WSL1 Week 5 Round-Up: City claim big scalp, Birmingham up to third and much more

There was no lack of action in the final week of games before the international break.

WSL1 Week 5 Round-Up: City claim big scalp, Birmingham up to third and much more
Stokes opens the scoring in Staines. | Photo: Manchester City WFC

Another week of WSL 1 fixtures provided us with plenty of action to keep us satisfied heading into the international break.

After a hectic run of games across seven days, the title and relegation races are promising plenty of drama for the second half of the campaign as we round up the week's results.

Reds run riot – Sunderland 0-4 Liverpool

In the first action of week five, Sunderland welcomed Liverpool to their Hetton home in search of their first win of the season.

New Zealand international Rosie White opened the scoring just inside of 10 minutes when she rocketed a shot into the top corner, Rachael Laws powerless to stop the bullet, and Alex Greenwood added a second from the spot after Natasha Harding was clipped just inside of the box by Steph Bannon.

Bannon really made it a night to forget when, after the break, she diverted a Harding cross into her own goal before Katie Zelem compounded the Lady Black Cats’ misery in second-half stoppage time with a goal from close-range.

However, Sunderland had their chances. Beth Mead and Brooke Chaplen both had shots cleared off of the line in the first half and Lucy Staniforth had two very smart free kicks saved by Siobhan Chamberlain. The scoreline flatters, the Reds making the best of the chances, with Sunderland still looking for that touch of magic.

Credit: Nigel Roddis/Getty
Liverpool celebrate four goals and three points. (Photo: Nigel Roddis/Getty)

City on top on the night – Chelsea 0-2 Man City

In what could be one of the deciding games of a title winning campaign, Chelsea entertained Manchester City at Wheatsheaf Park.

Both teams had and squandered chances throughout the first half but the decisive moment came when Kosovare Asllani played in Demi Stokes, for the full-back to rifle one in off of the far post on the stroke of half-time. It didn’t take long after the restart for the Citizens to double their advantage either - Jennifer Beattie with a firm header following a corner, just three minutes into the half.

It was a hotly contested match, the second half turning into a midfield battle, Chelsea looking brightest with substitute Gemma Davison on the ball. Despite Ji So-Yun crashing one off of the underside of the bar and Karen Carney curling one just wide of the post, the Blues couldn’t get the best of the City backline and were consigned to their first defeat of the season

A point a piece in Solihull – Birmingham City 0-0 Reading

Kelly Chambers will be happy with a point against a resolute Birmingham City team that have now kept three back-to-back clean sheets, but her Royals could have left with their first win of the season, instead of their fourth draw.

On top for most of the game, Reading had a host of chances and half chances but a lack of sharpness up top saw them fail to convert any of those chances. Just like their opponents, they struggled with the final ball.

The Blues sparked into life late on and saw a few chances fly just wide of Mary Earps’ goal but didn’t manage a shot on target at any point in the game.  

Blues edge Notts – Birmingham City 1-0 Notts County

In what is usually a tightly fought contest, Birmingham squared off with Notts County for the second time in as many weeks. After falling to a 1-0 defeat last time, the Lady Pies were looking to repay the favour.

Although the visitors had a number of great chances in the first half, notably Aviv Luik missing an open goal and Ellen White seeing her volley parried away by a sharp Sophie Baggaly, the two went into at the break all square.

Birmingham came out the stronger side after the restart and deservedly took the lead as Remi Allen finished from close range after Carly Telford could only parry Jo Potter’s free kick back into the mix.

The Blues are now unbeaten in their last five, Baggaley proudly boasting four consecutive clean sheets.

Drab draw in Widnes – Liverpool 0-0 Man City

It was the Reds who had the better chances when Liverpool entertained Manchester City in their last game before the mid-season interval.

Caroline Weir and Shanice van der Sanden both went close in the first half with the visitors growing into the game after the hour, but both scrapped for purpose in midfield. Greenwood cracked one against the bar and Izzy Christiansen poked just wide late in the day, both keepers called into action during the night but little for the fans to get excited about.

Going into the mid-season break, City have now dropped their first points of the campaign but still haven’t conceded a league goal this year. Meanwhile, Liverpool are looking more and more solid each week, with Scott Rogers more than happy to play Sophie Ingle at centre-back with Gemma Bonner to keep things tight at the back.

Laws stars as Chelsea come from behind – Chelsea 2-1 Sunderland

The home fans were left stunned six minutes into the week's final game when Mead set up Stephanie Roche for the Irish international to slot home, but Sunderland only had themselves to blame when Chelsea equalised just 98 seconds later.

Carney sent in a free kick for a relatively soft foul on Eni Aluko, Katie Chapman getting away from Kelly McDougall with ease and heading into the top corner.

Chelsea were rewarded for their pressure half way through the first-half with the lead too; Fran Kirby with the smart give and go with Aluko, the England centurion talking the ball to the by-line and sending the ball into the mix, Kirby’s header sailing past Laws and into the far corner.

The Blues continued to threaten all the way through the half but, to Sunderland’s relief, couldn’t add to their tally before the break.

'So nearly three' was the repeated mantra from Chelsea, whether it was Kirby’s overhead-kick that beat the bar, Ji shaving the post or Laws pulling out top save after top save to deny the Blues, they just couldn’t find a third from their 28 attempts but the two goals were good enough to gift them the win

Man City may have dropped their first points, but they still set the pace. (Photo: FAWSL)
Man City may have dropped their first points, but they still set the pace. (Photo: FAWSL)