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Chelsea 8-0 Bristol City: Blues romp to big win as WSL title race takes new turn

Chelsea put on a brutal performance on Sunday (Getty Images)

Chelsea put on a brutal performance on Sunday (Getty Images)

Guro Reiten’s four-goal volley helped Chelsea step up their battle against leaders Manchester City in the Women’s Super League with an 8-0 thrashing of Bristol City on a dramatic day that blew open the title race.

A midweek defeat for defending champions Chelsea at Liverpool put Man City in the driver’s seat, with Blues boss Emma Hayes saying she thought her side’s challenge was over, but the pacers were stunned by Arsenal in a 2-1 home defeat on Sunday.

A win for Gareth Taylor’s team over Arsenal would have taken them to 55 points and meant they needed just one point from their final matchday at Aston Villa on May 18 to claim the championship.

However, Lauren Hemp’s 17th-minute opener was canceled out by a late double from Gunners’ substitute Stina Blackstenius in a remarkable turnaround.

It ended City’s run of fourteen consecutive league wins, and Chelsea took full advantage later in the day to beat already relegated Bristol City in manager Hayes’ final game at Kingsmeadow, putting the prospect of the league winner’s goal difference back in play brought.

Chelsea’s emphatic victory means they now sit three points behind Man City with a match against Tottenham on May 15. But perhaps crucially, the Blues’ goal difference is now one ahead of their title rivals at +46 going into the final. fourteen days of the season.

City – without WSL top scorer Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw through injury – looked on course to lay a hand on the trophy when Hemp stormed home after Arsenal failed to deal with a ball in the area.

Hemp celebrated with retiring captain Steph Houghton, but Taylor opted not to include the former England skipper for a farewell appearance at City’s home stadium.

Opposite Jonas Eidevall did return to his bench with Arsenal trailing and substitute Blackstenius equalized in the 89th minute when she poked home after a pinball in the City zone.

It was worse for the leaders when Kim Little rolled in three minutes later and Blackstenius headed into the bottom corner to silence the home crowd and put City’s title hopes on the line.

All eyes were then on Chelsea and Reiten opened her account with a sixth-minute penalty before Sjoeke Nusken forced a second home midway through the first half.

Aggie Beever-Jones made it 3-0 in the 52nd minute with a smooth finish before Reiten slotted home another.

It was five when Reiten smashed home the near post for her hat-trick after 70 minutes, leading to three goals in seven minutes when the Norwegian forward grabbed her fourth not long after Niamh Charles had driven home at the back post.

Beever-Jones provided the icing on the cake when she stooped low to nod in Reiten’s cross with two minutes to go, as Chelsea marked Hayes’ final home game in style.

Liverpool secured a decisive victory in the top-four clash after Jenna Clark’s first-half header demolished Manchester United.

United, who play in the FA Cup final in a week’s time, occupied fourth place on goal difference before kick-off but suffered a 1-0 defeat and fell below their rivals in the table.

Clark nodded in the only goal of the match at the back post after a fine cross from Marie-Thérèse Hobinger, as Liverpool marked their final appearance at Prenton Park with a win.

West Ham and Leicester played out a 1-1 draw in the bottom-of-the-table battle between two teams already safe from relegation, with Sophie Howard canceling out Riko Ueki’s opener for the hosts.

Additional reporting from PA