Ladies Continue To Surprise At Higher Level
The international break was anything but quiet for the Palace Ladies as they sought to continue an impressive start to the season in the FA Women’s Premier League.
Playing three games within seven days the Eagles knew that they would be well tested.
Portsmouth were the first opponents in Palace’s only home game in October. The match started with Palace playing at a blistering pace keeping Pompey on the back foot for long periods of the first half. This led to an early goal for the hosts scored by Gemma Bryan.
The impressive half concluded with a second Palace goal this time from Rochelle Shakes. Despite a number of additional chances in the second half, Palace were unable to add to the tally and had to survive a late scare when the visitors pulled a goal back in the closing minutes. However, the three points went the way of Palace, further demonstrating their credentials within this tough division.
Despite the good win, Palace needed to set their sights on a forthcoming midweek game away at local rivals and title contenders Charlton Athletic on Thursday evening. The previous encounter under the lights at Bromley had seen Palace recover from 3-0 down inside an hour to securing a 3-3 draw. This game was to be equally as entertaining and nail biting. Again Palace’s high tempo start took the challenge to the hosts and resulted in the lead being taken, again through Gemma Bryan.
The first half continued well for Palace whose lead was extended through a wonderful free kick by Ciara Sherwood. Sadly for Palace the first half was tainted by a late Charlton goal which helped shift the impetus for the following forty-five minutes. With the hosts sensing a comeback similar to that staged by Palace in the previous match the Eagles found themselves under the cosh for much of the second period. Despite valiant efforts at protecting the lead Palace were unable to prevent a Charlton equaliser and the sharing of the points once again.
Perhaps as a mark of Palace’s recent form and the reputation that they are creating there was a sense of disappointment in having only taken point away at Charlton. However, time was of the essence and the Eagles needed to prepare for their third game in seven days. This time the trip was to Swindon Town who had also been promoted to the higher division alongside Palace this season.
On a testing pitch against a determined home side, Palace struggled to make their superiority and current form count. At times, followong a series of missed opportunities it seemed that Palace would fall short of another deserved win. However, true to the Palace pride and passion the team stuck to the task deep into injury time, during which they scored the all-important winning goal through Ellie Bailes.
Speaking at the end of a busy and hugely productive week, head coach Dean Davenport was rightly jubilant;
“I am so proud of what the team has continued to achieve, especially through such a busy schedule. To have taken seven points from the three games speaks volumes for the strength and ability in this squad. Our start to the season has naturally shocked a number of people outside the club but is something that we always felt we were capable of. The hard work continues and we must double our efforts as we are very unlikely to be taken lightly in future games. We see the remainder of a difficult month out with two away games in cup competitions and a trip to Cardiff City in the league. It is all about maintaining focus and belief and making sure that people keep sitting up and taking notice of Crystal Palace Football Club.”
Next up for the ladies is cup action and a trip to Thurrock to complete a double header for the club against West Ham United Ladies who have been in the press a lot this week. Kick off is at 2pm.
Full details of the league table and fixtures can be found on The FA official website. Make sure you follow the Palace Ladies on Twitter for all the latest news as well as checking out their own website.