Sunderland Women win derby thriller, London City victorious at The Valley

Barclays Womens Championship - Charlton Athletic v London City Lionesses - The Valley
Ruesha Littlejohn (London City Lionesses) is tackled by Kate Longhurst (Charlton Athletic). (James Whitehead / SPP)

Barclays Women’s Championship leaders Sunderland win eight-goal thriller, London City Lionesses stun title-chasing Charlton Athletic.

Birmingham City 2-0 Lewes.
Blackburn Rovers 2-1 Southampton
Charlton Athletic 1-2 London City Lionesses
Crystal Palace 3-0 Watford
Sheffield United 5-1 Reading
Sunderland 5-3 Durham (Att: 1,477)

Sunderland came out on top in a derby thriller with Durham, to remain in pole position by a single point. They struck twice in a five-minute spell after the half-hour mark, Emily Scarr’s opener added to with Mary McAteer’s touch to a Jenna Dear delivery. Mollie Lambert halved the deficit before the break from Amy Andrews’ cut-back, the Black Cats’ lead disappearing by the hour mark when Lily Crosthwaite threaded the ball through for Lambert to net again. McAteer got them back ahead, only for Beth Hepple to make it 3-3 with a free kick, before Dear gave Sunderland a 4-3 lead from outside the box. Katy Watson came off the bench to make it 5-3 from a ball by Katie Kitching.

Charlton Athletic’s title hopes took a knock with London City Lionesses very late comeback. Rebecca McKenna set up Melisa Filis to fire the Addicks one up in only five minutes. The one goal was to prove insufficient, as not only on 89 minutes did Lotta Lindström powered a header into the back of the hosts’ net but Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah went one-on-one with Jessica Gray to squeeze in a dramatic winner.

Crystal Palace kept up the pressure on the leaders, over whom they have a game in hand, while adding to Watford’s relegation worries. The Eagles made a flying start with two goals in 11 minutes, Molly-Mae Sharpe on the follow-up to an Elise Hughes effort before a 25-yard Ria Percival strike. Palace got a third after the break through Annabel Blanchard, following up a Hughes effort that was cleared off the line.

Crystal Palace v Watford - Barclays Women's Championship
Fliss Gibbons of Crystal Palace is challenged by Harley Sophie Bennett of Watford at Selhurst Park. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Birmingham City gained some ground in the title race with victory over Lewes, moving up to third on goal-difference. Charlie Devlin volleyed the Blues ahead from the edge of the area, two minutes after the interval Claudia Walker turned in a Jade Moore cross for City’s second.

Barclays Womens Championship - Birmingham City v Lewes - St Andrews
Claudia Walker (Birmingham) celebrates scoring the second goal. (Natalie Mincher/SPP)

Southampton’s promotion push suffered a set-back in defeat at Blackburn Rovers. Meg Hornby struck twice in the first dozen minutes at Ewood Park, Molly Pike pulling one back for the Saints before the interval.

Sheffield United ran out 5-1 winners over Reading. Ashley Hodson’s cross forced an own-goal from the Royals’ Jessie Stapleton, Tara Bourne headed in a Bex Rayner free kick to give the Blades a 2-0 lead. Jess Woolley crossed for Madison Perry to bring Reading back into it after the hour mark. Goodwin grabbed a quick double, heading in a Rayner free kick and scoring from a Rachel Brown pass. Rayner then added a goal of her own, as her set-piece flew straight in.

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