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The Blues fought back to come from behind and beat Manchester United 4-2 at Kingsmeadow on the last day of the season, ensuring the WSL trophy will be staying in west London for another year. The dramatic last day summed up a challenging season perfectly, as Hayes’ side once again overcame adversity to be crowned champions.

Sam Kerr scored two stunning volleys in the second half as the Blues came from behind to beat Manchester United 4-2. It was a victory that saw Chelsea become the first team to win three WSL titles in a row. Sam Kerr showed why she was crowned the football writers’ player of the year this week with two stunning volleys in the second half as the Blues roared back from twice going behind before the break.

“In the first half I thought we were a bit nervous. I definitely felt nervous,” said Kerr.

“In the second half it was just about playing how we play. That’s why we’re champions – when we play like that no one can stop us.”

Kerr scored her 20th goal of the season to secure the WSL Golden Boot for a second straight year, and it was arguably even better than the one she’d scored at the start of the half. The celebrations that followed showed that Chelsea knew the job was almost done, although there was still 25 minutes left on the clock.

By this stage, though, Chelsea were in complete control, and the result was rarely in doubt.

The performance in the second half had truly been that of champions, and the final whistle confirmed as much.

Arsenal, who beat West Ham United 2-0, finished second on 56 points, one behind Chelsea, and Manchester City grabbed the final Champions League spot by beating Reading to finish third.

Birmingham City were the only side relegated from the 12-team division, and they will be replaced next season by Liverpool. Martha Thomas gave Manchester United the lead with a deft header from Katie Zelem’s free-kick, and although Erin Cuthbert levelled four minutes later, Chelsea went in 2-1 down at the break after Ella Toone’s deflected strike for the visitors.

The Blues bounced back in the second half, with Australian Kerr levelling again in the first minute with a thunderous left-footed volley, and Norwegian winger Guro Reiten put them in front with a deft finish five minutes later. Kerr put the game beyond reach with a brilliant finish in the 66th minute, chesting the ball down and twisting to volley home after a poor clearance from United goalkeeper Mary Earps.