Kerr's WSL record bid ends in Chelsea win

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Only the crossbar has prevented Sam Kerr from improving her remarkable goalscoring sequence in the Women's Super League.

But despite missing out on the chance of hitting the target for an eighth league match in a row, the Matildas captain was still all smiles on Sunday after her Chelsea side eked out a critical 1-0 win at Birmingham.

Kerr had been in line to match the record of nine consecutive scoring matches, set by her Chelsea teammate Beth England, if she'd netted in the last two games of the season.

But though she earned a rare blank after crashing an early shot against the woodwork, Chelsea's nervy but hard-earned victory was the only thing that mattered to Kerr as they moved four points clear and on the verge of successfully defending their title.

The champions have just one match left, a tough one at home to third-placed Manchester United next Sunday, and will make it three titles in a row should they emerge victorious.

But any slip up would still let in Chelsea's London rivals Arsenal, who, with Kerr's Matilda colleagues Caitlin Foord, Steph Catley and Lydia Williams in their ranks, could then still take the title with two more wins.

Before Chelsea's match, Arsenal had beaten Aston Villa 7-0, featuring a couple of goals from Kerr's Dutch Golden Boot rival Vivianne Miedema, to put the pressure on the Blues.

It looked as if it would be no problem for Chelsea as they started brightly and Kerr swivelled brilliantly to strike a fierce left-footed shot against the bar.

But they got bogged down as it began to teem with rain, looked short on ideas and created painfully few opportunities.

Kerr had scored nine times in her previous seven WSL games but, uncharacteristically, rushed her best chance in 65th minute and looked irritated to screw her shot wide.

Six minutes later, though, the visitors got lucky when awarded a penalty after Birmingham defender Lisa Robertson handled a cross with her back to goal, allowing Dane Pernille Harder to convert coolly from the spot.

Even then, Birmingham came close to an equaliser in the dying minutes, with goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger thwarting Emily Whelan.

Kerr came off five minutes from time, offering a smile as she accepted that her chance of the record was gone.

But her team can claim the title on Wednesday if Arsenal lose to local rivals Tottenham.

Still, the likelihood is for the title race to go down to the final Sunday with the Gunners at West Ham.

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