Chelsea must wait another week to secure title – but manager Hayes is confident

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes insists her side will relish going into next weekend’s FA Women’s Super League 1 title decider in pole position.

League leaders Chelsea took a massive step closer to being crowned champions as first-half doubles from Rachel Williams and Eniola Aluko set them on the way to a 5-2 victory over basemen side Everton Ladies.

Chelsea had looked on their way to the title until England and Birmingham City striker Karen Carney struck late to secure a 2-1 win over Manchester City.

Chelsea now take on Manchester City next weekend with 26 points while Birmingham, two points behind, host Notts County.

“I’m pleased because we gave up two sloppy goals against the run of play,” said Hayes.

“I felt there was a bit of nervousness in the early stages but we calmed down and dominated the game and were clinical.

“For us getting our forwards on the ball early was part of our game plan and scoring after 37 seconds was a dream start and it’s just a brilliant way to end our home form this season.

“We wanted to maintain our professionalism and continue to try to score goals. I was always expecting it to go into the final game.

“We deserve to be in this position and I don’t think anyone would have put us competing for the title going into the last game of the season so we will take it and enjoy it.”

Williams headed in Aluko’s cross after just 37 seconds before Rachel Finnis-Brown saved Yuki Ogimi’s penalty after Gabby George was judged to have handled in the area.

But Ogimi soon made amends, setting Aluko free to finish on 12 minutes.

Everton scored when Lucy Whipp intercepted Laura Bassett’s under-hit back pass and rounded goalkeeper Marie Hourihan and Nikita Parris raced clear to make it 2-2 on 33 minutes.

However, Williams smashed home on 36 minutes and Aluko pouncing on a defensive mix up just before the break before Hannah Blundell added a fifth with ten minutes remaining of the game to leave them two points clear.

“I’ve watched Chelsea live on a number of occasions and they always come out flying in the first 15 minutes so we were preparing for that but to concede around 30 seconds is not acceptable,” said Everton manager Andy Spence.

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