Katie Kitching helps extend Sunderland’s Barclays Women’s Championship unbeaten run

Sunderland continued their unbeaten start to the Barclays Women’s Championship season with a 1-0 victory over Durham.

Katie Kitching’s stunning free-kick handed the Lasses another three points and a precious victory over their local rivals.

Charlie Devlin handed Birmingham City a 2-1 win over Reading as Southampton battled against a rallying Sheffield United to grab three points at home.

Meanwhile, London City Lionesses and Crystal Palace both clinched 3-0 wins on the road.

Sunderland stay top

Sunderland took the spoils in the River Wear Derby with a 1-0 victory over Durham to stay top of the Barclays Women’s Championship.

Kitching’s free-kick gave the Lasses the lead on the stroke of half-time at a sold-out Maiden Castle.

Jenna Dear almost doubled her team’s score on 63 minutes, forcing a fingertips save from Tatiana Saunders as she unleashed a ferocious shot on target.

Durham piled on the pressure in the second half as Jess Clarke, in her final game for Durham, saw her shot palmed away by Claudia Moan to deny Durham a leveller in the dying seconds.

The win now sees Sunderland extend their unbeaten streak to nine league games.

Dangerous Devlin sparks win for the Blues

Devlin’s double gave Birmingham City a 2-1 win over Reading for Blues’ fourth win of the campaign.

The midfielder struck twice in the space of eight first-half minutes to put the hosts on top before Deanna Cooper closed the gap after the break.

Devlin broke the deadlock on 28 minutes, twisting and turning to find space before bending a shot into the corner of the Reading goal.

The visitors dropped further behind in the 36th minute as the Royals failed to clear a corner with the ball reaching Devlin who sent another fine shot into the net.

The Royals hit back eight minutes into the second half as Lily Woodham’s corner found Cooper who headed home to cut the difference to one but the Blues held on for the win.

Hughes hands Palace three points

Elise Hughes’ double guided Crystal Palace to a routine 3-0 win at Grosvenor Vale and subjected Watford to their sixth consecutive Championship loss.

The Golden Girls came into the clash looking for their first league points since September but an electric first half from the visitors ensured their testing run would continue.

Hughes needed just three minutes to open the scoring, capitalising on a poor clearance from Hornets keeper Jacqui Goldsmid to put the Eagles in front before confidently heading home Molly-Mae Sharpe’s fine cross for her brace.

Shauna Guyatt then opened her senior account in style, firing home from 30 yards to leave Palace firmly in the ascendancy at halftime, holding on to the win despite a rallying second-half performance from the hosts.

Saints hold on for the win

Sheffield United fell to a hard-fought 2-1 defeat against Southampton at St. Mary’s Stadium.

Jodie Hutton clinched her debut goal for the Blades in an entertaining first half, bookended by goals from Sophia Pharoah and Katie Wilkinson for Saints.

Saints opened the scoring early as Milly Mott delivered a ball to the back post and Pharoah made no mistake in heading it home to put her team ahead in the 13th minute.

A dangerous Hutton was immediately on the attack, cleaning up a loose ball and sending a

brilliant curling effort into the top corner to level the score.

However, the festivities didn’t last long, with Southampton back on top just three minutes later courtesy of Wilkinson’s birthday strike.

With work to do, Blades raced out of the blocks in the second half, but were unable to capitalise on a dominant 45 minutes and ultimately walked away with a loss on the road.

Three for the Lionesses

London City Lionesses roared to a 3-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers to catapult them into seventh in the Women’s Championship.

A second-minute strike from Danielle Carter immediately put the visitors ahead before Maddi Wilde followed up with a header six minutes later to double the score.

Lucy Fitzgerald wrapped up a spritely first-half from the Lionesses with the third and final goal on 20 minutes to seal the deal.

The second half saw several chances for both sides but the Lionesses held strong to claim three points on the road.

Green and red for Charlton and Lewes

Lewes stayed rooted to the bottom of the Women’s Championship after an agonising late defeat against Charlton Athletic at the Dripping Pan on Friday.

Kayleigh Green scored a controversial spot-kick in the 90th minute to move the visitors to second in the table at the end of a feisty encounter which saw both sides finish with 10 players.

The chances kept coming for either side before the interval but the first major talking point of the night arrived on 64 minutes when Kate Longhurst was shown a red for Charlton, with Shauna Vassell also dismissed for Lewes in the same incident.

They finally found a breakthrough with full-time looming, as Green sent Sophie Whitehouse the wrong way from 12 yards.

Lewes tried to find a response with the little time that remained but were unable to find a leveller and they are now without a win in six home league matches.

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