LIVERPOOL have retained the FA Super League title after beating Bristol Academy 3-0 on a final day on which three teams still had a shot at the trophy.
Chelsea had started the day three points clear at the top of the table but fell to a 2-1 defeat at Manchester City and will have to make do with a place in next seasonâ€™s Champions League; Birmingham City do not even have that consolation, despite fighting back from 2-0 down to draw with Notts County.
The cameras were trained on the action in Manchester as even the Chelsea manager, Emma Hayes, who has been reluctant to describe her team as contenders let alone favourites, conceded that the title was theirs to lose. But after a frantic start to the game City gradually found their rhythm, scoring two first-half goals and just about surviving sustained Chelsea pressure in the second half â€“ despite conceding a Gilly Flaherty header and then seeing Abbie McManus sent off for throwing an elbow at Yuki Ogimi with more than 10 minutes remaining.
Jill Scottâ€™s opening goal was nice enough, a low drive from outside the area that beat the substitute goalkeeper Clare Farrow at her near post, but Toni Dugganâ€™s strike was deserving of being the match winner. Collecting Scottâ€™s cut-back on her chest â€“ the move having begun when McManus stopped Ogimiâ€™s header on the line moments earlier â€“ she spun and sent a delightful volley dipping over Farrowâ€™s despairing dive. At the other end Alex Brooks in the City goal was smart off her line to pinch the ball from Eniola Aluko on several occasions but more often than not was able to watch Chelseaâ€™s efforts go high, wide, or into her own midriff.
Chelsea will still reflect on a successful season under Hayes, however, having jumped from second to bottom last time out to second place. – The Guardian