• By Paul Lagan at Leigh Sports Village

Kerr scores but champions Chelsea drop two points in 1-1 draw away to Manchester United


Manchester United 1 v Chelsea 1

Sam Kerr scored champions Chelsea first league goal of the season but it wasn't enough for all three points as the Blues were pegged back to share the spoils 1-1 away to Manchester United this afternoon.

The west London side had enough chances to have won, but United goalkeeper Mary Earps was in inspired form.

That said, there is still a way to go before Emma Hayes side can feel comfortable at the back.

This was an impressive display by the home side and not many teams will venture to Leigh Sports Village and come away with a pint.

What to do about Beth England will be the question as leaving the England striker on the bench again will only be accepted if the Blues win.

Pernille Harder had a late run-out and her sharpness was in evidence as she set up Fran Kirby on 94 minutes, but the winger fluffed her chance.

Despite the away side having all the opening possession, United had the first chance on five minutes, when after Millie Bright lost the ball, Jane Ross tried an edge of the penalty area shot, that inched wide of Carney Telford’s right post.

Telford was in for number one stopper Ann-Katrina Berger who injured her head in a training clash and had to follow concussion protocols which prohibited her from playing

Then champions first effort of note, came from Sam Kerr, who latched onto a long ball by Bright, pierced the United rearguard, but her right-footed effort on 19 minutes was deflected for a corner. From the resultant kick, Guro Reiten had a low, drive well saved from Mary Earps.

The Blues finally got the breakthrough their patience deserved and it was a brilliant piece of team work which saw Reiten and Kirby involved before Kirby cut the ball across the six-yard box, where Australian Sam Kerr was on hand to nip in front of Abbie Turner and tuck a smart right -footer home to open her season’s account on 25 minutes.

Kerr tucked home two minutes later but was adjudged to be offside when she latched onto a poor back pass by Kirsty Smith.

But the Australian should have doubled the score on 30 minutes when she dispossessed Katie Zelem, raced clear but screwed her low shot wide of Earps’s right post.

Earps produced a fine save five minutes from time to thwart a Kerr piledriver.

With the last touch of the half, Telford had to stretch to push out a looping header from Ross.

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

Kerr was unlucky not to add ti her singe goal, two minutes after the restart, when she latched onto a smart Maren Mjelde cross but could only steer the ball over Earp’s crossbar from six-yards out.

But United recovered quickly and pressured Chelsea back with quick, inventive passes and aggressive closing down. Telford was needed on 54 minute, to tip over the crossbar Ella Toone’s thumper of a shot.

Chelsea boss Emma Hayes opted t make a change and on came Erin Cuthbert with Ji making way on 58 minutes.

Kerr’s day ended on 67 minutes, Beth England replacing her.

Cuthbert was desperate unlucky not to score when she was fed by Kirby on 76 minutes, but once again Earps was quick to smother the Scotland international’s left footer.

Earps thwarted Cuthbert two minutes later when the attacking midfielder’s volley went straight into the goalkeeper’s midriff.

But United equalised when Leah Galton had the easiest of chances to tuck home to equalise on 79 minutes, in similar fashion to Kerr’s goal.

Knowing a draw wont be good enough, Hayes immediately replaced Jonna Andersson and Reiten bringing on Jess carter and for her debut Pernille Harder.

Either side could have nicked a goal in the closing stages, especially Kirby but a draw was probably the right result.

Teams: Chelsea: Telford, Bright, Ingle, Leupolz, Ji, Reiten, Kirby, Eriksson, Mjelde, Kerr, Andersson.

Subs, Orman, Blundell, Carter, England, Fleming, Charles, Cuthbert, Harder, Spence

Man Utd: Earps, Smith, McManus, M Turner, Batlle, Ladd, Zelem, Hanson, Toone, Galton,Ross

Subs: Ramsey, A Turner, Okvist, Groenen, James

Referee Rebecca Welch

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