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  • Writer's pictureBy Paul Lagan

Blues blow chance to close gap on Arsenal in drab, 1-1 draw against bottom of the table Liverpool

Chelsea blew the chance of putting serious pressure in Arsenal and Manchester City at the top of the WSL1.

The 1-1 draw at Preston Park this afternoon against bottom of the table Liverpool could very well be a fatal wound in their attempt to usurp their north London rivals and current champions.

Bethany England scored the equaliser for the Blue in the first half after yet another sluggish start by the west Londoners saw them concede a soft opener.

The reality is Chelsea had served all gilt-edged chances to score but a combination of poor finishing, last-gasp hacks off they goal in and the woodwork denied them the expected win.

Chelsea remain undefeated in the league but the dropped points in the North-East and an earlier 0-0 draw at Brighton means that there is no no margin for error and only wins from now on will guarantee the title. Chelsea still have to visit Arsenal and Manchester City.

Chelsea went behind to a shock goal on four minutes when a Kirsty Linnett’s thunderbolt free-kick from 30 yards out wasn’t cleared properly by Chelsea and Niamh Charles stuck her foot out and saw the ball crawl into the left hand corner of Ann-Katrin Berger’s goal.

Drew Spence almost equalised on 10 minutes after goos set-up play by Jonna Andersson on the left week teed up the header, but Spence could over nod it over Frances Kitching’s crossbar.

Beth England had a glorious chance to level the score on 15 minutes when, following a bother period of slick passing, the striker found herself free to shoot but incredibly Sophie Bradly-Auckland hack it off the touch line. But England wasn't unduly worried and seconds later she powered home a bullet headed equaliser from close range, giving Kitching no chance.

England then missed a sitter after Ramona Bachmann and Maren Mjelde combined on the right to flash a pinpoint cross onto the head of England but she sliced the ball inches wide of kitching’s goal.

There were no changes by either side at half-time.

After a sloppy start, the Blues started to get their passion g going and on 49 minutes, a wonderful clipped ball by Guro Reiten found in-running Sophie Ingle. The Wales skipper, saw her header bouncy off the post and cleared to safety.

Emma Hayes made two substitutions in quick succession. Ji and Hannah Blundell on for Bachmann and Reiten.

The last throw of the tactical dance by Hayes was brining in Jess Carter for Spence. Carter went into the back four with centre-back Bright pushed up front to support England..

Team: Chelsea, Berger, Bright, Ingle, England, Reiten, Eriksson, Mjelde, Cuthbert era, Bachmann, Spence, Andersson

SubS: Blundell, Carter, Ji, Cooper, Telford

Liverpool: Kitching, Robe, Fahey, Bradley-Auckland, Linnett, Babajide, bailey, Lawley, Charles, Roberts, Jane

Subs: Sweetman-Kirk, Kearns, Murray, Hodgson, Rodgers

Referee: L Saunders

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