LONDON (Reuters) - Australia international striker Sam Kerr scored her first Chelsea goal as the Blues beat champions Arsenal 4-1 away on Sunday and blew the FA Women’s Super League title race wide open.
Emma Hayes’ Chelsea team are now just a point behind Arsenal and Manchester City, who won 2-0 at Birmingham to take over at the top on goal difference with 33 points, but with a game in hand.
At the other end of the table, Liverpool beat Bristol City 1-0 to move off the bottom on goal difference with their first win of the campaign.
Chelsea were 3-0 up inside 20 minutes, in front of a crowd of 4,000 at Meadow Park, in the battle between London’s top two teams.
Bethany England curled in the opener from the edge of the box after 10 minutes, her 15th goal of the campaign, and the unmarked Kerr headed a second three minutes later to open her tally since joining in November.
Welsh midfielder Sophie Ingle grabbed a third with a 19th-minute left-footed half-volley and Norwegian Guro Reiten made it 4-0 midway through the second half with a header before Beth Mead scored a 74th-minute consolation goal for the Gunners.
It was the first time since May 2013, against Liverpool, that Arsenal had conceded three goals or more at home.
“I got it wrong tactically at the start and we got punished for it,” said Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro.
England’s Ellen White scored inside 35 seconds for City against her old club and Keira Walsh made it 2-0 in the second half.
Manager Nick Cushing, who is joining New York City FC next month, told the City website (www.mancity.com) he had feared his departure could have affected the squad.
“They have shown that they have a huge desire to win trophies this year... whether I’m here or not,” he added.
City have two more games under his management, an FA Cup game at Manchester United and then a home league clash against Arsenal.
A first-half goal from Rachel Furness was enough to lift Liverpool off the bottom on a day when the men’s team beat Manchester United at Anfield to go 16 points clear at the top of the Premier League.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis