WSL Matchday 15 round-up: Skinner laments loss at title rivals Chelsea
Manchester United manager Marc Skinner was fuming after the Red Devils gave up top spot in the Women’s Super League to Chelsea on Sunday.
Sam Kerr’s 23rd-minute effort proved decisive at Kingsmeadow as the hosts leapfrogged United to open up a two-point lead at the summit with a game in hand.
But Skinner rued two incidents he felt should have resulted in a penalty for the visitors.
The first, which came 10 minutes after they went behind, saw referee Cheryl Foster play on after Nikita Parris was felled by Kadeisha Buchanan.
Moments later, Jess Carter collided with Ona Batlle — again with no decision granted in favour of Skinner's side.
The 39-year-old boss said: "I haven’t really mentioned much this season about it but they’re stonewall in my opinion.
"You have to invest in the surrounding technology that can help. You have to invest in the officials, we have to make sure that they can have that.
"We’ve come here without fear. That’s different, that’s a different Manchester United, and when you need things to go your way, even if one of them, there are two stonewall, but if one of them goes our way it’s a different game.
"These are decisions that will make and break where you finish in a table.
"We say it balances out and I’m hopeful that we see it, but the reality is we should have had two penalties in that game today."
Chelsea coach Emma Hayes preferred to focus on the positives after her injury-hit side ground out a win.
Erin Cuthbert and Guro Reiten were both absent, joining Fran Kirby, Katerina Svitkova and Pernille Harder on the sidelines.
Hayes, 46, said: "I feel sometimes other teams get a hall pass for injured players.
"We’ve been without Fran Kirby and Pernille Harder almost the entirety of the season. I think this team deserves huge credit.
"We don’t have a full week’s prep every week. We have to play games every three days, so it’s tremendous from the team to show, I think, what we determine in-house as a real Chelsea performance.
"There are certain things we pride ourselves on and they were in abundance in today’s performance."
Chelsea next face Reading in the FA Cup quarter-finals, before they head to Lyon for the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie.
When they return to WSL action, they will take on in-form Manchester City.
The Citizens secured their fourth win on the spin with a 2-1 victory at Brighton to move level on points with local rivals United.
WSL top scorer Khadija Shaw bagged a brace to break the club’s single-season goalscoring record.
Her 26th strike in all competitions this term proved decisive as she netted an 89th-minute winner on the South Coast.
Jamaican international Shaw, 26, said: "It’s an unbelievable club and it’s an honour to represent.
"I just want to help the team as much as possible and keep scoring. That’s my job, that’s my role.
"Today, Brighton came out and they made it very difficult for us, so we just had to stay in the game and it was a grind out there.
"It was brilliant we came out with the win."
Gunning for top spot
Arsenal kept pace with the leading trio thanks to a comfortable 4-0 win over Reading.
Kim Little broke the deadlock from the penalty spot after four minutes before Frida Maanum doubled the hosts’ advantage.
Emma Mukandi’s 47th-minute own goal put the result beyond doubt and Leah Williamson rounded off the scoring midway through the second half.
Securing back-to-back league victories after last weekend’s Continental Cupfinal success over Chelsea, boss Jonas Eidevall was pleased with his side’s performance.
The Swedish coach, 40, said: "I think we have improved.
"Today was some of the best attacking football I have seen from us.
"It's just three points but I like the way we have been playing the whole week."
The Gunners will go into Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg at Bayern Munich full of confidence before a trip to Brisbane Road on Saturday for a North London derby clash with Tottenham.
Goalscorer Williamson added: "You know sometimes, where you can't explain it, you just need it to click?
"You can just see a shift and a change in everybody and everybody believes."
WSL Matchday 15 results
Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United
Brighton 1-2 Manchester City
Liverpool 2-1 Tottenham
Leicester 0-0 Everton
West Ham 1-2 Aston Villa
Arsenal 4-0 Reading