Manchester City were crowned WSL Champions for the first time in their short history with a comfortable 2-0 win at home to Chelsea.
The games first chance came from the home side as Toni Duggan cut inside on the left and her cross found Jane Ross unmarked inside the penalty area but her header was well held by Becky Spencer after 10 minutes. Chelsea’s first effort on target came on 14 minutes as Katie Chapman latched onto a loose cleared header at the edge of the penalty area but she could only hit her effort tamely into Karen Bardsley’s hands. The deadlock was broken on 35 minutes following a succession of corners as Toni Duggan’s out swinging cross met the head of Jill Scott and the near post and her header was turned home by Katie Chapman.
The second half saw City come out flying in search of a second goal that would hand them their first WSL title. Two minutes in Nikita Parris almost did that as she was played in by a superb pass from Jill Scott but the England striker fired wide. Three minutes later City were awarded a penalty as Lucy Bronze latched onto a through ball and was brought down in the box. Toni Duggan made no mistake and sent Spencer the wrong way for her sixth goal of the season.
From that point on there was only ever going to be one winner as Parris almost made it 3-0 on 55 minutes as she twisted and turned inside the box and fired her shot just wide with Spencer well beaten. City went close again three minutes later as Jill Scott burst down the right hand side and her low cross found Parris who couldn’t quite find the last touch to divert it toast Spencer.
City continued to press for goals and Scott went close herself curling over from the edge of the area after good work from Ross and Duggan on the right. Scott went close again three minutes later volleying just wide from 25 yards out. City continue to pick Chelsea apart and on 71 minutes Parris played the pass of the match as her blind through ball found Izzy Christiansen but the forward hit the side netting with the half the ground thinking she’d scored.
Chelsea introduced Bethany England and she went close as she outpaced Houghton but she could only fire into the chest of the grateful Bardsley. England went close again as she reached the end of a low Millie Bright cross but could only poke it into the hand of the City keeper.
City sub Kosovare Asllani almost added another at the death as she stepped round her marker but fired wide from 12 yards out with the goal at her mercy. However it was City’s day and they were roared on by a club record 4,096 supporters as the players celebrated wildly at the final whistle. The result was City’ s 13th win from their 15 league match as well as their 12th clean sheet.
“I’m really pleased that we’ve won the title – it’s what we set out to do,” said City boss Nick Cushing, “But I’m more pleased with the performance today. In the second half especially we were dominant defensively and offensively.”
Any talk of celebration was scuppered by the manager as Toni Duggan added: “It’s amazing to be WSL champions. It’s something I’ve always wanted and a dream has come true. We’ve won the league – job done. We’ve got a cup final next week and we want to do the double. We set out to achieve big things and I’m sure the champagne can wait on ice for a couple of weeks.”