Chelsea survive clash to move clear at top of WSL


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.