Chelsea replaced Manchester United at the Women’s Super League summit as Emma Hayes’ defending champions won 3-2 at Tottenham.
After Jess Carter’s early header had been cancelled out by former Chelsea forward Bethany England in the 16th minute, Lauren James restored the visitors’ advantage with a fine solo effort just before the half-hour mark.
Guro Reiten added a third for Hayes’ side on 64 minutes, with Nikola Karczewska reducing the deficit with two minutes of normal time remaining but Spurs were unable to avoid a sixth successive league defeat.
Chelsea moved two points clear at the top, with United having been held to a 0-0 draw at Leigh Sports Village by fifth-placed Everton.
Lucia Garcia and Alessia Russo – playing for the first time since United rejected a world-record bid for her from Arsenal on transfer deadline day – saw efforts hit the bar and go narrowly wide respectively in the first half, and Ella Toone then struck a post after the break.
Everton goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan made a number of saves as well, while the hosts were almost punished for a mistake at the back late on as Jess Park shot wide.
Arsenal also had to settle for a point from a goalless draw at West Ham.
That took the Gunners back above Manchester City into third place and they are five points behind Chelsea and three behind United, with a game in hand over both.
Liverpool rose to eighth, pushing Tottenham down to ninth, with a 2-0 home win over 11th-placed Reading.
Missy Bo Kearns and Ceri Holland scored in quick succession just after the hour as the Royals, who are four points better off than bottom side Leicester, suffered their fourth league loss in a row.
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