Title favourites Manchester City stunned by rivals Arsenal’s late double

Arsenal stunned Women’s Super League leaders Manchester City with a late turnaround to win 2-1 and blow open the title race.

A midweek loss for champions Chelsea at Liverpool put City in the driving seat to press home their advantage at the summit.

Victory for Gareth Taylor’s team over Arsenal would have moved them on to 55 points and meant they needed only a point from their final-day fixture at Aston Villa on May 18 to claim the league championship.

However, Lauren Hemp’s 17th-minute opener was cancelled out by Gunners’ substitute Stina Blackstenius a minute from time before the Arsenal forward completed her brace three minutes later.

It silenced the home crowd at Joie Stadium and ended City’s run of 14 successive league wins to provide another twist in the title race.

City – without WSL leading scorer Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw – looked on course to put one hand on the trophy when Hemp rifled home  after the visitors had failed to deal with a ball into the area.

Hemp celebrated with retiring captain Steph Houghton, but Taylor elected against bringing on the former England skipper for a farewell appearance at City’s home stadium.

Opposite number Jonas Eidevall did turn to his bench with Arsenal trailing and substitute Blackstenius equalised with 89 minutes on the clock when she poked home after pinball in the City area.

Worse was to follow for the leaders as three minutes later Kim Little curled in for Blackstenius to head into the bottom corner to silence the home crowd and leave City’s title hopes in the balance.

Liverpool claimed a decisive victory in the battle for a top-four finish after Jenna Clark’s first-half header downed Manchester United.

United, who will play in the FA Cup final in a week, occupied fourth spot on goal difference before kick-off, but they suffered a narrow 1-0 loss to drop below their rivals in the table.

Clark nodded in the only goal of the game at the back post from a fine Marie-Therese Hobinger cross, ensuring Liverpool marked their final appearance at Prenton Park with a win.

West Ham and Leicester played out a 1-1 draw in the battle at the bottom between two teams already safe from relegation.

Riko Ueki drilled in for the hosts after 13 minutes in Dagenham, but visiting Leicester claimed a point after Sophie Howard powered home at the near post from a corner in the 36th minute.