Crystal Palace promoted to WSL on final day of Championship season

  • Crystal Palace promoted to WSL following goalless draw against Sunderland
  • Laura Kaminski’s side finished the season a point clear of runners-up Charlton Athletic
  • Watford and Lewes relegated to FA Women’s National League in recent weeks
Palace clinched promotion to the WSL on the final day of the Championship season
Palace clinched promotion to the WSL on the final day of the Championship season / Sebastian Frej/MB Media/GettyImages

Crystal Palace have been promoted to the Women's Super League on the final day of the Championship season following a goalless draw against Sunderland.

There's a lot of focus on the top flight of women's football in England with the title race between Chelsea and Manchester City expected to go right to the wire. In the second division, however, there's been an equally riveting race with at least five teams competing right until the latter stages of the campaign.

Promotion was never in doubt for Palace heading into Sunday's fixture at Selhurst Park. Even in defeat, they still would have been named champions due to the significant goal difference swing needed to tip it in Charlton Athletic's favour.

Sunderland, who finished the season third in the table, presented a stern test for Palace. Demi Lambourne was called into action late in the first half to deny an almost certain goal for the visitors.

Jenna Dear also struck the crossbar for Sunderland on the hour mark. Palace, though, nearly clinched it deep into stoppage time, but Molly Sharpe couldn't hit the target after she was picked out with a dangerous cross.

The points were shared but celebration still ensued at the full-time whistle as Palace were confirmed champions and their spot in the WSL next season secured.

Promotion was, seemingly, never the aim for Palace when the first ball of the season was kicked back in August. They finished fifth last term, had a new manager at the helm in Laura Kaminski and others around them were further along in their journey.

Crystal Palace Women
Crystal Palace Women line up for a team photo / Sebastian Frej/MB Media/GettyImages

The final weeks of the campaign proved to be pivotal as they cemented their place at the top of the table and the progress made over the last year has primed them for top-flight football.

"We know it's going to be a massive challenge, there's no doubt about it," Kaminski told the club website this week. "The WSL is a fantastic league with great managers, players, teams, clubs and we know that it is going to be a step up for us.

"I know the staff that I have got in the building are ready. We feel ready. We've been planning behind-the-scenes for some time and putting the foundations in place.

"I know that the players will step up. They've been driven for this opportunity. That's why I came here; I was fully aware of the potential of the squad. I know that they'll be ready."

At the bottom end of the table, Watford's relegation into the National League was confirmed two weeks ago. Lewes also succumbed to the drop in their penultimate game as they were defeated by the champions elect.