Sam Kerr scored the only goal as Chelsea beat Manchester United 1-0 to leapfrog their rivals at the top of the Women’s Super League.
Starting the day a point behind United, Emma Hayes’ side knew they couldn’t afford to slip up at Kingsmeadow and it was their star striker who helped the defending champions return to the summit.
Kerr had the first two real chances of note in a matter of minutes, but on both occasions could only fire straight at Mary Earps.
The Australian certainly wasn’t going to pass up a third opportunity and after taking down a long pass from Lauren James, Kerr calmly lifted the ball over a stranded Earps, who could only watch as it dropped into the top right-hand corner.
United responded with chances from Ella Toone and Alessia Russo, as well as a penalty appeal waved away when Nikita Parris went down under the challenge of Kadeisha Buchanan but couldn’t find their way past Ann-Katrin Berger in the Chelsea goal and went in behind at the break thanks to Kerr’s superb finish.
Kerr had the opportunity to double Chelsea’s lead just after half-time but sent her shot wide of Earps’s far post.
An end to end second period saw chances for both sides but nothing clear cut as Kerr saw an effort blocked and Leah Galton miscued a shot under pressure for United.
Melanie Leupolz then blasted over for Chelsea with a first-time effort when she might have done better unmarked on the edge of the penalty area.
United applied some late pressure but the Blues defence held firm to put Chelsea in pole position in the title race.
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