“It’s a big step,” says Taylor after Manchester City’s defeat of title rivals Chelsea.

GARETH TAYLOR praised Lauren Hemp for helping Manchester City punish Chelsea while dealing with an ear infection.

Filippa Angeldahl’s angled shot and Hemp’s fierce finish sealed a 2-0 win that ended City’s WSL 11-game winless run against the Blues.

Filippa Angeldahl’s stunning first goal paved the way for a hard-fought win for Man City against ChelseaCredit: Alamy
The win for Gareth Taylor’s side made the title race that much closer with just three points separating Manchester United and Man City from fourth-placed Arsenal.Credit: Alamy
Steph Houghton and Lauren Hemp impressed by Gareth Taylor’s against ChelseaCredit: Reuters

Gareth Taylor’s aces trailed second to Chelsea ahead of their showdown with fourth-placed Arsenal next Sunday.

The City manager said: “We looked dangerous at half-time and I was thinking of getting my legs fresh.”

“But I think sometimes when you’re in a moment like that, it’s really hard.

“The only change we made was more because Lauren has been in pain and didn’t practice on Saturday.

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“He’s suffering from an ear infection and he pushed himself to the limit in this game.”

City’s victory on Sunday afternoon at the Academy Stadium was watched by Usain Bolt.

Jamaica’s sprint king is in town for Soccer Aid as the captain of a world XI.

The 100m world record holder is said to have asked Hemp for his jersey after the match.

And the light-footed winger joked that it was a case of “fastest quick match” in a humorous tweet featuring a picture of her and Bolt holding up her club’s shirt.

City defender Esme Morgan said: “Lauren pulled away, scored an incredible goal and grafted on very strong.

“She’s always there fighting and pushing and battling and I heard that Usain Bolt just asked her for her shirt and she’s very impressed.

Morgan added: “Lauren came up to me after the game and said, ‘Esme, guess who just asked for my jersey?’

“I was racking my head through the Chelsea team thinking, ‘who has he had a battle with that he could have wanted it after?’

“When I couldn’t think of anyone, said Usain Bolt. He couldn’t believe it! It must be the rhythm.

Before the match, Man City had drawn six and lost five of their last 11 WSL matches against Chelsea with their last win on record coming in May 2017.

The match was watched by Sarina Wiegman with the England manager as she would be naming her squad ahead of the Lionesses’ matches against Brazil and Australia in April.

Emma Hayes’s side got off to a fast start in attack with Sam Kerr and Lauren James coming into the box within the first two minutes.

But City took control of the first spell capitalizing on a brief clearance with Angeldahl firing on goal at an angle in the first minute on 11 minutes.

Hemp made it 2-0 nineteen minutes later with a well-hit effort with the visitors facing pressure in the final third.

Missing the presence of Millie Bright, who is temporarily sidelined with injury, Chelsea made the changes before halftime.

James and Sophie Ingle gave way to Johanna Rytting Kaneryd and Niamh Charles with Hayes propping up their defense and midfield.

In the second period, the Blues tried to boost their attacking efforts with Maren Mjelde’s stoppage-time shot over the bar, one of their best efforts.

Emma Hayes’s side aim to get back to winning ways when they take on Lyon next in a Champions League quarter-final decider.Credit: Reuters

The result saw the title holders fall to their first WSL defeat of the season ahead of a Champions League quarter-final with Lyon on Thursday.

Chelsea boss Emma Hayes said: “We have to move as quickly as possible.

“I don’t think people realize how difficult it is to get here with our third away game in seven days, really, really difficult.

“We still have one game left, we need to maximize that. It’s fantastic for the league that the title race is like this.”

Taylor agreed that Chelsea could still lose the title, while the recognition had taken a big step forward in their battle to win it.

Gareth Taylor hoping to keep the momentum of Man City’s title quest going when his team visit ArsenalCredit: Reuters

He added: ‘To be in this position now from where we were is great.

“We haven’t done anything yet, we still have some big games to come, six games to go, a lot of challenges ahead, but we go into it with high levels of confidence.

“It’s still the title Chelsea lose if we look at it that way, but it’s a really positive step for us and gives us great confidence for the next term.”


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