• By Paul Lagan

Blues drop two points again and even miss a penalty in 0-0 draw at Birmingham


Karen Carney’s penalty is saved in Chelsea’s 0-0 draw in Solihull against Birmingham Women

Chelsea defence of their WSL 1 title took another hammer blow in Solihull this afternoon as they dropped two more points in a disappointing 0-0 draw away to Birmingham City Women.

Chelsea even had a second half Karen Carney penalty saved by the outstanding home side goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger. But it was their inability to break down a resolute defence that has seen the Londoners drift out off title contention.

last week’s 5-0 hammering by Arsenal two week ago was their only defeat of the season but four 0-0 draws have cost them dearly.

Fran Kirby’s had the first chance of the game in five minutes. Poor defending by the home side allowed Beth England to snatch the ball, and pass to Kirby.

Just outside the penalty area, she took a touch before shooting. Unfortunately the ball was blocked by Meaghan Sargeant and cleared.

Hayley Ladd was handed a yellow card on 11 minutes for hacking down Ex-Brum defender Jess Carter.

From the resultant free-kick England headed just wide of Ann-Katrin Berger’s right post.

Birmingham’s Marisa Ewers injured her right shoulder in the clash and Brum were down to 10 players while they waited to get on her replacement on - Harriet Scott.

In the meanwhile Bergers dived to her left to thwart an England’s low drive.

Scott eventually came on on 21 minutes.

A half-hearted effort by Chloe Arthur on 24 minutes was Brum’s first effort on Hedvig Lindhal’s goal.

Kirby had another chance on 28 minutes but her first-time toe-poke was again blocked by Sargeant.

A diving header by Kirby, on 34 minutes, was well saved by Berger after a smart corner from Cuthbert was whipped into the six-yard box.

There was no change of players from either side at half-time.

Millie Bright entered Amy Fearn’s book three minutes after the restart for a foul on Ladd.

A distinct lack of sharpness in the opposition penalty area where Kirby and Cuthbert were culpable allowed the ball to slide easily to Bergers on 57 minutes.

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes decided she had seen enough on 65 minutes, and on came Ramona Bachman and Karen Carney to add much-needed energy to the side.

Off came England and Cuthbert. Carney the penalty hero in midweek for the Blues against Fiorentina had the perfect chance to repeat that effort on 76 minutes. Kirby latched onto a poor back-pass. She passed to Ji who was scythed down by Ladd to give the champions a penalty. However Carney, saw her effort saved by Bergers, who anticipated where the midfielder was going to put the ball, to her left, and managed to parry the ball away from goal and away for a corner.

The home side were reduced to 10 women on 84 minutes when Ladd was given a second yellow card off for a needles foul on Spence. Berger then tipped over her crossbar a Ji header from a car to free kick with two minutes left on the clock.

Next up for Chelsea is a home league match against Liverpool next Sunday.

Teams:

Chelsea

Lindahl, Bright, Ingle, Carter, Ji, Kirby, England, Eriksson, Anderson, Cuthbert, Spence

Subs: Blundell, Carney, Riley, Engman, Cooper, Bachman, Telford

Brum: Berger, Arthur, Harrow, Mannion, Sargeant, Ladd, Emerson, Staniforth, Mayling, Follis, Wellings

Subs: Hampton, Scott, Hayley, Scofield, Williams, Quinn

Referee Amy Fearn

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