31.03.2024

Palace hit five in Barclays Women’s Championship

Crystal Palace Women

Crystal Palace produced a statement 5-1 victory over Durham as the title race continued apace in the Barclays Women’s Championship.

Palace took all three points in emphatic fashion in the early kick-off to leave their promotion rivals knowing exactly what was required.

Sunderland and Southampton both won, while Charlton beat Birmingham City 3-1 in a crucial battle at the top.

Elsewhere, Blackburn Rovers and Sheffield United both earned wins to establish some comfort in mid table.

Five-star Palace

Annabel Blanchard scored twice for Crystal Palace to help her side to an impressive 5-1 win away at Durham.

Blanchard opened the scoring after 25 minutes but the Wildcats pegged the Eagles back before the break through Amy Andrews.

It took until just before the hour-mark for Palace to regain their lead, with Blanchard on hand to fire home from inside the box.

Palace kicked on from there, Molly-Mae Sharpe all but sealing the points with a curled finish against her old side before Elise Hughes and Shanade Hopcroft got in on the act late on.

Victory continues Palace’s strong form despite defeat to Sheffield United in March as they hunt for promotion while Durham are left looking over their shoulders as they remain without a win in 2024.

Lasses ease past Golden Girls

Palace’s victory meant Sunderland needed a win to return to the top of the table, and they duly delivered with a 3-0 win away at Watford.

It looked for a while that it would be a frustrating afternoon for the visitors, with basement side Watford restricting the leaders to little in the way of chances.

But Liz Ejupi found the breakthrough just before the hour with a header from Jessica Brown’s cross.

Emily Scarr then doubled the advantage after pouncing on a long-range volley from Jenna Dear before grabbing her second from the spot to ensure the three points would be heading north.

It means Sunderland stay top of the table, a point ahead of Palace, while Watford remain six points from safety.

Addicks beat Blues

Charlton Athletic kept pace with the leading pack and dealt a huge blow to Birmingham City’s promotion hopes with a 3-1 win at The Valley.

Karin Muya put the hosts in front after robbing Blues keeper Lucy Thomas in the box before Freda Ayisi doubled the lead just before the break after converting from a corner.

Birmingham looked to work their way back into the tie and were given a lifeline when Lucy Quinn slotted home from the spot after Jade Moore was brought down.

But it was not enough as Kate Longhurst added a third for Charlton in stoppage time, lobbing Thomas from long-range with the keeper off her line.

Defeat is a potentially killer blow to Birmingham’s promotion hopes, with Charlton moving three points clear of their rivals and four points behind Sunderland.

Saints win south coast battle

Southampton also ensured they stayed in the promotion picture with a 2-1 win over Lewes.

Emma Thompson’s quickfire first-half double proved decisive, with the 20-year-old putting Saints two to the good inside 15 minutes.

Her first came after good work from Lucia Kendall and Ella Morris before the forward then slammed home her second from a corner.

Lewes fought back and found a way through before the break via Grace Riglar as the defender converted Hollie Olding’s cross.

But the Rooks were unable to find a leveller, with Kendall coming close to a third for the hosts when she hit the crossbar.

Defeat leaves Lewes in the relegation zone, two points behind Reading while Southampton sit third, four points off the summit.

Rovers race past Reading

Blackburn Rovers came from behind to beat Reading 4-1.

Keira Flannery put the Royals in front after just 16 minutes, but Rovers bounced back with two goals in each half to extend their unbeaten run to five matches.

Megan Hornby got the visitors on level terms just before the break before Hannah Coan ensured they went into half-time ahead.

Lucy Shepherd then grabbed the third 20 minutes from time before Hornby added the gloss with her second of the game.

Victory continues Blackburn’s impressive recent run that has assuaged any relegation fears, but Reading remain in the battle to avoid the drop with just a two-point advantage over Lewes.

Blades edge out Lionesses

Sheffield United grabbed their fourth win on the trot with a 2-1 win away at London City Lionesses.

Early strikes from Sophie Barker and Isobel Goodwin did the damage, despite Lotta Lindström pulling one back for Lionesses after the break.

Barker put the visitors ahead with a deflected strike after just nine minutes before Goodwin slotted home on the rebound after Ashley Hodson’s shot was saved.

Lionesses pushed for a way back and found one through Lindström, who was played in by Lois Joel before burying her finish.

But the hosts could not find an equaliser, with Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah coming closest with a flicked header easily held by Fran Stenson.

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