Match reportLFC Women beat Bristol City to win FA Women's Championship title
Liverpool FC Women were confirmed as winners of the FA Women's Championship after defeating Bristol City 4-2 away from home on Sunday afternoon.
Matt Beard's side only needed a point to earn the crown but goals from Niamh Fahey, Jasmine Matthews, Katie Stengel and Missy Bo Kearns ensured they secured promotion in style, with two fixtures remaining.
The clinching of top spot means the Reds will return to the Barclays FA Women's Super League in 2022-23.
Fahey netted an opener in the first half at Ashton Gate that was quickly cancelled out by Aggie Beever-Jones, with Matthews then restoring the lead in the 39th minute.
Stengel added the third midway through the second period, and despite Abi Harrison pulling one back for the hosts, Kearns scored to put Beard's champions well out of sight in the contest and the league standings.
In front of a division-record attendance of 5,752, the visitors threatened early on courtesy of Megan Campbell's long throw-ins.
Leanne Kiernan clipped the crossbar with a header in the aftermath of one of Campbell's throws, which helped produce the opening goal minutes later.
Bristol were unable to clear a launch into the box from the Reds No.28, causing a scramble that ended with the ball falling to Fahey, who proceeded to thrash it into the back of the net after 13 minutes of play.
The lead failed to last 60 seconds, however, as Beever-Jones drew the hosts level with a cross from near the left touchline that looped over Rachael Laws in the Liverpool net.
After Rachel Furness went close with a long-range shot, Laws ensured it remained 1-1 when she used her left foot to keep out Beever-Jones' on-target effort.
That save proved vital when Campbell, again, played a central role in a Liverpool goal – though this time it was with a free-kick pumped into the Bristol City penalty area.
The hosts were unable to deal with the set-piece and the ball ricocheted to Matthews, who converted past her former club with a powerful first-time finish.
Liverpool flew out of the blocks in the second half, desperate to secure the title.
Furness' shot from in excess of 30 yards forced Fran Bentley into a good save, and the midfielder then delivered the assist for her side's third goal just before the hour mark.
Furness rose highest to flick on another long throw from Campbell perfectly into the path of Stengel, who kept calm in front of goal to strike a measured volley beyond Bentley.
Bristol City, who needed victory to keep their title hopes alive, earned a lifeline with 21 minutes remaining when Harrison's cool touch and finish into the far corner halved the deficit.
But any hopes of a dramatic turnaround were extinguished in the 79th minute. Stengel turned provider on this occasion, spinning past her defender and delivering a cut-back that found Kearns at the second time of asking.
Kearns, introduced for Ceri Holland six minutes earlier, made no mistake yards out in front of goal to confirm Liverpool's return to the top flight.
Liverpool FC Women: Laws, Roberts, Fahey, Matthews, Campbell (Wardlaw, 68), Hinds, Holland (Kearns, 73), Furness (Bailey, 85), Lawley (Humphrey, 85), Stengel, Kiernan (Daniels, 68).
Unused substitutes: Clarke, Hodson, Moore, Silcock.