Watford get first Barclays Women's Championship win with defeat of Charlton

Watford were promoted straight back to the Championship last season
Watford were promoted straight back to the Championship last season

Watford claimed their first win back in the Barclays Women’s Championship with a 3-2 victory over Charlton Athletic.

Crystal Palace put nine past Durham to move top of the table, above Sunderland - who pulled off another impressive victory over Southampton – on goal difference.

Here is how Sunday’s action unfolded…

Golden Girls shine against Charlton

Watford earned an instant return to the BWC last term and got off the mark for the new campaign at The Valley.

Sophie McLean gave the Golden Girls an early lead with a tap-in after two minutes after Carly Johns intercepted a sloppy pass to set up the midfielder for her first goal of the season.

John then scored for the third game in a row in first-half injury time, finding the back of the net after a corner led to pinball in the penalty box.

Watford were not done in the first half, however, as McLean bagged her second in the seventh minute of added time.

It was all Charlton in the second half, Carla Humphrey scoring her first Addicks goal before Angela Addison ensured a nervy final ten minutes as she reduced the deficit to a single goal.

Damon Lathrope’s side held firm to claim a first win of the season while Charlton are still searching for their opening victory.

Twin hat-tricks see Eagles soar

Hat-tricks for Annabel Blanchard and Elise Hughes saw Crystal Palace climb to the summit with a 9-1 win over Durham.

Hayley Nolan fired in a thunderbolt from the edge of the box to give the hosts a 14th-minute lead before Blanchard scored twice in the first half.

She completed her hat-trick on 55 minutes before Hughes opened her account with a close-range effort.

Hughes netted three more goals, with a Molly-Mae Sharpe header in between, with Poppy Pritchard’s goal for Durham nothing more than scant consolation.

Sunderland move into second

Jenna Dear’s second-half strike ensured Sunderland remained unbeaten in the Women’s Championship as they defeated Southampton 1-0 at St. Mary’s.

Sunderland kept a clean sheet for the third game in a row as their defence continues to show remarkable turnaround from last season’s tough campaign.

The Lasses had the second-worst defence last term but are proving impenetrable this time around, Katie Kitching putting her body on the line to stop a Saints counter-attack in the first half.

Dear secured her side the three points as she met a pinpoint cross from Mary McAteer to tap home and end Southampton's perfect run, meaning no team has won all three of their opening games.

Reading leave it late

A late equaliser earned Reading a 1-1 draw with London City Lionesses for their third consecutive draw.

Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah broke the deadlock on the stroke of halftime with a stretching finish to put the hosts ahead before Lauren Wade equalised for the Royals in the final minute of added time.

Boye-Hlorkah had shown her flair earlier in the game, attempting a bicycle kick, before netting for the second game in a row having been set up by Connie Scofield.

Grace Moloney was not regularly tested by her former club’s attack, coming out to claim a free kick from Royals skipper Lily Woodham which she must have thought had won her side the game.

Wade had other ideas however as her expert strike found the back of Moloney's net to secure a late draw for Reading.

Blackburn overturn deficit to down Blades

Blackburn Rovers came from behind to defeat Sheffield United 2-1 at Ewood Park.

Isobel Goodwin’s first Blades goal got the visitors off to a flyer as she volleyed home and Fran Stenson saved Helen Seed’s penalty to keep the advantage intact at the interval.

But strikes from Meg Hornby and Lauren Thomas turned the game on its head after the break to give Blackburn a second win and consign the Blades to a second loss.

After resisting Goodwin’s attempts for a second, which included a strike hitting the woodwork, Rovers began to apply pressure which paid off on 52 minutes when Hornby fired home from just inside the area.

The same player turned provider midway through the second period, crossing for Thomas to convert what turned out to be the winner.

Points shared in Sussex

Birmingham City were denied a first win of the Barclays Women’s Championship season in the dying seconds but did earn their first point in a 0-0 draw with Lewes.

Former Rook Ellie Mason’s injury-time effort was just kept out by an impressive save from Sophie Whitehouse to see the points shared.

Both sides had been reduced to ten players earlier in the second half as Katie Dungate and Caragh Hamilton were sent off.

Neither team could make the breakthrough as Whitehouse kept out Mason’s long-range strike to secure her side a first point of the campaign.

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