Once our biggest and stronger Women’s Super League rivals, Manchester City were uncharacteristically inconsistent this season in the competition. Elsewhere they were still strong, beating the Blues to the League Cup title earlier this season and reaching the FA Cup final to face Chelsea again today at Wembley.
The Citizens would quickly show how they were up for the challenge by finding the first shot of the match at Ann-Katrin Berger’s goal. This would be followed by attempts from Chloe Kelly and Caroline Weir, trying to keep up pressure on Chelsea and profit early on from any mistakes we could make.
City’s barrage of attempts dwindle, as their rougher side in trying to play the ball out of the back began to emerge. Sam Kerr would thrive in such chaos, scoring a great goal off one of our opponent’s messy plays that was correctly ruled offside.
Chelsea were getting closer and closer to a goal, and it eventually came from a Millie Bright cross seemingly going goalwards. On replay it became clear that not only Sam Kerr was the actual scorer by providing the final and definitive push to the ball, but also that without said push the goal would not actually happen. Chelsea were thus in the lead at Wembley.
We tried to find a second goal on the back of Kerr’s opener and we almost did it, as City were still a mess in trying to bring the ball forward from defence. But all the Citizens needed was one play to click, and it finally did when Khadija Shaw managed to keep the ball in possession and brought it to our defence. With Bright and Carter both failing to take the ball away from Lauren Hemp, the City star scored the tying goal just before the end of the first half.
Manchester City continued the onslaught until the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half as well. To our luck Berger was in tune, making good interventions to keep us afloat.
As City made clear they were the best side on the pitch in terms of chances created, Chelsea had to make the best with whatever they could find. And so they did thanks to Erin Cuthbert, with a belter of a top bins goal to get the Blues back in the lead.
Hopes were that would be the title-clinching goal. But City and Hailey Raso had different plans as our opponents found the tying score just before the final regular time whistle to bring the match to extra time.
City were still the far superior side, dominating corners, shots, chances and whatever have you. But one big slip from City was enough to bring Chelsea back in the lead, with Sam Kerr scoring thanks to a deflection to fool Ellie Roebuck between the posts.
It was then only a matter of protecting the scoreline. Chelsea had not done a good job at it during regular time but tiredness from opposition must have certainly helped. And we won’t complain!
Domestic double winners! Carefree!
- Jonna Andersson and Niamh Charles are dropped from the 4-2 winning lineup that got Chelsea their fifth Women’s Super League title, with Aniek Nouwen and Beth England replacing them today.
- Subs are Ji So-yun for Beth England, Niamh Charles for Aniek Nouwen, Jessie Fleming for Pernille Harder, Jonna Andersson for Guro Reiten, and Maren Mjelde for Ji So-yun.
- A worrying start to the first half which got increasingly better until Sam Kerr’s score, and a couple of minutes after it. From that point on it was all downhill.
- Second half could have gone much worse, had it not been for Cuthbert’s heroics. It was still not good enough as sorry defending made it quite easy for City to find yet another equaliser, and advance to extra time.
- Do not blink in front of Sam Kerr.
- Once again, thanks for everything, Ji!
- Next up: holidays! May Todd Boehly bring a full wallet to the next transfer window, as this team will need it if we are to fight for silverware beyond England next season.