Crystal Palace confirmed as Championship winners on entertaining final day

Crystal Palace will play Women’s Super League football next season after being confirmed as Barclays Women’s Championship winners on an entertaining final day.

Palace were all-but assured of promotion due to their vastly superior goal difference and a 0-0 draw with Sunderland was enough to see them reach the top flight for the first time in their history.

The visitors actually came closest to breaking the deadlock when Demi Lambourne made a superb save from Ellen Jones’ effort from close range.

Palace’s best chance came on 36 minutes with Molly-Mae Sharpe narrowly unable to head home a corner from Felicity Gibbons.

Both sides were unable to break the door down and with their final-day fate in their own fans, Palace did enough to seal promotion in front of a club record crowd of 6,796 at Selhurst Park.

Charlton finish strong

Charlton had to settle for second despite a 2-0 victory over Southampton.

Superb work from Tegan McGowan put the hosts ahead after just three minutes as she dispossessed Kayla Rendell in goal for the visitors to tap into an empty net.

The Addicks’ Beth Roe then made an outstanding challenge to deny a certain Saints goal and they had to ride their luck to go in ahead at half time.

Molly Pike clipped the crossbar as Charlton started the second half strongly and had room to breathe after McGowan completed her brace after a brilliant run and finish.

The teenager came close to completing her hat-trick but was denied a subline solo third by England call-up Rendell.

Watford bow out in style

Relegated Watford defeated Reading 3-2 to end their stay in the second tier with a flourish.
Carly Johns and Andria Georgiou struck before the break and Coral-Jade Haines added a third either side of goals from Madison Perry.

The deadlock was broken after 16 minutes when Poppy Wilson drove into the final third and slipped a deft pass through for fellow forward Johns who made no mistake with the finish.

Annie Rossiter then saw her strike pushed onto the crossbar before a wicked strike from midfielder Georgiou doubled Watford’s lead in half-time stoppage time.

Perry handed Reading a lifeline shortly before Haines fired into the top corner to re-establish a two-goal cushion.

Perry reduced the deficit again late on, but Watford saw out 12 minutes of added time to close out a tough season with a win.

Rovers roar past Blades

Blackburn Rovers cruised to a 3-1 win over Sheffield United to cement a top-half finish.

Molly Graham opened the scoring for the Blades but goals from Hannah Coan, Lauren Thomas and Hannah Silcock hauled Rovers to victory.

Graham’s first senior goal pushed United ahead when she headed home Jodie Hutton’s corner after 18 minutes.

Sixth-placed Rovers levelled against seventh-placed United 15 minutes later courtesy of a header from defender Coan.

That was how it stayed until half time but Rovers hit the front for the first time two minutes after the restart when forward Thomas struck a hammer blow.

Blackburn hit the woodwork through Lucy Shepherd but defender Silcock made sure of the points 20 minutes from time when flicking home a free-kick.

Lionesses edge Charlton

London City Lionesses edged relegated Lewes 3-2 in a final day thriller at Princes Park.

Lewes dominated the early stages with Lois Roche and Grace Riglar both going close before Aimee Claypole turned home following a goalmouth scramble.

City soon equalised courtesy of a stunner from Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah, the forward picking out the top corner from range.

The hosts then completed a first-half turnaround through Danielle Carter and pushed clear on 55 minutes when Emma Mukandi slammed home.

Riglar halved the deficit just a couple of minutes later to set up a nervy last half hour but Lewes were unable to force an equaliser and had Sophie Whitehouse to thank for an excellent save to keep them within touching distance.

The Lionesses finish eighth, while Lewes will start next season in the Women’s National League after their relegation was confirmed last weekend.

Durham climb to ninth

Durham signed off their season on a high with a 1-0 win over Birmingham City.

Sarah Wilson’s second-half strike was enough for her side to round off their campaign on a winning note at Maiden Castle.

Durham have struggled in the second half of the season and this was their first win in 10 games, their last victory a narrow 1-0 success against Southampton on 17 December.

Saoirse Noonan had the first chance when she prodded Beth Hepple’s cross narrowly wide on 21 minutes.

They threatened the visiting goal once again when Grace Ayre saw her low shot held by Lucy Thomas.

The winner came on 55 minutes when Wilson rose highest to head into the top corner.

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