A shattering experience

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Super Fran Kirby, fresh from helping England conquer the world in the SheBelieves Cup, scored a hat-trick at Liverpool as Chelsea Women continued their effort to retain the Women’s Super League title.

Kirby opened the scoring in the 16th minute on Wednesday night at Prenton Park with a slick finish after a neat one-two with Ramona Bachmann – playing in an advanced role – before adding a second from the spot after her shot was handballed by a Liverpool defender.

She linked up with Bachmann again to complete her hat-trick before sub Adelina Engman headed in a fourth for the Blues in the second minute of stoppage time.

The Chelsea Women’s team had a narrow escape hours before kick-off, while loosening up with a stroll in Dale Street, Liverpool – close to the site of the famous Cavern Club.

A window in an empty building, dislodged by the force of gusts from Storm Gareth, came crashing down on the pavement yards away from them.

“The players were out for their matchday walk ahead of the game,” a Chelsea spokeswoman said. “No one was injured.”

In news nearly as good as the victory itself, versatile midfielder/defender Maren Mjelde completed 66 minutes on the pitch as she returns from injury, with Emma Hayes’ side now sitting six points behind leaders Manchester City, with three games to play… although Arsenal can still nick the title with matches in hand.

Kirby’s penalty was her third spot kick of the season, as she took her tally to 16… and she could even have bagged a fourth of her own as Chelsea romped to the win without any serious threat of conceding at the other end, where Ann-Katrin Berger was minding goal on Tranmere Rovers’ ground.

The wind which had led to the city-centre scare earlier in the day affected play on the pitch as well.

Millie Bright, whose rehabilitation after injury is being carefully managed, was on the bench, alongside Beth England.

Chelsea’s final home league match of the season at Kingsmeadow sees ticket prices halved to £3 adults, £1.50 juniors.