Elise Hughes’ hat-trick inspired Charlton Athletic to a 4-0 victory over Watford at Vicarage Road, as they climbed to the top of the FA Women’s Championship.

Meanwhile, Watford remain winless in five games and sit rooted to the bottom of the table.

Charlton got off to a flying start when Anna Filbey tapped her effort from close-range past Georgie Ferguson with only three minutes gone, as Watford failed to clear the danger from Lois Roche’s resulting corner.

The Addicks doubled their advantage six minutes later when Megan Wynne’s fine cross found Hughes, who sent a looping header into the top corner.

Watford registered their first effort on target in the 14th minute when Helen Ward struck a curling effort towards the near post parried away for a corner before Chiara Meola’s powerful strike flew over the bar.

Clinton Lancaster’s side almost pulled a goal back, with Amber-Keegan Stobbs finding Ward as she looked to slot her effort into the bottom corner, forcing Eartha Cumings to produce an astounding save.

The visitors tripled their lead before the hour mark when Lois Roche forced Ferguson to make a save with her legs as Hughes converted the rebound to slot the ball into the empty net.

Three minutes later, Karen Hills’ side were awarded a spot-kick after Yliena Priest brought down Filbey and Hughes converted into the bottom corner to complete her hat-trick.

Charlton continued to frustrate Watford, keeping their defensive shape as time ticked down, to earn a clean sheet and a comfortable win.

Watford defender Anne Meiwald said: “I think it’s just a lot of basics – keeping the ball, putting my heart and soul on the pitch. We didn’t show that enough today and I think against a Championship side like Charlton or any team in this league, we need to show that and it’s the absolute minimum that we didn’t do today.

“This has happened far too often and it’s something we need to put right, especially when one goal goes in. We cannot concede the second goal to stay in the game.

"We have the possession and chances; it’s just being that touch more clinical in front of goal at the right time and we will start getting goals and hopefully, we will get the results that we need.

“The adjusting time is over, we got to step it up and got to play better.”