WSL 1 Week 6 Round-Up: Chelsea close in on Man City, Sunderland face a thrashing and much more

The Women's Super League was back in action this week after the mid-season break.

WSL 1 Week 6 Round-Up: Chelsea close in on Man City, Sunderland face a thrashing and much more
Chelsea move within two points of the league leaders | Photo: The FA

With the mid-season break over, the Women's Super League teams returned to action this week..

Arsenal emphatic - Arsenal 5-1 Sunderland

In the first action of week 6 Arsenal welcomed Sunderland to Boreham Wood looking to get their title push back on track. The Gunners looked rejuvenated after their FA Cup success at Wembley - Natalia Pablos Sanchon scored twice as Arsenal thrashed Sunderland 5-1 on Saturday.

Pedro Martinez Losa made seven changes to the team he fielded in the international friendly against Seattle Reign last month. Sari Van Veenendaal came in for Emma Byrne in goal, whilst only Marta Corredera, Vicky Losada, Jemma Rose and Emma Mitchell kept their starting positions.

Arsenal were quick out of the blocks and struck twice in the opening 20 minutes courtesy of two own-goals by Sunderland skipper Stephanie Bannon. The first came in the second minute, Bannon inadvertently flicked past unlucky goalkeeper Rachel Laws from a Danielle Van de Donk shot.

The captain doubled the Gunners lead in the twentieth minute, turning in Asisat Oshoala's low cross from close range.

Natalia extended Arsenal's lead on the half-hour mark - Vicky Losada nutmegged Victoria Williams on the edge of the area, before cutting the ball back for Sanchon to slot home.

Things got considerably worse for the Black Cats just before half-time as Natalia doubled her tally, placing the ball with ease in to the bottom corner after Losada split the Sunderland defence with a scooped ball into the path of the striker.

Vicky Losada put in an impressive performance against the Black Cats | Photo: Arsenal Ladies
Vicky Losada put in an impressive performance against the Black Cats | Photo: Arsenal Ladies

Second half

Second-half substitute Dominique Janssen added the Gunners fifth in the last ten minutes, when her 25-yard strike deflected off Rachel Furness to nestle in the bottom corner of Laws' goal.

Last year's Young Player of The Season Beth Mead claimed a consolation for Sunderland in the dying minutes to convert her fourth goal of the season, which could do little to take away from an emphatic victory for Arsenal, who move up to fourth place in the standings.

City retain unbeaten record - Man city 1-1 Liverpool

The FA WSL 1 leaders came from a goal down to preserve their unbeaten league record as they drew with Liverpool at the Academy Stadium.

City, who have have not conceded a league goal this season, trailed at half time after Rosie Lowe silenced the home crowd early, beating two defenders to slot past Karen Bardsley in the City goal.

The home side rallied in the second half and got their just rewards after considerable second-half pressure on the Reds - Jane Ross converted for the Sky Blues in the 65th minute from a Nikita Parris cross.

Liverpool keeper Siobhan Chamberlain was forced in to making a string of fine saves in the closing minutes to prevent Manchester City from taking all the spoils.

City preserve their place at the top of the table, whilst a second successive draw for Liverpool keeps them in fifth.

A disappointed Jill Scott spoke to the official Women's Super League website after the match, she said: "We know if we play well, we can beat most teams at home. It’s frustrating but, at the end of the day, it’s not a loss, it’s another point on the board and we’re still unbeaten in the league.

She added, "You can tell Nick (Cushing) was disappointed with us at half time and that hurts us a lot as we don’t want to disappoint him. We knew what we had to do to improve and in the second half we played a lot better." Scott concluded, "We created a lot of chances, we just needed that bit of luck to go our way."

Notts claim narrow victory - Notts County 2-1 Doncaster Rovers Belles

Emma Coates' reign as new manager of Doncaster Rovers Belles started with defeat as Notts County edged to victory on Sunday.

Coates took to the dugout for the first time after succeeding Glen Harris, but she didn't have the best of starts as her team fell to an early goal courtesy of Notts striker Rachel Williams. The Belles failed to clear a Notts free-kick, which Williams pounced on to turn and fire past Doncaster keeper Nicola Hobbs.

Katrin Omarsdottir was causing the Notts County defence all sorts of problems down the left-flank and it was her neat pull-back which found former Ladypie Jess Sigsworth, who levelled for the Belles with a brilliant shot into the bottom corner of Carly Telford's goal.

Ellen White celebrates scoring the winner against Doncaster | Photo: BBC Sport
Ellen White celebrates scoring the winner against Doncaster | Photo: BBC Sport

Unfortunately, England goalkeeper Telford was forced to leave the field just before half-time, after she fell awkwardly after a collision in the air. The Ladypie's no1 was stretchered off in a left leg brace during the break.

After a less eventful second period, Notts County sealed the win courtesy of an Ellen White lob, after Amy Williams long ball caused confusion for the Belles backline.

Coates' side remain bottom of the table and are yet to pick a point since promotion from WSL 2, but they do have three games in hand over eighth place Sunderland.

Sunderland faced another thrashing - Sunderland 0-5 Chelsea

Chelsea ladies put five past Sunderland yesterday evening to move within two points of league leaders Manchester City.

Left-back Claire Rafferty's double put the Blues ahead in the first-half, a sweet volley at the far post followed by a neat tap-in gave Chelsea an early lead. Before Gemma Davison added the third just before the break, with a low-finish.

Millie Bright scored a long-range goal to put Chelsea 4-0 up in the second-half and Ji-So-Yun completed the victory in the 77th minute to allow Chelsea to close the gap at the top of the table.

The Lady Black Cats have now lost four consecutive games and have failed to win a match since July. They sit in eighth place, three points above Doncaster who have four games in hand over their relegation rivals.  

Chelsea's Gemma Davison spoke to the offical Women's Super League website after her team's victory, she said: " We knew it was going to be tough coming up to Sunderland. They perform well at their home ground and they have a really good crowd that get behind them so we knew we had to take it seriously and come and produce a result and we did that.

We always knew we were going to be in the title race. There are some good teams involved here with Man City and Arsenal. You never know what will happen in this league."

Birmingham hold Arsenal to a goalless draw - Birmingham City 0-0 Arsenal Ladies

After Arsenal's convincing 5-1 win over Sunderland on Saturday, they struggled to break down a resilient Birmingham City side who fielded a number of their new signings.

An organised Blues side remain in third place and have now gone without conceding in five consecutive matches.

Blues' boss David Parker gave debuts to Norway midfielder Adrine Hegerberg, who squandered Birmingham's best chance of the game from close range, ex Paris Saint-Germain keeper Ann Katrin-Berger and substitute Isabelle Linden. All three put in impressive displays for City against the Women's FA Cup champions.

Birmingham remain one point above Arsenal, who have a game in hand, but both clubs lost ground on second-placed Chelsea who comfortably put five past Sunderland in the other match of the evening.