Bristol City booked their place in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League next season.
Bristol City secured promotion to the Barclays FA Women’s Super League with a 4-0 win against Charlton Athletic at a jubilant Ashton Gate.
Their final home game turned into a party, as Grace Clinton, Abi Harrison, Brooke Aspin and Ffion Morgan all scored to secure a top-flight return and the FA Women’s Championship title.
Elsewhere, there were wins for Birmingham and London City Lionesses, and plenty of goals at Crystal Palace, Southampton and Sheffield United.
ASHTON GATE TREATED TO PROMOTION PARTY
After Birmingham City and London City Lionesses both won earlier in the day, only victory would do for City and they delivered a polished performance in front of a record 7,045 fans.
Goals from Grace Clinton, Abi Harrison, Brooke Aspin and Ffion Morgan made it a serene afternoon and they can now look forward to returning to England’s top tier after two seasons away.
Clinton robbed Kiera Skeels on the edge of the Charlton box and then calmly passed the ball past Sian Rogers to put City ahead, before Harrison scored directly from a corner on her 100th club appearance just after half-time.
The party really got started with 10 minutes to go, as Aspin sealed the points – and promotion – with a header from a corner, before Morgan thundered home a spectacular shot from long range.
BLUES TOO GOOD FOR DURHAM
Charlie Devlin and Lucy Quinn fired Birmingham to a 2-1 win at Durham in their penultimate game of the season.
The dynamic duo both grabbed goals in the first half as the Blues racked up their sixth win on the spin and inflicted a second defeat in a row on their north-east opponents.
Birmingham had been hot on table-topping Bristol City’s heels but the Robins’ 4-0 win over Charlton secured their promotion to the Barclays Women’s Super League later in the afternoon.
Birmingham came flying out of the blocks and took the lead after just three minutes when Quinn’s corner beat Naoisha McAloon and went all the way in.
But Durham looked to hit back as Dee Bradley went close before McAloon then thwarted Claudia Walker’s shot.
But Birmingham netted their second on the stroke of half-time when Devlin expertly fired home into the bottom corner to leave the hosts with a mountain to climb.
LIONESSES CLING ON IN GAME OF TWO HALVES
Karin Muya scored twice as London City Lionesses battled past Blackburn Rovers.
It’s been a promising campaign for Nikita Runnacles’ third-placed side and they scored three times in the first half at Blackburn.
Amy Rodgers broke the deadlock in the 14th minute, firing into the bottom corner after neat work by Lois Joel and Jamie-Lee Napier.
Muya scored her first of the day shortly after, with Kyra Carusa holding the ball up and laying it off for Muya to finish, who then grabbed her second of the day with a firm strike into the bottom corner.
Blackburn threatened a comeback in the second half, as Saffron Jordan’s penalty and Lauren Thomas’ smashed finish set up a thrilling finale.
PALACE EASE PAST LEWES
Goals from Molly-Mae Sharpe, Hollie Olding, Coral-Jade Haines and Rianna Dean gave Crystal Palace a 4-1 win over Lewes at Hayes Lane.
It’s an 11th win of the season for the Eagles, who are chasing fifth place and still yet to draw in 21 games, while Lewes remain seventh and firmly in mid-table.
The hosts made a dream start and took the lead in the third minute, as Sharpe fired her effort into the top corner, before Olding’s matched her with a fierce long-range strike.
Grace Palmer’s penalty cut the gap but Haines scored a penalty of her own and Dean’s late finish secured all three points.
FIRST-HALF BLITZ TOO MUCH FOR SUNDERLAND
Sheffield United made it three wins in a row with a first-half masterclass that was too much for Sunderland to handle at Bramall Lane.
Sophie Haywood, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk, Mia Enderby and Rebecca Rayner all scored before half-time as the Blades cut Sunderland’s defence to ribbons.
The result ensures Sheffield United will finish above Sunderland in the table, with seventh still a possibility. Sunderland can’t finish higher than 10th, but could fall to 11th behind Blackburn after next weekend’s final game.
Sunderland grabbed consolations through Emily Scarr and Elizabeta Ejupi, but their winless run now stands at five games.
WILKINSON HAUNTS FORMER CLUB
Katie Wilkinson struck the opener against her old club as Southampton eased to a 4-0 victory against relegated Coventry United at the Butts Park Arena.
In what was the hosts’ last home game in the Barclays Women’s Championship for the time being, the Saints dominated proceedings as they remained fifth in what has been a satisfying first season for them at this level.
The breakthrough for the Saints came after 52 minutes when former Coventry player Wilkinson sent Heeps the wrong way from the penalty spot after she had been tripped in the area by the goalkeeper.
The visitors doubled their lead four minutes later when Griffiths played the ball through for Pusey, who battled her way past two defenders before finishing calmly past Heeps.
With a comfortable advantage, Southampton continued to dominate until the last and they had their third with seven minutes left when Pharoah’s shot deflected in off Coventry captain Jodie Bartle.
The Saints weren’t finished, however, as they added further gloss two minutes later when Lumsden finished with a slick backheel from Ella Morris’ ball across the six-yard box.