Chelsea 2 Birmingham City 3
In a title race as taut as this one, there is no margin for error, and for Chelsea this was a slip-up the reigning champions could have barely afforded.
Erin Cuthbert’s 84th-minute leveller – a free-kick from out wide that boomeranged into the far corner – looked to have spared Chelsea’s blushes after those 30 second-half minutes where Birmingham, hugely impressive under new manager Marta Tejedor, became the first side to score past Chelsea since Arsenal in October.
In the end, Birmingham managed to do it three times, each goal more emphatic than the last. It culminated in an electrifying finale as Birmingham’s Ellen White, in her first since September 9th, floated in a 93rd-minute volley that crashed beyond Carly Telford to cap off a mightily impressive debut for Tejedor.
It would be foolish to rule out entirely the prospect of a squad as rich in talent and depth as Emma Hayes’ from mounting a late surge, but as it stands Chelsea linger six points behind leaders Manchester City and it is hard to escape the feeling that they may have just left themselves with too much to do.
Cuthbert’s lifeline had revitalised Chelsea, who probed with menace as they searched for a late winner. Each last-gasp break would be met with a Birmingham counter, both teams hurtling into chances and challenges like drivers swerving into hairpin bends.