It’s the joy of six for Chelsea as Kerr’s hat-trick sets up 6-0 thrashing of Birmingham City
By Paul Lagan at Kingsmeadow Stadium
Chelsea 6 v Birmingham City 0
Sam Kerr smashed home a hat-trick in the opening 45 minutes that destroyed the spirt and endeavour of Birmingham City with the WSL champions ending up 6-0 winners at Kingsmeadow Stadium this afternoon.
Chelsea stay two points clear of chasing Manchester City.
Further goals - a brace by Fran Kirby and a smart finish from substitute Guro Reiten emphasised the difference in class between the two sides.
Neither side dominated the early exchanges, but the visitors certainly expended the greater energy holding their line against their superior opponents.
Jonna Andersson had the first effort on goal, on 12 minutes, but her 20-yarder arrowed high over Hannah Hampton’s crossbar.
This was quickly followed by a similar effort by Erin Cuthbert - with a similar result.
Pernille Harder made it a trio of failed efforts on 19 minutes - again the ball ending up deep in the stand behind the goal.
The deserved breakthrough came on 25 minutes and after excellent ply by Cuthbert who forced Hampton to parry the shot wide to her left, up popped Sam Kerr to latch onto the loose ball and steer her right-footer from a tight angle into the back of the net.
Melanie Leupolz forced Hampton into a similar save. This time she managed to snaffle the ball at the second attempt.
The only goal threat available to Brum was a long ball to get behind Millie Bright, and on 38 minutes, they succeeded. However striker Claudia Walker’s attempted curler around Ann-Karin Berger saw her miss the goal by inches.
The second goal came just before half-time when a Fran Kirby cross was met by harder’s header which saw the ball hit the crossbar. Kerr was again on hand to knock the ball hime.
Seconds later and the Australian nabbed her hat-trick when she headed home from a free-kick.
Emma Hayes decided to make a triple substitution at half-time - off came Anderson, Cuthbert and Harder - on came Hannah Blundell, Guro Reiten and Beth England.
They were soon followed by Jessie Fleming - on for Leupolz on 57 minutes.
Fran Kirby got in of the gol-scoring act on 62 minutes - her near low, right-footer came at the end of fine interplay between Niamh Charles me Fleming.
Kerr’s day ended with her coming off for Jess Carter.
But the Gil fear kept coming and another wonderful one-touch ply as, Brum’s defence torn apart and Reiten was on hand to slot home number five from close range on 72 minutes.
Reiten then rattled the crossbar from distance as the Blues went for the joy of six.
That came deep into added time when Kirby got her second with a smart finish.
Chelsea, Berger, Bright, Leupolz, Kirby, Eriksson, Kerr, Charles, Cuthbert, Harder, Spence, Andersson
Subs: Musovic, Telford, Blundell, Ingle, Carter, England, Reiten, Fleming
Birmingham City, Hampton, Mayling, Brougham, Lawley, Mace, Scott, Green, Murray, Littlejohn, Walker, Kelly
Subs: Whitehouse, Murphy, Whipp, Logan, Holloway, Sarri, Napier
Referee: Elizabeth Simms