Arsenal and Manchester City struck late against Birmingham City and Liverpool to seal UEFA Women’s Champions League football for next season as Chelsea were held by West Ham. Elsewhere, Yeovil completed the double over Everton as Reading claimed a narrow win away to Bristol City.
The pendulum continued to swing back and forth in a scrappy match in the Midlands. Having the better of it in the first half, the Gunners looked considerably off of the pace after the break and were forced to sit in and keep Birmingham out, a frantic passage of play seeing the Blues denied before Arsenal broke and Katie McCabe slipped the ball into the bottom left corner. With time still left on the clock, the nervous countdown was on but the fractured match failed to bring about another goal, the three points enough for Arsenal to claim their berth in Europe next season.
Having walked the match last time they faced the Reds, the Citizens came up against a far more composed Liverpool, their first goal coming out with a sprinkling of luck as Claire Emslie’s effort defected away from Anke Preuß. Despite their domination, the hosts struggled with their final ball and when Courtney Sweetman-Kirk’s spot kick slipped off of Ellie Roebuck’s glove and into the back of the net, it looked like their title hopes were slipping away. However, a late jump from Jennifer Beattie was enough to see the back of the net rippling as she connected with Caroline Weir’s whipped free kick to grab all three points in stoppage time.
Two teams who’ve often failed to show their best this season, the Blues were left bitten as their chances of finishing in the top two were reduced to nothing. A scrap late in the first half saw the hosts take the lead as Beth England reacted to put the ball beyond Anna Moorhouse for her eighth goal of the season. With a raft of chances but lacking the finishing touch to take them, the Blues were left to rue their missed opportunities as Gilly Flaherty rose at the back post to nod Leanne Kiernan’s cross home.
Everton 0-1 Yeovil Town
In a week when Yeovil’s financial troubles have been laid bare, the club deducted 10 points and accepting the step down to the second tier, they Glovers have managed to finish the month on a high with a win. Although there were no major fireworks as the bottom two clashed in Southport, both teams saw their chances come and go before Megan Alexander’s ball into the box skipped over Kirstie Levell and crested into the goalmouth.
Had it not been for the deduction, the win would have seen Yeovil close the gap on the Toffees to two points, as it is, the Somerset team remain in negative figures.
Bristol City 0-1 Reading
The team on top, the Royals might have thought their chance to take something from the Stoke Gifford had come and gone when Fara Williams saw her second half penalty well-saved by Sophie Baggaley. However, it only took a further six minutes for the visitors to take the lead as Brooke Chaplen chased down a ball into space, the attacker ahead of her markers as she broke into the box and stroked the ball into the back of the net.