Sam Kerr brace helps Chelsea to WSL title as Reading relegated


Lawson: Chelsea grind their way to another title

Sophie Lawson reports from Reading as Chelsea sealed another WSL title.

Sam Kerr of Chelsea celebrates after scoring the team's first goal during the FA Women's Super League match between Reading and Chelsea
Sam Kerr of Chelsea celebrates after scoring the team's first goal during the FA Women's Super League match between Reading and Chelsea
Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Chelsea roared to a 3-0 victory over Reading on Saturday thanks to goals from Sam Kerr and Guro Reiten, helping Emma Hayes' side to their fourth consecutive Women's Super League title and relegating Reading in the process.

Reading carved out a good opportunity on six minutes with one of the best attacking moves they have created all season but failed to get the ball into the box at the vital moment. However, it proved to be one of the few positive pieces of play from Reading, who needed a win to avoid relegation.

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Chelsea then went on the attack. Forward Sam Kerr nodded over from point-blank range, while Erin Cuthbert drew a fine fingertip save from Grace Moloney, adding to the sense of inevitability about the result.

In the end, Chelsea did not have to wait too long for their goal and found their breakthrough on 18 minutes when Kerr nodded home Guro Reiten's cross from inside the box.

The visitors continued to heap on pressure with midfielder Erin Cuthbert forcing a fingertip save from Reading goalkeeper Grace Moloney moments after Kerr's opener.

Still battling for their survival, Reading worked another opening but midfielder Justine Vanhaevermaet could only divert her header high and wide.

Reiten netted Chelsea's second on 42 minutes, chasing Easther Mayi Kith down and pouncing on her weak back-pass before sliding the ball under Moloney.

The second half played out much like the first, with Chelsea still looking for more goals but, like so much of this season, unable to lead with their best foot as Reading defended with everything they had left.

Chelsea removed all doubt with three minutes remaining when Kerr mopped up from close range and extended the away side's lead and their dominance over the WSL.

"This has definitely been the hardest year for me and I feel relived it's over for lots of reasons, I feel sad because winning the league and relegating a friend, doesn't feel good in my soul and who I am," Hayes said in a postmatch news conference.

"I think it's a victory for team because my backroom staff have carried me in so many different ways this year, they've been unbelievable, particularly first part of the season when I was unwell and I think the team has carried each other. I think the second half of the season we saw so many of our newer players start to bare fruit.

"We found different ways to win even though ... and you have to, you have to, it can't look the same every time."