Ladies beaten but not outclassed by Eagles
Match report by Mark Robson
Today was our final away match of the season and we faced the daunting task of playing a Crystal Palace Development side who had, before today, a 100% record in the league. Availability was good and we welcomed back Olivia Watson, Danni Bourne, Georgi Wickham, Emily Hobern and Patti Panok to give us what looked one of our strongest match squads since the turn of the year.
On a gloriously sunny afternoon at The Warren near Bromley, the game began brightly. Palace were quickly in to their accurate fast, pass-and-move game, but from-the-off we were closing them down fast and generally succeeding in keeping them away from our goal.
With only 6 minutes on the clock, we launched a quick counter and, after a sequence of neat one-twos, Olivia Watson found herself in on goal inside the Palace penalty area from where she made no mistake in slotting the ball past the Palace keeper. 0-1. For the remainder of this half, Palace dominated possession, but we were clearly up for it today and were competing excellently all over the park, and when we reached half-time arrived with our noses in front against the champions-in-waiting, it was not undeserved. HT 0-1.
With the slight slope advantage, Palace came at us relentlessly in the second half using both wings to great effect but ironically, given their tidy passing game, it was a route one long ball on 55 minutes that finally undid us. When the keeper’s long aerial punt wasn’t dealt with by either our midfield or defence, a Palace striker found herself through on goal and she tucked it home to level things up. 1-1.
It was a backs-to-the-wall job after that as the very talented Palace team went searching for the winner. However, we were dogged in our defending and also rode our luck on a few occasions. As the clock ticked past 90 minutes, we hoped we might become the first team to take a point from Palace this season, but sadly there was, as is so often the case with us, a late twist to this game. Deep into injury time, another long aerial ball wasn’t dealt with properly and an attempted clearance inside our box was then charged down by a Palace striker who made it 2-1. Only a matter of seconds after the restart, and a wonderful curling shot from a Palace striker gave Annie Jenkins in goal absolutely no chance. FT 3-1.
Our unfortunate 2019 habit of conceding goals right at the end of matches has now cost us points in three out of our seven league games this year. It’s a habit we need to shake, but overall today’s was definitely a performance to be proud of as we ran an excellent Palace team very, very close.
Team: Annie Jenkins. Chelsea-Ann Woods, Stephanie Bushby, Danni Bourne, Lucy Potter ( c ), Mairead Halliday, Georgi Wickham, Sarah Sinkins, Emily Hobern, Olivia Watson, Sophia Demetriou
Subs: Amy Strong, Lace Edgcombe, Christelle Meier, Patti Panok
Goal scorer: Olivia Watson
Player of the match: Everyone!