Chelsea secured their third Barclays FA Women’s League Trophy in a row seeing off a Manchester United side that was hoping to upset the odds and secure a place in next season’s Champions League.
The London club came into this game leading the league table just a point ahead of local rivals Arsenal who were hoping United could do them a favour and win at Meadow Park.
This was a thrilling game that saw Chelsea come from behind to win 4-2 and secure the WSL trophy.
Chelsea manager Emma Hayes praised her team’s mentality, coming from behind and winning a crucial game that gave them the trophy.
The crowd drove us on in the second half when we absolutely needed them.
Hayes said: “Amazing character from the whole group [in the] second half, impact from the bench like it’s been all year, it’s been the difference.
“The crowd, what can I say about the crowd, they drove us on in the second half when we absolutely needed them.
“I think we were so tight in the first half, we’re back footed, we’re struggling in possession, people didn’t want the ball and I think we played with fear.
“The second half we played to win, and I have to credit the whole dressing room from switching that mentality because we knew we had something to lose [and] once we played as we had something to win… that was the difference.
The Red Devils took the lead in the 12th minute when Martha Thomas headed in Katie Zalem off a set play cross in the box which sent shockwaves through the home team.
The Blues responded just five minutes later in the 17th minute when United failed to clear a long throw in the box which Chelsea’s Erin Cuthbert capitalised on, thundering the shot past the static United defence.
United was the better side in the first half of the game where they took back their lead when Ella Toone scored from a deflection that wrong-footed Chelsea goalie Ann-Katrin Berger in the 24th minute shifting the balance of power back in Arsenal’s favour, who were still goalless against West Ham.
Manchester United manager Marc Skinner believes this is just the beginning of his United side and next season will see them compete for more titles.
Skinner said: “I felt Chelsea were scared in the first half, what a great statement from us that is.
“In the second half, they had the quality. I think they were sharper than us and that’s something we can’t excuse.
“I [am] proud of the girls, it’s a great marker for us to step forward for next season.”
Australian superstar Sam Kerr was kept quiet by United’s defence for the majority of the first half with her first contribution coming in the 39th minute but her shot was muted and easily saved by the United goalkeeper Mary Earps.
Things took a turn in the second half when the league champions introduced Beth England to partner up with Kerr and in just seconds from kick-off, the League’s top goal scorer unleashed a volley that passed Earps in the 45th minute.
The Blues’ manager Hayes’s inspired substitutions and change in tactics saw them score again when Guro Reiten scored in the 50th minute. Reiten, who is leaving at the end of the season and turned the game on its head, put Chelsea back on top.
The football writer’s footballer of the year wasn’t done, not by a long shot because Kerr hit another volley that flew past Earps in the 65th minute taking her goal tally of the season to 20 and clinching the golden boot.
The Manchester side had a couple of chances but was unlucky to take any of them, midfielder Jackie Groenen’s cross-shot deceived Berger but hit the crossbar and went out, that would have seen them equalise.
This loss sees United miss out on the Champions League qualification spot with their place now going to local rivals City, who thrashed Reading 4-0 at Madejski Stadium.