City pulled one back in the second half before Gloria Stanway’s rocket equaliser flew past the despairing dive of Hedvig Lindahl – a goal of dazzling quality.
Had Chelsea managed to cling on for the win, it would have increased the gap at the top of the table to four points, following City’s surprise defeat to Birmingham in midweek.
But the Blues remain a point ahead of Manchester City with seven league games remaining, and can still lift the trophy on the final day.
All in all, it was another great team performance by Chelsea FC Women, with no weak links and a positive, can-do attitude throughout.
Next up for Chelsea, after the international break, is the FA Cup quarter-final against Liverpool up on Merseyside on the weekend of March 17/18.
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