Sunderland Women re-open three-point lead in Championship

Sunderland's matchwinner, Katie Kitching
Katie Kitching was Sunderland’s matchwinner against Durham. (Richard Callis / SPP)

Sunderland are three points clear in the Barclays Women’s Championship after winning a derby clash in front of a sell-out crowd at Durham. 

Durham 0-1 Sunderland
Birmingham City 2-1 Reading
Blackburn Rovers 0-3 London City Lionesses
Southampton 2-1 Sheffield United
Watford 0-3 Crystal Palace

Sunderland re-opened a three point lead at the top of the table, striking at the end of the first half. Katie Kitching whipped a free-kick into the top corner, which proved enough, although Jess Clarke was denied a 90th-minute equaliser as Claudia Moan made a big save.

Barclays FA Womens Championship - Southampton vs Sheffield United - St Marys Stadium.
Lexi Lloyd-Smith (7 Southampton) in action against Sheffield United. (Tom Phillips / SPP)

Southampton are back up to second on goal-difference, having seen off Sheffield United despite the visitors cancelling out the opener. Sophie Pharoah headed the Saints in front, Jodie Hutton levelled from outside the box but the Saints retook the lead through Katie Wilkinson.

London City Lionesses climbed two places to seventh and a point behind hosts Blackburn Rovers, whom they defeated with three goals in the first 20 minutes.  Maddi Wilde played in Danielle Carter to score the first, getting the second herself with a header from an Emma Mukandi cross, before Lucy Fitzgerald also got on the scoresheet.

Watford and Crystal Palace - Barlclays FA Womens Championship
Crystal Palace forward Elise Hughes scores the opening goal against Watford. (Stephen Flynn/SPP)

Three first-half goals sealed victory for Crystal Palace at Watford. Mollie Sharpe intercepted a back pass to play in Elise Hughes to round the Watford keeper and slot home. The same pair combined again, as Hughes headed in a cross from Sharpe, before Shauna Guyatt rifled in her first senior goal for Palace from 30 yards.

A Charlie Devlin double gave Birmingham City the points against Reading, as her side moved up to fifth spot. Devlin curled home the opener for Birmingham City before the half-hour mark, not long after she returned the clearance from a corner to net her second. The Blues had a goal ruled out after the interval, Reading then replying as Lily Woodham’s corner was buried by Deana Cooper’s powerful header.

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