18.02.2024

Dear double fires Sunderland top of the table

Jenna Dear’s late double sent Sunderland top of the Barclays Women’s Championship while Crystal Palace moved up to second.

Bottom side Lewes looked prime to spring a surprise against Sunderland before falling to a heart-breaking 4-3 defeat which allowed the Lasses to go top.

They sit one point clear of Palace, who were 4-0 winners over Blackburn Rovers, while Southampton kept up their push for promotion with a 2-1 win over Birmingham City.

Charlton’s clash with Reading was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, with the Addicks surrendering their spot at the top of the table as a result – they are now fourth, such is the tight nature of the league.

Last but not least, London City Lionesses were twice pegged back in a 2-2 draw with Durham.

Dear late show sends Sunderland top

Jenna Dear rescued three points for Sunderland with two goals deep in stoppage time in a seven-goal thriller against Lewes.

An early own goal from Amy Goddard had put the visitors in front, only for Emily Scarr to equalise immediately for Sunderland.

Brianna Westrup headed the title contenders in front but Hollie Olding’s penalty ensured it was 2-2 at the break.

A fine goal from Reanna Blades gave Lewes the chance of all three points from a long trip north, but two late strikes from Dear, in the 95th and 97th minute, turned the game on its head and sent Sunderland top of the table.

Palace make a statement

Crystal Palace moved up to second in the table thanks to an emphatic 4-0 win over Blackburn Rovers.

Annabel Blanchard fired the Eagles into the lead at Gander Green Lane after just seven minutes and they then pulled clear with three second-half goals.

Blanchard nodded home the opener early on, but while Palace continued to threaten, they led by just one at the break.

Izzy Atkinson doubled the lead shortly after half-time, as she was fastest to react to Shanade Hopcroft’s dangerous corner.

Chloe Arthur then made it three with four minutes remaining, before Hopcroft got on the scoresheet in stoppage time.

Saints fight back for crucial win

Katie Wilkinson completed a fine comeback win for Southampton, who came away 2-1 winners from their trip to Birmingham City.

Ivana Fuso gave the Blues the lead after five minutes, getting onto Lily Agg’s ball before rolling the ball under the keeper.

But Molly Pike curled in a stunning equaliser on the stroke of half-time to level proceedings.

Wilkinson then hit the woodwork from a free-kick in the second half, but eventually got the deserved winner, bundling home a loose ball from Atlanta Primus’ dangerous cross into the box.

Saints are now third with this win, while Birmingham have lost three straight in all competitions following an eight-game win streak.

Durham display fighting spirit on the road

Sarah Robson’s last-gasp equaliser rescued a point for Durham on the road at London City Lionesses.

The experienced midfielder rose highest to nod home Beth Hepple’s corner in stoppage time and level the score at 2-2 to seal a thrilling end to a pulsating encounter in Kent.

The Wildcats twice came from behind to earn a share of the spoils, with Lionesses taking the lead after 14 minutes through an own goal following Nicole Douglas’ shot.

Durham responded almost immediately, Saoirse Noonan crashing a shot against the bar and Hepple seeing a shot cleared off the line before Amy Andrews pulled the visitors level after charging down keeper Grace Moloney’s clearance.

It took until five minutes from time for the breakthrough, with Lotta Lindstrom scoring what seemed to be the winner for Lionesses with a fine turn and finish on the edge of the box.

Durham’s hopes of a draw looked to be dashed when Grace Ayre was denied by a last-ditch challenge but Robson headed home with just seconds remaining to ensure a point returned to the north east.

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