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Women’s football: Crystal Palace close gap to top of Championship as Chelsea drop points to title rivals Manchester City


Crystal Palace moved within a point of Women’s Championship table-toppers Sunderland on Sunday afternoon following a 4-0 win over Blackburn Rovers.

The Eagles took at the lead at Gander Green Lane after seven minutes when Molly Sharpe whipped a cross in for Annabel Blanchard to score.

Izzy Atkinson doubled the lead for Laura Kaminski’s side just after half-time when Blackburn failed to clear the danger, and the 22-year-old forward pounced inside the area to score her second in two games.

Scottish midfielder Chloe Arthur came off the bench to bag her first Palace goal.

Shanade Hopcroft scored in added time after she met Araya Dennis’ cross from the right wing.

Charlton Athletic slipped to fourth in the table after their clash at home to Reading was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at The Oakwood.

There is a two-week break in the Championship before Charlton head to Watford on Sunday, March 3 with Palace hosting Birmingham on the same day.

Both sides have one game in hand on leaders Sunderland.

AFC Wimbledon booked their spot in the semi-finals of the Capital Cup after a 2-1 win over Millwall on Sunday.

Emily Donovan put the Dons 1-0 up after 11 minutes when she capitalised on Millwall’s failure to clear their lines at the back, releasing a shot from the edge of the box that squeezed under keeper Chrissie Wiggins.

Ellie Dorey quickly doubled the lead when she collected the ball inside the box and looped a shot over the onrushing Wiggins.

Millwall pulled one back in the 60th minute, Shannon Drewe’s cross deflected off a Dons defender and past Lauren Allen.

Manchester City’s Jess Park (right) and Chelsea’s Melanie Leupolz battle for the ball during the Barclays Women’s Super League match at Kingsmeadow.

Super League leaders Chelsea missed the chance to put distance between themselves and second-placed Manchester City last Friday night.

City moved level on points (34) with the Blues after a 1-0 win at Kingsmeadow.

Khadija Shaw’s 14th-minute strike proved to be the difference.

Chelsea stay top on goals scored.

“We’ve dropped points at home,” said Blues boss Emma Hayes said.

“It’s not the end of the world but we have to regroup with eight games left after the international break.

“You do lose football matches. We don’t lose many, so yes of course it’s disappointing, but you can’t win every game.

“It always has been [close]. I don’t pay attention to [the table].

“I just focus on the performance. I just know we’ve dropped three points and an opportunity today.

“I don’t think there’s ever an easy defeat, let me be clear, but we all know it’s a game of tight margins. We started the game really well, then we conceded a poor goal. That affected us a little bit in the way we passed the ball.

“The disappointing thing from us was our final third play. I’ve never known these games to have a lot in them. The error falls in our way and they capitalised on that and defended well.”


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