MARC SKINNER hit out at the officiating that saw two Manchester United penalty appeals waved away during their 1-0 loss to Chelsea.
Sam Kerr and Lauren James combined to deadly effect as the Blues dented the Red Devils’ title chase.
A stunning James assist for Kerr’s stylish dinked finish sealed the win ending the Red Devils’ unbeaten run on the road this term
But Skinner reckons his side had cases for two spot-kicks following Kadeisha Buchanan’s and Jess Carter’s challenges on Nikita Parris and Ona Batlle.
The United boss said: “They’re two big decisions. That’s the reality in big games.
“We’ve come here, we’ve had 63% possession and we’ve dominated the ball
“We’ve moved Chelsea into only being able to counter attack and yet we’ve come away having got into the box twice and there were two penalties.
“Two penalties in a game like this are massive.
“When I look over the balance of the last few games, Chelsea get a goal that’s offside the other day, so these are decisions that will make and break where you finish in the table.
“And we say ‘it balances out’, well, I’m hopeful that we see it, but the reality is in the game we should have had two penalties.”
James’ pinpoint assist for Kerr saw Chelsea exploit Man United’s high line with a ball punted over their defence.
Of the goal, Skinner added: “It’s a switch-off moment from us. Sam is really good at invading the backline.
“It’s all we’ve spoken about all week. It’s something we won’t be happy with when we look at it.
“There are different ways to deal with that. If you don’t play a high line at that moment, then they just play in front of you and then go through you anyway.
“The reality is one long ball should be dealt with, and that’s something we have to learn from.”
For the first time a WSL match aired live on the BBC did not feature any BBC Sport presenters or punditry.
The organisation are battling with the fallout of suspending Gary Lineker from Match of the Day following his criticism of the government’s Illegal Immigration Bill.
After the visitors’ early pressure Chelsea got into their stride in attack.
Kerr forced a classy save from Mary Earps in the 11th minute after giving Millie Turner the slip following Melanie Leupolz’s pass forward.
The deadlock was broken 12 minutes later when the Blues hotshot latched onto James’ inch perfect long delivery before lofting the ball over Earps.
United’s attempts to draw level saw them make some drives into the box
Their first spot-kick appeal was waved away by referee Cheryl Foster in the 32nd minute with Buchanan making contact with Parris.
And Batlle went down in the box moments later after a mid-air challenge with Jess Carter before Alessia Russo prompted a save from Ann-Katrin Berger.
The second spell saw Kerr and James fire efforts wide of the post before Skinner brought on Martha Thomas and Rachel Williams for Leah Galton and Ella Toone in the 72nd minute.
This preceded Russo seeing a shot dealt with before the hosts shut up shop shifting to a back five with Madga Eriksson subbed on for Jessie Fleming.
The title holders, who had just six subs on their bench, wrapped up the win without the services of Guro Reiten and Erin Cuthbert
The duo are sidelined by illness and a hamstring injury with Chelsea also without Fran Kirby, Pernillle Harder and Katerina Svitkova also out.
Boss Emma Hayes, who was in the dugout following a viral bug, said: “Sometimes other teams get a hall pass for injured players.
“We’ve been without Fran Kirby and Pernille Harder (injured) for almost the entirety of the season.
“This team deserves huge credit as a whole.
“That’s our third game in a week, it’s three points, we’ve done it and we’ve had illness and injuries in the squad.
“To perform like that, is exactly what I’ve said every week about why the squad matters.
“Players have come into the team and delivered.
“We kept a clean sheet today after an underwhelming performance last weekend against Arsenal
“Erin had a tight hamstring and was not ready for today, Guro was chucking her guts up at home and Jelena was not fit to start.
“There’s players inside the dressing room that are hanging on, there might be a bit of a bug.
“The difference for me is the squad game. Because even if we had three or four subs available the players on the pitch did the job.”
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