Impressive Palace defeat K's
We had four enforced changes from last week’s line-up, and only 12 names on the team sheet again, as we took the field against a Crystal Palace Development team that is sure to be one of the front-runners in our division this year, and who included in their number a Belgian U19 international fresh from a victory over Scotland.
We had an exciting new debutante in defence in Danni Bourne who has recently moved to Kingston from Loughborough University. Meanwhile, playing their first competitive games of the season were Shula Norman, Charlotte Willis-Sloanes and Megan Kapadia.
We started well and in the first 15 minutes we pinned Palace back and had several attempts on goal. However, gradually as the half wore on, the very dynamic and well-drilled Palace side began to take control of the game.
After 25 minutes, after sustained pressure the ball was fed in to a Palace player who looked to be in an off-side position in our six-yard area, but the flag didn’t go up and, despite hesitating, the referee signaled a goal. 0-1.
Only a few minutes later and a Palace striker was felled wide but just inside our penalty area, and the referee pointed to the spot. However, Megan Kapadia – our late stand-in goalkeeper – stood firm and blocked the penalty taker’s shot.
The Palace pressure was pretty relentless by now, but just when it looked as though we had made it through to half-time only the one goal behind, a dribbler of a shot that everyone thought was drifting wide, somehow clipped the far post and trickled back into our goal. HT 0-2.
We dug in resolutely in the second half, with our back four of Georgi Wickham, Danni Bourne, Zoe McLaughlin and captain Lucy Potter performing heroics, and Sophia Demetriou, by now doing a turn in goal, making some important saves behind them. We packed the midfield in this half in an attempt to stem the Palace tide with Olivia Watson and Sarah Sinkins fighting like tigers supported by Charlotte Willis-Sloanes, Megan Kapadia and Lily Dusting and Shula Norman who occasionally dropped in to midfield too. Up front, Shula and Lisa Nichols were generally to be found working hard to try to hold the ball up and take some pressure of our defence.
On the hour mark, however, Palace scored the best goal of the game with an unstoppable rocket launched by a striker from the angle of the penalty area screaming into the far corner of the goal. We lost Shula Norman to a knee injury for the last 20 minutes, but we kept at our game and it looked like ending 0-3 until in the very last minute a Palace striker was given a bit too much room on the edge of the box and she slotted a goal past the unsighted Sophia in goal. FT 0-4.
We were under strength today, but battled hard, especially in the second half, and kept our shape throughout. There were no arguments about the result though as Palace’s development team were clearly the superior outfit on the day.
Sub: Lily Dusting
Player of the match: Zoe McLaughlin (pictured)