Sam Kerr scores dazzler as Chelsea roar to top of WSL
Sam Kerr has conjured up some beautiful goals in England's Women's Super League but few that have matched the brilliance of her latest virtuoso effort for Chelsea against Manchester United.
The Matildas superstar was at her most deadly in the table-topping clash at her happy Kingsmeadow hunting ground, delighting the home fans on Sunday with an extraordinary 23rd minute winner that thrusts Chelsea to the top of the WSL.
Kerr had, surprisingly, spurned a couple of early chances when one-on-one with United goalkeeper Mary Earps, who thwarted her with excellent saves.
But there was nothing the England keeper could do to prevent Kerr beating her with her next exquisite piece of skill.
The Australian controlled a superb long pass forward from Lauren James on her chest before letting the ball bounce twice and lobbing it perfectly over the advancing Earps from a narrow angle into the corner of the net.
"Lauren's an amazing player, her vision is underrated. We just had eye contact and she just knew to put it in behind United's defence. It came off and I'm just glad it got us over the line," Kerr told Chelsea TV.
It may not have been quite as spectacular as the lobbed effort she had netted against United to seal Chelsea's WSL league triumph on the last day of the season last year but it was yet more evidence of how she seems to raise her game against this particular team.
Her 22nd goal of the season in all competitions was also Kerr's seventh against United in six WSL appearances as champions Chelsea leapfrogged the Red Devils to move two points clear at the top.
Chelsea saw less of the ball then their visitors but Kerr was a constant threat and could have added to her tally if not for some desperate last-ditch defending from United.
"It was a big performance from the team. Obviously, I scored, but so many people stepped up today," said Kerr, who'd been left downcast a week earlier when Chelsea lost the league Cup final to Arsenal.
"But that's when we play our best, when we've got our backs against the wall."
Manchester City are third in the table, also two points ahead of Chelsea but the Blues have a game in hand on both their Manchester chasers.
City won 2-1 at Brighton with Khadija Shaw scoring twice, taking her to 15 goals for the season, which means she's likely to take this season's 'golden boot' as top scorer away from Kerr, who took the award in each of the past two campaigns.