BY PAUL LAGAN
Erin Cuthbert sparred Chelsea’s blushes by scoring a brace to keep they Blues in the title hunt – just in their 2-2 draw with rugged Birmingham City at Kingsmeadow.
The Scotland international pout the B;uses ahead with a thumping header and after letting the visitors take control to lead 2-1, up she stepped to score direct from a free-kick with minutes left on the clock.
Within 30m seconds of the start, Bethany England controlled a long ball from Erin Cuthbert, and unleashed a powerful, goal-bound drive from just inside the Birmingham penalty area. Goalkeeper Hannah Hampton was well positioned to grab the ball.
The Blues scored a wonderful opening goal on 13 minutes. Skipper Karen Carney chased down a seemingly lost ball down on the left. She managed to keep it in on the byline, before sending in the perfect cross for Erin Cuthbert to power home a diving header that rasped past Hampton.
Scotland international Cuthbert won’t be pleased within her effort that should haves notched up number two on 31 minutes. After a period of sustained pressure on the Brum goal, she scooped a left footer high over Hampton’s crossbar.
Spence’s low, easing drive two minutes later was, on target and well held by Hampton.
With their first attack, The visitors equalised, with Emma Follis tucking home a ball from then right, past the hapless Carly Telford.
Birmingham are only then second slide to have scored against the Blues, in the league, this season – Arsenal the other side.
Chelsea did not make any changes at half-time.
Birmingham missed a sitter on 53 minutes. Emma Follis broke the offside trap, raced clear but somehow screwed her shot just wide of Telford’s right post.
Emma Hayes decided she had seen enough on 60 minutes, of the visitors’ dominance, and opted to bring on Fran Kirby and Ramona Bachmann – off came Spence and England.
Within seconds, however a speculative lob by Lucy Quinn from 30 yards sailed over Telford and into the back of the net to put Birmingham 2-1 up.
Bachmann entered referee Henley Copley’s book for a needless foul.
Carney was scarified on 69 minutes for Jess Carter.
Chelsea’s worse second half of the season looked like they were conceding the title in the limpish way possible, when up stepped Cuthbert again with 10 minutes on the clock . She sent in the free-kick from then left hand side of the Brim area and it dipped in front of Hampton, who lost their bearings, allowing the ball to zip under her body into and into the back of the net.
Teams: Chelsea, Telford, Blundell, Ingle, Asante, Carney, Ji,England, Eriksson, Andersson, Cuthbert, Spence
Subs: Berger, Carter, Kirby, Engman, Mjelde, Cooper, bachmann
Birmingham City: Hampton, Williams, Sergeant, Ladd, Harrop, Arthur, Quinn, Follis, Wellings, Mannion, Staniforth
Subs: Brooks, Mayling, White, Emerson, Scofield, Walker, Hayles