Kerr’s the difference once again as she scores the only goal to down leaders Manchester United
By Paul Lagan at Kingsmeadow Stadium
Chelsea 1 v Man Utd 0
Sam Kerr is an extraordinary beast, she scored the only goal of the game that propelled Chelsea two points clear at the top of the WSL, dumping Manchester United into second place in the process.
Australian Kerr needed her third serious attempt on goal to hit the back of the next and it was a beauty.
Latching onto a wonderful Lauren James cross, she beat a tight offside, chested the ball down and clipped the ball over the advancing goalkeeper Mary Earps in one swift, yet immaculately executed passage of play.
It was the decisive move in the game, and perhaps in this season’s league campaign.
The early exchanges were cagey, with both sides attempting to test out who was up for the game.
United generally had the greater percentage of the ball while Chelsea appeared to be happy to sit back, hope for a quick turnover of play and attack at speed.
On nine minutes, Kerr had the first chance of the game. Her low drive from just inside the United penalty area was well saved by England’s No1 stopper Mary Earps.
Kerr was again free on 12 minutes from Melanie Leopolz through ball.
She out sprinted the United defender Maya Le Tissier but again Earps was equal to the task and hacked the ball away to safety.
It was certainly third time lucky for the Australian and on 23 minutes a magnificent long through ball from the right by James saw Kerr beat the offside trap again.
This time she beautifully chested the ball down before scooping the ball over the advancing Earps, and the ball nestled in the back of the net to put the west Londoners 1-0 up.
United’s best chance came after a period of pressure on 35 minutes - a snap shot by Alessio Russo was well held by Ann-Katrin Berger at her near post.
There were no changes by either side at half time.
United dominated the opening period as they did in the first half.
Chelsea head coach Emma Hayes decided to replace James for Johanna Rytting Kaneryd on 61 minutes.
Leupolz should have scored on 80 minutes, but she somehow managed to shank the ball over Earps’ crossbar.
United simply could not find a way through the defensive-minded home side.
They can count themselves unlucky a couple of penalties did not go their way, but also they seemed to lack the confidence that they could pierce the Chelsea defence in open play.
Rather than setting up a grandstand finish with United pushing forward, they ended the added four minutes with just a whimper.
Teams: Berger, Bright, Ingle, Carter, Leupolz, James, Perisset, Fleming, Kerr, Charles, Buchanan
Subs: Musovic, Eriksson, Mjelde, Kaneryd, Abdullina, Cankovic
Man Utd; Earps, Batile, Blundell, Toone, Zelem, Galton, Ladd, Le Tissier, Turner, Parris, Russo
Subs; Baggaley, Thorisdottir, Mannion, Risa, Thomas, Naalsund, Garcia, Williams, Cascarino
Referee : Cheryl Foster