Chelsea survive clash to move clear at top of WSL

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Chelsea ensured they will spend the winter break three points clear at the Women’s Super League summit by holding off Reading at a snowy Kingsmeadow.

Fran Kirby’s early finish set the tone as the hosts dominated the first half, with Jelena Cankovic scoring twice.

Cankovic stroked in after Johanna Rytting Kaneryd struck a post and headed in a cross four minutes later.

But Reading then struck twice in two second-half minutes, through Sanne Troelsgaard and Amalie Eikeland.

Troelsgaard’s low shot squirmed under Ann-Katrin Berger following some uncertain defending before Eikeland fired in off a post as their side threatened to end Chelsea’s eight-match winning league run.

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes defended Berger but said her side had let their standards slip after surging into a commanding lead.

“I’m not going to target individuals,” said Hayes. “As a team, I felt we were complacent and Ann has been a top goalkeeper for a long time.

“While she will have wanted to do better, we did not do well enough as a team in the second half.”

The reigning champions had seen Arsenal draw level with them at the top of the table by beating Aston Villa earlier on Sunday.