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Lauren James and Khadija Shaw hat-tricks fire WSL leading pair to wins

Lauren James, second right, celebrates with team-mates after completing her hat-trick (Bradley Collyer/PA)
Lauren James, second right, celebrates with team-mates after completing her hat-trick (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Lauren James hit a hat-trick as Chelsea defeated Manchester United 3-1 at Stamford Bridge to regain their three-point advantage at the top of the Women’s Super League.

Emma Hayes’ reigning champions, without the services of Australia striker Sam Kerr for the rest of the season due to an anterior cruciate ligament injury, took the lead in the fifth minute when James fired past England team-mate Mary Earps.

Nathalie Bjorn, making her first WSL start for Chelsea since signing from Everton this month, produced a lovely ball over the top for James to double the hosts’ advantage with a neat low finish in the 23rd minute.

Hayley Ladd pulled one back just before half-time to give Marc Skinner’s visitors hope, but – to the delight of the majority of the 20,473 crowd – James made the points safe in the 85th minute when she broke clear one on one with Earps and made no mistake.

Khadija Shaw also plundered a hat-trick as Manchester City came from behind to rout Liverpool 5-1 and maintain their pursuit of the leaders.

Taylor Hinds gave the visitors a 15th-minute lead at the Joie Stadium when she lobbed retreating goalkeeper Khiara Keating, but Gemma Bonner’s own goal saw City restore parity within three minutes and it was then that Jamaica striker Shaw took over.

She fired the home side ahead 13 minutes before the break after being gifted possession by keeper Teagan Micah and then headed home Chloe Kelly’s cross deep into first-half stoppage time before completing her treble – her third in four WSL games – with a cheeky back-heeled attempt 11 minutes after the restart.

Kelly added the icing to the cake with a 78th-minute penalty after Lauren Hemp had been brought down by Micah to send City back into second place above Arsenal on goal difference and three points behind Chelsea.

At the other end of the table, Elisabeth Terland struck five minutes into stoppage time as Brighton edged out Bristol City in a five-goal thriller.

Terland gaven the home side a first-half lead at the Broadfield Stadium and, after Abi Harrison levelled, Katie Robinson restored Brighton’s advantage from Terland’s through-ball 12 minutes after the restart.

Carrie Jones looked to have snatched a point when she made it 2-2 with seven minutes remaining, but Norway international Terland had other ideas and claimed a victory which lifted her side from 10th place into eighth deep into added time.

Grace Clinton’s brace helped Tottenham beat West Ham 4-3 as stormy conditions contributed to a chaotic but entertaining match at the Chigwell Construction Stadium.

Clinton defied the attentions of several West Ham defenders to fire in a low shot just six minutes in and, although Risa Shimizu’s close-range finish levelled for the hosts, Spurs led at the break thanks to Celin Bitzet’s strike, laid on by Clinton.

Clinton fired through a crowded box to make it 3-1 early in the second half, with West Ham appealing in vain for offside with keeper Mackenzie Arnold unsighted, but as the wind swirled around the stadium, the drama was far from over.

Spurs were unable to deal with Riko Ueki’s low ball as Viviane Asseyi finished from close range and it was level at 3-3 in the 70th minute when Amber Tysiak headed in from a corner.

But five minutes later Jessica Naz hit a low, hard shot which proved to be the winner.