Southampton go top of Barclays Women’s Championship on goal-difference

Barclays Women's Championship - Reading v Southampton - The Select Car Leasing Stadium
Katie Wilkinson of Southampton scores from the spot at Reading. (Tom Phillips / SPP)

Four-goal Southampton moved back to the top of the Barclays Women’s Championship, just goal-difference ahead of Blackburn Rovers.

Durham 1-0 London City Lionesses
Reading 1-4 Southampton
Sheffield United 1-0 Lewes
Birmingham City 0-1 Charlton Athletic
Sunderland 1-1 Crystal Palace
Watford 0-1 Blackburn Rovers

Southampton’s two first-half goals set them up for three points at a previously unbeaten Reading. Molly Pike scored inside 10 minutes for the Saints, controlling a ball over the top and slotting home from the edge of the box. Pike won a penalty win brought down by keeper Emily Orman, Katie Wilkinson firing the spot-kick into the top corner. A deflected Atlanta Primus finish capped a sweeping move for the Saints and Jemma Purfield nodded in a rebound off the bar from a Laura Rafferty shot, before Charlie Estcourt volleyed home a late consolation.

Like the Saints, Blackburn Rovers made it three wins from four, with the only goal of the game on the road at Watford. Jade Richards found the net close to half-time, as Rovers ended the day goal-difference behind the leaders.

Sunderland levelled late on to draw what was the top-of-the-table clash with Crystal Palace. The Eagles were one up in only eight minutes, Annabel Blanchard’s cross headed in by Elise Hughes. But on 90 minutes, Natalie Fenton’s free-kick was headed home by Brianna Westrup for a dramatic equaliser.

Durham responded to last week’s thrashing by defeating London City Lionesses in stoppage-time, thereby leapfrogging them in the table to fifth place. Six minutes into added time, Amy Andrews struck after exchanging passes with Jess Clarke. Andrews had earlier been denied when through one-on-one with keeper Grace Moloney.

Barclays Women's Championship - Durham and London City Lionesses
Durham’s Amy Andrews scoring the winning goal in injury time. (Richard Callis / SPP)

Charlton Athletic got the only goal away to Birmingham City to move into mid-table with their opening win, leaving the Blues winless in four games. The Addicks got in front at St. Andrews around the hour mark, Kayleigh Green forcing a penalty which she buried herself. Minutes later and City’s Jade Pennock was off following a second caution.

Sheffield United picked up a first win of the season, with a narrow victory over Lewes at Bramall Lane. Izzy Goodwin made the breakthrough on 73 minutes for the Blades, set up by Rachel Brown. Lewes had Grace Garrad stretchered off 10 minutes from time following a collision.

There are no Championship fixtures next weekend due to the international break.

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