Man Utd crush Palace to clinch Championship crown
Casey Stoney's side secure title with commanding 7-0 victory over Crystal Palace
Easter weekend brought another thrilling round of fixtures from the FA Women’s Super League and the FA Women’s Championship.
While Arsenal moved to within three points of the title, Birmingham City tightened their grip on fourth place with a comeback win at West Ham United.
Elsewhere, Reading kept up their good form with a solid home win, while in the Championship, Casey Stoney’s Manchester United sealed the title with an emphatic win.
Here’s how the weekend panned out:
Glory, glory Man United
It may be their inaugural appearance in the league but Manchester United have been a revelation in the Championship.
And their brilliant 7-0 victory over Crystal Palace to secure the title capped off a stunning season for Casey Stoney’s team.
Having clinched promotion last week, United started with purpose as Lauren James netted the opener on nine minutes.
Lizzie Arnot, Leah Galton and leading goalscorer Jess Sigsworth extended the lead before James scored another treble in just seven minutes to increase her own haul.
The champions have two matches remaining, against Millwall Lionesses and Lewes.
Gunners inch closer to glory
When Joe Montemurro’s side suffered defeat to Chelsea back in January, Arsenal fans knew the title race would go down to the wire.
And while Manchester City have continued their brilliant unbeaten season, Arsenal keep grinding out victories – and it was no different at Meadow Park this weekend.
The league leaders raced into a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Louise Quinn and Vivianne Miedema – the Dutch international has now scored 30 in all competitions.
But Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah scored from an indirect free-kick to set up a nervy final half-hour for the Gunners.
In the end, however, Montemurro’s team held on, and will go to Brighton & Hove Albion next week knowing a victory would secure the FA WSL title.
Birmingham continue recovery under Tejedor
Having been appointed in January, it may come as a surprise that Birmingham City had never earned two victories on the bounce under boss Marta Tejedor.
But the Spanish boss changed all that as she masterminded a 2-1 victory on the road at SSE Women’s FA Cup Finalists West Ham.
The hosts opened the scoring at a buoyant Rush Green through Adriana Leon but Hayley Ladd curled home a free-kick just after Hammers keeper Anna Moorhouse was sent off.
It was then left to Chloe Arthur to win it – the forward’s goal leaves her side just two points behind third-placed Chelsea.
Five-star Reds snap losing streak
Coming off losses to Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City – three of the toughest opponents in the FA WSL – Liverpool needed a big response when they hosted Bristol City.
And Rinsola Babajide did just the job, the England Under-20 international notching twice before the break before completing her hat-trick just after the hour in a 5-2 triumph.
Yana Daniels and Ashley Hodson improved the scoreline after Danique Kerkdijk’s long-range effort and Niamh Fahey’s own goal had given City hope.
Vicky Jepson’s side are now within a point of seventh-placed West Ham with just two matches remaining.
Solid Royals keep it clean
It’s been a middling season so far for Kelly Chambers’ outfit – but a robust 1-0 victory over Brighton saw Reading climb to fifth in the table and secure their third win on the bounce.
A tense first half yielded few chances but Millie Farrow could have put Reading ahead when she was put through one-on-one with the keeper.
But as the heat began to wear down the 22 on the pitch, it became clear that a single goal could decide the game.
Step up Rachel Furness, whose powerful strike found the corner after Brighton failed to clear a free-kick.
The Royals kept it tight at the other end to chalk up their third successive clean sheet.
Championship drama remains high
The title-winners may be decided but there were still plenty of thrills and spills elsewhere in the Championship.
Katie Rood scored her second for Lewes in added time as they rescued a point in a 2-2 draw away at Aston Villa, who had led 2-0 in the first half.
Meanwhile, Ashleigh Neville’s double helped Spurs to a 3-2 victory over Charlton Athletic while Sheffield United did the business with a convincing 4-1 win over London Bees.
And a piece of magic from Emily Roberts was enough for Durham as their 1-0 win maintained pressure on second-placed Spurs going into the final weeks.