Surrey FA County Cup: Crystal Palace 10-0 Abbey Rangers
Crystal Palace Ladies put the disappointment of the performance in the FA Cup last week behind them in emphatic style as they returned to County Cup action on Sunday, against lower league opposition in the form of Abbey Rangers writes club chairman Richard Spokes.
Urged by head coach Dean Davenport to treat the match as they would any other, not least due to the imminent and much delayed return to league matches next week, the Eagles set their stall out early.
In what was a commanding performance throughout, the red and blue of South London retained high levels of possession and demonstrated some clinical team play and finishing that was well received by the supporters down at Bromley.
The scoring was opened for Palace in a little over ten minutes by a lively and in form Gemma Bryan, who was supplied by a fine run from Jade Davenport on the right.
A defiant Abbey dug deep and whilst deep in their own half, managed to keep Palace at bay for another fifteen minutes when Nicha Dyett scored for the hosts. To the visitors credit, they immediately looked to respond and went as close as they would throughout the game when they hit the post a minute later. Despite the scare, Palace regrouped and immediately went on the front foot and pressed Abbey hard over the remaining fifteen minutes of the half, scoring twice more through the impressive Dyett and Northern Ireland International Pammy McRoberts.
In contrast to last week, coach Davenport had little to change at half time and looked for the Eagles to express themselves and use the remainder of the game to help prepare for the crucial league game at home to Luton Town next Sunday.
As requested, Palace pushed forwards with some hugely impressive team work and passing moves that put the visitors under sustained pressure. With Alma Donohoe taking up duties on the left, Abbey were unable to deal with the pace and width. This resulted in two quick goals and a deserved hat trick for Bryan.
The endeavour of Donohoe was rewarded on the hour when she added to the tally and scored the seventh for Palace. Another fine run from Donohoe resulted in a slide rule pass across the box into the path of Abi Igbavboa who crashed the ball home for goal number eight. With fifteen to go it was the turn of Donohoe once again, who scored her second of the game. The scoring was complete on the stroke of full time as Igbavboa bagged her second of the game.
Speaking after the match, head coach Davenport said;
“The very nature of the County Cup competition is that many of the early games will see higher placed teams play those from lower down the league system. This can often lead to hefty score lines. Whilst this was one of those occasions, credit goes to Abbey who continued to play their game and stood strong until the end. What we did today was stick to our game plan and our plan for the coming few weeks. The girls reacted well in training this week, following the disappointment of the FA Cup. Whilst the goalscorers will grab the headlines this week, it was a very impressive team performance from back to front, with some great shifts by players who did not get on the score-sheet. We were also able to give a good run out for some of the fringe players looking to secure regular team places, including Steph (Mann), Jade (Davenport) and ninety minutes for Lexie (Spokes).”
Looking forward, Dean was optimistic about the resulting semi-final and the long awaited return to league action;
“We face similar positioned opposition for a place in the final and if we can replicate the form of today, we have every chance. We all know that the league is the big thing for us this season. We have put ourselves in a strong position with some great effort in the first half of the season. Starting with Luton on Sunday, the next four or five games are some of the biggest we have faced and a strong showing and good results in these, will help shape our destiny.”
Dean was keen to add praise for one key element of the Palace Ladies efforts;
“Our supporters have been a massive part of our efforts over the last few seasons and set us apart from other teams. Today, as ever, the fans were fantastic and not only provided a great lift for the players but entertainment for everyone else. These guys are part of what makes Palace so special.”
Palace Ladies host Luton Town in the FA Women’s Premier League on Sunday 7th February at Bromley Football Club, Hayes Lane, Bromley BR2 9EF. Kick off is 2pm with doors open from 12.30pm. Entry is £3 with under 16s free. All spectators are welcome, with mascot opportunities for our younger visitors at every home game.