Crystal Palace step up Barclays Women’s Championship title push

Barclays Womens Championship - Southampton vs Crystal Palce - St Marys Stadium
Katie Wilkinson (9 Southampton) and Hayley Nolan (15 Crystal Palace) in action. (Tom Phillips / SPP)

Crystal Palace won away to Southampton to leapfrog them into third spot in the Barclays Women’s Championship, as all their title rivals dropped points.

Durham 2-5 Sheffield United
London City Lionesses 0-1 Blackburn Rovers
Reading 1-0 Sunderland
Charlton Athletic 1-1 Lewes
Southampton 1-2 Crystal Palace
Watford 2-0 Birmingham City

Crystal Palace moved within three points of leaders Charlton with a game in hand, following their victory at St Mary’s Stadium. Palace led when Annabel Blanchard’s pass was tucked away by Izzy Atkinson and they doubled the advantage in first-half added time through Elise Hughes, who followed up Molly-Mae Sharpe’s shot against the post. Saints halved the deficit with 14 minutes left, Lucia Kendall poking the ball home from Paige Peake’s whipped free-kick.

Barclays FA Womens Championship - Southampton vs Crystal Palce - St Marys Stadium
Izzy Atkinson (77 Crystal Palace) in action at Southampton. (Tom Phillips / SPP)

Despite a very creditable draw away to Championship leaders Charlton Athletic, Lewes slipped to the foot of the table. The Rooks scored on the break just before half-time, Chelsea loanee Aimee Claypole teed up on the edge of the box to slot home. But Tegan McGowan got the Addicks back on level terms with 11 minutes remaining.

Watford beat title-hopefuls Birmingham City to move off the bottom and just a goal short of climbing out of the relegation zone. Michelle Agyemang entered play midway through the second half and took just four minutes to score, winning possession to advance into the box and slot home. Annie Rossiter sent Agyemang away down the flank and the Arsenal loanee went on to double her and the Hornets’ tally.

Barclays Womens Championship - Watford v Birmingham City - Grosvenor Vale
Claudia Walker (21 Birmingham City) goes for goal against Watford. (Pedro Porru / SPP)

Reading took all three points in a fine win against second-placed Sunderland. Madison Perry came off the bench midway through the second half for the Royals and ten minutes later scored the game’s only goal.

Sheffield United came from two down to win 5-2 away to Durham. Beth Hepple played in Amy Andrews for Durham’s opener and the roles were reversed in making it 2-0 on 20 minutes. Tara Bourne quickly replied with a header from Bex Rayner’s free kick, then won a penalty which Izzy Goodwin converted close to the break. Seconds after the restart Jess Sigsworth put the Blades ahead, with Goodwin again netting from the spot after she was taken down by keeper Naoisha McAloon, before completing her hat-trick in stoppage time.

Blackburn Rovers took the points with a first-half effort at London City Lionesses. Alex Brooks saved a fourth-minute penalty from Jess Carter, before her long kick found Lucy Shepherd who found the net for an interval lead. Shepherd won a penalty after the interval but Katie Bradley’s spot-kick was wide. Rovers moved into the top half of the table, London City left goal-difference above the bottom two.

Jamaican international Jade Bailey joins London City Lionesses


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