Maren Mjelde’s controversial first-half penalty set reigning Women’s Super League champions Chelsea on their way to victory in a lively tussle with last season’s runners-up Manchester City.
Mjelde slotted home after City’s Ellen White was penalised for handball, although the ball struck Demi Stokes.
But fortunate as their opener was, Chelsea dominated the second half.
Sam Kerr tapped in a second and, after Chloe Kelly’s penalty gave City hope, Kirby’s composed finish made it 3-1.
England striker Kirby, playing wide on the right, was the standout performer in a stylish win that extends Chelsea’s unbeaten WSL run to 25 games and takes them up to third in the table after four games.
A thrilling first league meeting between the two sides this season went the same way as Chelsea’s 2-0 Community Shield success in August.
City, who are fifth