Chelsea’s record-breaking run ended by shock Brighton defeat

Leaders Chelsea’s record-breaking 33-game unbeaten run in the Women’s Super League came to an end as they were stunned 2-1 by Brighton at Kingsmeadow.

After Manchester United’s surprise defeat to Reading in the early kick-off, reigning champions Chelsea came out of the blocks quickly and opened the scoring after just five minutes. Sam Kerr looped a header over Megan Walsh from Erin Cuthbert’s pinpoint delivery from a corner.

The lead lasted just two minutes, though, as Brighton equalised from a corner of their own. Aileen Whelan thundered a header past Carly Telford from Megan Connolly’s centre.

Chelsea moved the ball sharply as they looked to restore their lead as the snow swirled around Kingsmeadow, but Brighton stuck to their task well and went in all square at the break.

With Hope Powell’s Seagulls staying compact and battling hard, Emma Hayes turned to her bench 10 minutes into the second half.

Record signing Pernille Harder almost put the Blues ahead after 75 minutes but she could only hook the ball onto the right-hand post after good work down the left from Jonna Andersson.

Brighton won a corner from the resulting attack and took a shock lead when Telford could only palm Connolly’s inswinging corner into her own net in the 77th minute.

Chelsea piled on the pressure in the closing stages but Brighton’s heroic back-line stood firm and they headed back to the south coast with a hard-fought three points.

The Blues stay top of the table on goal difference but have a game in hand on United.

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