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Man United seals women's 2nd-tier title in debut season

Manchester United's Lauren James celebrates scoring her side's seventh goal of the game during the FA Women's Championship soccer match between Manchester United and Crystal Palace at Leigh Sports Village, England. Saturday April 20, 2019. (Anthony Devlin/PA via AP)

MANCHESTER, England (AP) Manchester United clinched the second-tier Women's Championship title in its debut season with a 7-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Lauren James scored four goals while Lizzie Arnot, Leah Galton and Jess Sigsworth also netted.

United's promotion to the Women's Super League was already clinched in the previous game but it has to be ratified by the English Football Association, with the club expected to meet the licensing criteria.

"This is step one on our journey and next year is going to get a lot harder," United manager Casey Stoney said. "We are going to face different challenges and we are going to prepare for it."

United has scored 88 goals in 18 league matches and conceded seven times, with two games remaining.

"We need to develop as a team," Stoney said. "We have a very young team. We need to recruit a little bit more experience."

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Updated April 20, 2019

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