Chelsea inch closer to title with Birmingham win

Pernille Harder takes penalty against Birmingham
Pernille Harder’s penalty rescued three points for her side

Chelsea kept the Women’s Super League title race in their own hands with a nervy win at Birmingham.

Pernille Harder’s 71st-minute penalty ensured victory for Emma Hayes’ side at St Andrew’s.

Without a shot on target in the first half, Chelsea improved somewhat in the second but struggled to make their chances count.

The Blues – who have one game left – have a four-point cushion over Arsenal, who have a match in hand.

Birmingham, meanwhile, are five points adrift and left needing to win both of their remaining games, against Manchester City and Aston Villa, to have a chance of avoiding the drop.

They have already played a part in this title race with their 2-0 win against Arsenal in January and looked as if they could cause another upset for three-quarters of this match.

They defended diligently and pressed throughout, only allowing the WSL title holders a handful of chances.

The visitors came close in the opening minutes when Sam Kerr hit the bar and Harder fired wide, but after that they looked lacking in the final third.

At the other end, Chelsea goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger sometimes seemed unconvincing at set-pieces but her side managed to keep Birmingham at bay.

Hayes’ side have struggled somewhat in recent fixtures and only edged past Spurs when the two met on Thursday.

But they managed to get that game over the line and did so again on Sunday, as Harder scored from the spot after Lisa Robertson handled the ball.

Birmingham came close in the dying minutes of the game, but a fingertip stop from Berger kept out Emily Whelan’s shot from the edge of the box and secured the win.

The WSL title is now in their own hands going into their final fixture next Sunday, at home to Manchester United – and they will be champions before then if Arsenal lost at home to Tottenham on Wednesday.

Women's Super League table


B’ham City Women

Formation 5-3-2

  • 21Ramsey
  • 32CowieBooked at 35minsSubstituted forWhippat 67′minutes
  • 3ScottBooked at 90mins
  • 4Quinn
  • 30Lawley
  • 8RobertsonBooked at 43minsSubstituted forWhelanat 86′minutes
  • 11PennockSubstituted forSmithat 67′minutes
  • 14Finn
  • 10Murray
  • 17Quinn
  • 7Sarri


  • 1Hourihan
  • 9Ewens
  • 12Smith
  • 19Whipp
  • 22Ryan-Doyle
  • 23Whelan
  • 27Jenner
  • 36Worsey
  • 38Wildgoose

Chelsea Women

Formation 3-5-2

  • 30BergerBooked at 90mins
  • 4Bright
  • 7CarterSubstituted forAnderssonat 64′minutes
  • 16Eriksson
  • 21Charles
  • 5IngleSubstituted forJamesat 64′minutes
  • 23HarderSubstituted forSpenceat 82′minutes
  • 17Fleming
  • 11Reiten
  • 20KerrSubstituted forMjeldeat 86′minutes
  • 9EnglandSubstituted forCuthbertat 45′minutes


  • 1Musovic
  • 3Nouwen
  • 18Mjelde
  • 19James
  • 22Cuthbert
  • 24Spence
  • 25Andersson
  • 27Abdullina

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