:Chelsea’s England forward Lauren James scored a superb hat-trick to secure a 3-1 win over Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Sunday and keep her side clear at the top of the Women’s Super League but it was far from plain sailing for the hosts.
James got her first goal in the fifth minute with a close-range finish and doubled the tally with a superb first-time strike midway through the first half.
The visitors pulled a goal back through Hayley Ladd two minutes before the break and dominated much of the second half, with the referee denying them two strong shouts for penalties.
That set the scene for 22-year-old James to net her third four minutes from time to leave Chelsea on 28 points, three ahead of second-placed Manchester City, who thrashed visitors Liverpool 5-1, and third-placed Arsenal after 11 games of the 22-game league season.
Bristol City missed the chance to move off the bottom when they conceded a stoppage-time goal at Brighton & Hove Albion to slump to a 3-2 defeat that leaves them behind West Ham United, who lost a 4-3 thriller to Tottenham Hotspur in Sunday’s late game, on goal difference.
The WSL resumed on Friday after the winter break with Aston Villa winning 1-0 at Leicester City, while Arsenal beat Everton 2-1 on Saturday.