Crystal Palace Women players celebrate promotion.

On Sunday, Crystal Palace lifted the Women’s Championship trophy on the final day of the season, securing promotion to the WSL with a 0-0 draw against Sunderland. 

Crystal Palace have now won the Championship three points clear and with a 22 superior goal difference ahead of second place Charlton Athletic.

Having lost only four games this season, they have been in contention for the top spot for a while and with the Eagles winning 2-0 against Lewes last week, it had set them up perfectly for promotion. 

For the home team there was only one change in the starting 11, after striker Elise Hughes unfortunately tore her ACL against Lewes. The English youngster Araya Dennis filled in for the number nine.

The visitors made two changes after their loss against Charlton, Katy Watson replacing New Zealand international Katie Kitching and the other change being Ellen Jones in for Liz Ejupi. 

A delayed start to the match as balloons cover the pitch. Pic: Bella Pinn

The game was delayed by five minutes as players from both sides attempted to clear hundreds of blue and red balloons from the pitch.

Izzy Atkinson enjoyed herself doing keepy-uppies and scoring goals with the balloons – unfortunately the only thing to hit the back of the net this game. 

First half

After the delay, the match finally got underway, and it was a slow start for both sides in the South London rain.

It wasn’t until the 27th minute, a foul by Atkinson on Brianna Westrup resulted in a free kick for Sunderland.

Taken by number 15, Amy Goodard, this was the first real test for Goalkeeper Lambourne, but it resulted in a textbook save in the centre of the goal.  

Amy Goodard. Pic: Bella Pinn

Despite relentless attempts from both sides, the first half ended equal.

Second half

The first yellow card came in the 56th minute as Sunderland’s Louise Griffiths was booked for a late tackle on Araya Dennis.

The home side made the first change as Crystal Palace manager Laura Kaminski brought on Shuana Guytta for Izzy Atkinson.

With just over an hour to go, Jenna Dear had an extremely close attempt on goal as she hit the crossbar with a right footed strike from outside the box.

Sunderland then picked up their second yellow of the game when Ellen Jones fouled Felicity Gibbons in the 66th minute.

In the 68th minute a Sunderland corner ended with a clash of heads between Westrup and Lambourne. A worrying few minutes followed as both players required medical attention but it ended in relief as both players were able to continue.

Heading into the final few minutes of regular time, both teams were itching to claim a final three points to round off their season.

Celebrations as Crystal Palace win the Championship. Pic: Bella Pinn

It all ended square at the final whistle however and the home fans erupted in celebration for their team winning the title.

The Palace players lifted the trophy with 6,796 fans in attendance – a third record crowd for this season.

In her first season as a head coach, Laura Kaminski has now managed her team to Championship victory and for the first time in the club’s history Crystal Palace will play in the top-flight of English women’s football.

Featured image courtesy of Bella Pinn.