Chelsea defeat Everton to cement top spot in WSL as Manchester City slip up against Brighton

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Chelsea shrugged aside the attention surrounding Emma Hayes’ impending departure with a 3-0 win at Everton to consolidate their lead at the top of the Women’s Super League.

Jessie Fleming’s opener was followed by goals from Sam Kerr and former Everton loanee Aggie Beever-Jones as the London side eased to victory over a spirited Toffees side who caused the champions plenty of first-half problems.

Chelsea, who were playing for the first time since the announcement last weekend that Hayes will step down at the end of the season after 12 years as manager, remained clear of the chasing pack as a result.

That is due in part to a surprise defeat for Manchester City, who headed into the weekend in second place and three points adrift of the leaders.

Lee Geum-min returned to haunt her former club when she fired Brighton to a 1-0 win over Gareth Taylor’s team at the City Football Academy.

The South Korea international scored the game’s only goal nine minutes from time as title hopefuls City were made to pay for not making the most of their dominance and slipped to a second successive league defeat in the process.

Manchester United made no such mistake, routing West Ham 5-0 to leapfrog their neighbours.

United stunned the Hammers with a fast start and then killed them off with a late flurry as they surged to a victory in torrential rain at Leigh Sports Village.

First-half goals from Geyse, Millie Turner and Nikita Parris put the hosts in charge by the break, and late strikes from substitutes Lucia Garcia and Melvine Malard wrapped up a comprehensive triumph.

Sophie Roman Haug’s second-half header ensured Liverpool emerged from their trip to Tottenham with something to show for their efforts.

Celine Bizet Ildhusoy had fired the hosts ahead with a stunning solo effort at Brisbane Road, but the Norway striker levelled as the sides who started the day in third and fourth places respectively ended it with a 1-1 draw.

Late goals from England international Rachel Daly and Ebony Salmon handed Aston Villa their first points of the season courtesy of a 2-0 victory at Bristol City.

In a game of few clear-cut chances between the division’s bottom two sides, Daly broke the deadlock with 14 minutes remaining before substitute Salmon struck four minutes from time to secure three priceless points which lifted Villa from the foot of the table on goal difference.

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