Football: Kirby sends Chelsea top of WSL, Man City rout Villa


Posted at Jan 18 2021 10:59 AM

Chelsea's Coach Emma Hayes (L) talks to the players during the English FA Women's Community Shield football match between Chelsea and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium in north London on August 29, 2020. File photo. Andrew Couldridge, AFP

LONDON - Chelsea's Fran Kirby secured a 2-1 win over Manchester United as they displaced their opponents at the top of the FA Women's Super League and Manchester City got their title challenge back on track with a 7-0 thumping of Aston Villa on Sunday.

United came into the game as surprise league leaders but went behind when Chelsea's Pernille Harder reacted quickest in a goalmouth scramble to score from close range on the half-hour.

United levelled in the 61st minute when Lauren James drifted past three defenders before rifling home but champions Chelsea were undeterred and Kirby got the winner four minutes later after latching onto a long ball from keeper Ann-Katrin Berger.

Manchester City scored six first-half goals en route to their thrashing of visiting Villa and hosts Everton hammered bottom side Bristol City 4-0 while Arsenal lost ground in the title race as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Reading.

Birmingham City and Brighton & Hove Albion shared the spoils in a 0-0 draw while Tottenham Hotspur secured their first away victory of the season with a 1-0 win at West Ham United.

Chelsea top the standings on 26 points from 10 games ahead of Manchester United, who have played a game more and trail on goal difference. 

Arsenal are third on 23 points from 11 matches with Manchester City two points further back in fourth after 10. 

(Reporting by Philip O'Connor; Editing by Ken Ferris)