City dealt Chelsea their first defeat at Kingsmeadow in 33 matches and moved level on points with the reigning Barclays Women’s Super League champions thanks to a hard-fought 1-0 win.

The visitors took the lead inside 14 minutes when Jess Park set up Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw on the counter for her 14th WSL goal of the season.

And while Chelsea controlled large spells of possession, with Erin Cuthbert going particularly close in the second half, Gareth Taylor’s side held on for what could be a hugely significant three points in the WSL title race.

While City remain second, we have now drawn level on points with the reigning champions at the summit, extending our winning run in all competitions to 11 matches.


What happened

While there are still sure to be plenty of twists and turns to come, there was a real sense that the result of this clash in the capital could have a huge bearing on the WSL title race.

Chelsea, without a defeat at Kingsmeadow since February 2021, boasted an imperious run of form on home soil, but Gareth Taylor’s side made the journey south with the best away record in the league in 2023/24.

And after weathering an early storm from the hosts, it was City who drew first blood with a lightning counter attack when Park nicked the ball off Erin Cuthbert as the Chelsea captain hesitated just inside the hosts’ half.

Racing forward, the midfielder laid the ball off to Shaw, who confidently poked home across goal and beyond Hannah Hampton.

The Jamaican, with Park in behind her, were causing plenty of problems and the duo combined again just before the 20-minute mark, but it was Hampton who came out on top this time with a smart save.

It was far from one-way traffic despite City’s strong first-half performance though, with Mayra Ramirez posing a real threat with her pace in behind.

City v Chelsea: Conti Cup tickets on sale NOW!

Indeed, the hosts felt they should’ve had a penalty around the half-hour mark when the Colombian went down under the attentions of Alex Greenwood, but referee Abigail Byrne was unmoved.

And that brief sight of goal brought on a spell of pressure from Chelsea, with Fran Kirby testing Khiara Keating’s reflexes with an effort across goal soon after.

Cuthbert was next to go close, firing onto the roof of the net from distance after reacting quickest to a loose ball, but City saw things out until the break.

Both teams came out with plenty of gusto in the second 45, but clearcut chances were few and far between.

An inviting Lauren James cross evaded everyone inside the first few minutes, while Laura Coombs stung the palms of Hampton from distance just before the hour.

The Chelsea stopper was called into action again with 20 to play when Kelly tested her reflexes with an effort across goal, but both teams were struggling to gain a genuine foothold in a tense second half.

City knew we were on the cusp of a significant scalp, with every player putting their bodies on the line as the hosts began to control possession.

And that pressure nearly told when Cuthbert sent a vicious curling effort inches wide of the far post from the edge of the box.

The hosts were beginning to take control, but City have shown a real steely determination to see out results of late.

It was almost for nothing at the death though when Jelena Cankovic fired towards goal from a promising position, but Keating once again proved the hero, getting a glove to the substitute’s effort before blocking Sjoeke Nusken’s effort on the rebound.

Despite those late scares, Taylor’s side dug deep to record the kind of victory that could define our season.

Player of the Match: Jess Park

The architect of the game’s decisive goal, Park has come into her element in a central role in recent weeks.

Assured in possession and disciplined off it, the youngster epitomised City’s professional performance from the midfield.

What it means

City move level on points with Chelsea at the top of the WSL table.

We remain second having scored fewer goals than the reigning champions, but have an equal goal difference.

Barclays WSL
1 Chelsea FC Chelsea Chelsea 22 18 1 3 71 18 53 55 WLWWW
2 Manchester City Manchester City Man City 22 18 1 3 61 15 46 55 WWWLW
3 Arsenal Arsenal Arsenal 22 16 2 4 53 20 33 50 WWDWW
Last updated: 19 May 2024

How we lined up

Gareth Taylor named the same team who got the better of Arsenal in the FA Cup last week, meaning Khiara Keating started between the sticks after a standout performance at Meadow Park.

She was shielded by a back four of Kerstin Casparij, Laia Aleixandri, Alex Greenwood and Leila Ouahabi, with Yui Hasegawa sat at the base of the midfield.

Jess Park and Laura Coombs completed our engine room, with Chloe Kelly and Lauren Hemp starting on the flanks for City.

Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw led the line as centre-forward at Kingsmeadow.

CITY XI: Keating, Casparij, Aleixandri (Kennedy 90’), Greenwood (C), Ouahabi, Hasegawa, Park (Fowler 90’), Coombs (Stokes 90’), Kelly (Angeldahl 78’), Shaw, Hemp.

SUBS: MacIver, Morgan, Blindkilde Brown, Mace.

CHELSEA XI: Hampton, Carter, Leupolz (Cankovic 78’), James, Reiten (Beever-Jones 63’), Lawrence (Nusken 72’), Kirby (Rytting Kaneryd 63’), Charles, Cuthbert (C), Ramirez, Bjorn.

SUBS: Musovic, Ingle, Perisset, Mjelde, Buchanan.

Next Fixture

All fixtures


Man City
Manchester City



Up next

Due to the upcoming international break, City’s next match isn’t until early March, when we welcome Everton to the Joie Stadium in the Barclays Women’s Super League.

Kick-off is set for 12:00 (UK) on Saturday 2 March.

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