WSL 1 Week Two round-up: City and Chelsea continue to lead the way
Image source: Chelsea FC

In another interesting weekend of WSL 1 action, it was more of the same from the usual contenders at the top.

Kirby brace the difference in London

WSL1 kicked back off on Thursday night when Arsenal hosted Chelsea. Neither side produced their best form but two goals from Fran Kirby either side of half time was enough to seal all three points for Chelsea.

The Reading native drew first blood as she broke through the back line and latched onto a hopeful ball from Ji So-Yun, a deft chip over the advancing Sari van Veenendaal was all it took to see the ball rolling over the line.

The introductions of Asisat Oshoala, Kelly Smith and Natalia in the second half helped Arsenal to gain momentum as the visitors looked to be tiring.

With her defence staying firm to limit the amount of clear chances for the hosts, Kirby was on hand to thunder the ball into the net at a corner after Leah Williamson had cleared the initial effort from Drew Spence off of the line. Chelsea early favourites in the title race, the season barely having begun.

A point a piece in Widnes

Lucy Staniforth was back to face her old club as Sunderland travelled to Liverpool on Saturday evening.

The latter took an early lead through Caroline Weir, who poked home after Shanice van de Sanden had cannoned the post, and the Reds added a second when Laura Coombs got the all important touch after a cross from van de Sanden.

The Lady Black Cats reduced the deficit to just one when Brooke Chaplen headed home from a Kylla Sjoman free kick. Sjoman fell victim to the Widnes pitch late in the first half and substituted before the whistle.

Chaplen added a second 15 minutes into the second half, finishing off after some give and go between Krystal Johnston and Stephanie Roche.

Both sides had chances to clinch it but there was nothing to separate the two at the whistle. Sunderland were arguably the happier of the two, with Liverpool regretting squandering a two-goal lead. Both sides remained unbeaten in the league so far this year.

It was honours even between Sunderland and Liverpool. | Image credit: Chris Brunskill - Liverpool FC.
It was honours even between Sunderland and Liverpool. | Image credit: Chris Brunskill - Liverpool FC.

City top having played one more

Having been knocked out of the FA Cup by holders Chelsea last week, Manchester City’s focus was solely back on the WSL, they travelled to Solihull Moors to face a Birmingham City side that really should have taken something from their opening game against Liverpool.

Unfortunately having the home advantage didn’t count for much for the Blues and were put on the back foot for most of the match, only managing to register two shots over the entire game. On top but not having things all their own way, City struck in the first half through Daphne Corboz, the bright midfielder with a tap-in after Nikita Parris’s shot had ricocheted off the post.

Jane Ross added a second deep into second-half stoppage time, a deft header following a Parris cross. City went top with the win, though Chelsea have a game in hand over their Northern rivals.

Lady Pies and Royals share the spoils

In the last WSL kick-off of the week, Notts County played host to Reading in a replay of a Conti Cup knock-out game from last year; Reading determined to leave with a better result this time around.

The Royals were on the scoresheet first with the first shot of the match. Veteran of the game, Helen Ward with an audacious 25-yard strike straight into the top left corner. Notts only restored parity after Jess Clarke converted a penalty awarded for a handball. But Reading retook the lead just five minutes later, Kirsty McGee heading home at a corner.

It took a well-executed lob from Clarke in the second half to even the scores up again, although both sides continued to press each other and create opportunities they had to settle for a point a piece. Rachel Williams was yet another player to pick up an injury this weekend, the striker was substituted before the 20-minute mark.