Chelsea won a historic third consecutive Super League title for women dramatically on the final day of the season with the win over Manchester United.
Sam Kerr scored two fantastic volleys in the second half as Chelsea trailed in a six-goal thriller.
The Blues, who win the league by one point over Arsenal in second place, knew the win would give them the title.
Manchester United led 2-1 at the break before Kerr’s double and a Guro Reiten attack on Kingsmeadow.
Arsenal won 2-0 at West Ham but had to settle for finishing in second place.
It’s the first time in WSL’s history that a club has won the title in three consecutive seasons, and Emma Hayes’ team can turn it into a home double with a win over Manchester City in next Sunday’s FA Cup final at Wembley.
Manchester United finish the season in fourth place and miss out on qualifying for next year’s Champions League – although Manchester City’s 4-0 win over Reading meant a United victory would not have been enough.
Fans were on their feet full time and singing “Champions of England, we know who we are” on a joyous day ending one of the most exciting WSL seasons since its introduction.
‘That’s why we are masters’
It promised to be a dramatic day at Kingsmeadow, and that’s exactly how it turned out.
Chelsea fans flocked to the ground with flags and banners. They were in the carnival mood before the kick-off.
But Manchester United’s quick start threatened to ruin it, and there were ripples of excitement throughout the crowd as Martha Thomas’ header put the visitors in front.
Erin Cuthbert’s powerful equalizer quickly lifted the mood again as news came that Manchester City broke the stalemate in Reading, which came as a double blow to traveling United fans.
“That’s why we are champions”, the Chelsea fans sang in response, but United were eager to ruin the party and English national team player Ella Toone’s deflected strike brought them back to the front.
But Chelsea did not give up the title so easily. They scored two goals in five minutes in the second half – the first a sensational volley from Kerr on the riposte.
Reiten brought Chelsea to the forefront for the first time as she drilled it down into the bottom corner after a sublime throughput from substitute Ji So-yun, who played in his last WSL match for the Blues.
Chelsea fans were already celebrating – despite title rivals, Arsenal took a lead in the second half over West Ham on the other side of London – and Kerr stole the show with a sensational 30-yard volley that dived over goalkeeper Mary Earps and did so to 4- 2.
Ji was close to ending a hugely successful Chelsea career with a goal as her powerful shot was blocked late, while home fans gave Pernille Harder a serenade as she walked around the pitch after being replaced.
Fans shouted “Chelsea, champions” for the remaining minutes, leaving Kingsmeadow – and London – in blue.
Hayes continues his trophy-rich career
Chelsea have dominated English women’s football in recent seasons, with Hayes now winning six WSL titles during his time as manager.
The Blues boss, who won this year’s Fifa coach in January, led the team to their first WSL trophy in 2015, and this was Chelsea’s fifth success in six years.
Rivals Arsenal end the season without a trophy for the third year in a row.
Hayes, who celebrated with his players after Kerr’s fantastic second goal, must now prepare for the FA Cup final, where they will face Manchester City in a domestic cup final for the first time.
But first, Hayes will celebrate this recent victory with his family, while providing the perfect rejection for the outgoing trio of Ji, Drew Spence and Jonna Andersson – who have all played their part in yet another Chelsea title-winning campaign.
- 21CharlesReplaced fornewon 59 ‘minutes
- 5IngleReplaced forEnglandon 45 ‘minutes
- 25AnderssonReplaced forJion 45 ‘minutes
- 23HarderReplaced forFlemingon 77 ‘minutesReserved for 80 min
- 20KerrReplaced forSpenceon 90 + 3 ‘minutes
Man Utd Women
- 12LaddReserved 11 min
- 14greensReplaced forBrownon 81 ‘minutes
- 9ThomasReplaced forRisaon 76 ‘minutes
- 11GaltonReplaced forHansonon 65 ‘minutes
- Abigail Byrne
The match ends, Chelsea Women 4, Manchester United Women 2.
Second half ends, Chelsea women 4, Manchester United women 2.
Replacement, Chelsea Women. Drew Spence replaces Sam Kerr.
Corner, Chelsea Women. Conceded by Wild Risa.
Vilde Risa (Manchester United Women) wins a free kick in his own half.
Violation of Bethany England (Chelsea Women).
Corner, Chelsea Women. Conceded by Maria Thorisdóttir.
Attempt missed. Signe Bruun (Manchester United Women) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Kirsty Hanson.
Attempt blocked. Ji So-Yun (Chelsea Women) right footed shot from the center of the box is blocked. Assisted by Guro Reiten with a cross.
Corner, Chelsea Women. Conceded by Maria Thorisdóttir.
Attempt blocked. Sam Kerr (Chelsea Women) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Substitution, Manchester United Women. Signe Bruun replaces Jackie Groenen.
Corner, Manchester United women. Conceded by Magdalena Eriksson.
Jessie Fleming (Chelsea Women) receives the yellow card.
Jackie Groenen (Manchester United Women) wins a free kick in his own half.
Violation of Erin Cuthbert (Chelsea Women).
Attempt blocked. Ji So-Yun (Chelsea Women) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Attempt missed. Erin Cuthbert (Chelsea Women) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Guro Reiten following a set piece situation.
Foul by Hannah Blundell (Manchester United Women).
Sam Kerr (Chelsea Women) wins a free kick on the right wing.