Watford relegated from Barclays Women’s Championship as Crystal Palace claim vital victory

Crystal Palace took a big step towards promotion and Watford were relegated in the Barclays Women’s Championship.

Palace moved to the top of the table with a 1-0 win over Birmingham City. Elise Hughes struck in first-half injury time to earn them a vital victory over the Blues, who were reduced to ten players in the second half.

It means the South London side have opened up a two-point lead in the Barclays Women’s Championship with two games to play.

The visitors created the first clear-cut chance as Charlie Devlin played Libby Smith in on goal but she could only steer her effort over the bar.

Palace should have taken the lead on 37 minutes when Annabel Blanchard missed a gilt-edged chance when clean through on goal. Hughes poached the eventual winner, tucking home at the near post after superb work from Blanchard down the left wing.

City went down to ten when Jade Moore was shown a second yellow for handball on 62 minutes. Palace could have made the scoreline more emphatic from the penalty spot in second-half stoppage time, when Gemma Lawley felled Hughes in the box, but Lucy Thomas stooped to save Blanchard’s effort from 12 yards.

Elsewhere, bottom side Watford’s relegation was rubber-stamped with a 2-0 defeat to Charlton Athletic.

The first half at Vicarage Road was tightly contested and the hosts actually had the best chance when Michelle Agyemang came close on 44 minutes.

But Charlton took the lead when Melissa Johnson closed down the keeper and tapped into an empty net. More good play from Johnson laid on a second for Melisa Filis that sealed Watford’s fate and kept her side three points behind Palace in third.

The weekend’s other game in the second tier saw Blackburn Rovers and Reading play out a goalless draw at Ewood Park.

Blackburn came close through Tyler Toland and Hannah Silcock late on but the Royals stood firm, earning a precious point in their own fight against relegation, sitting three points above Lewes in the second relegation spot.

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