FA Women’s Premier League Cup: AFC Wimbledon 0-2 Crystal Palace
Last Sunday saw Palace Ladies play in the opening round of the FA Women’s Premier League Cup, away against local rivals AFC Wimbledon.
The hosts who have been enjoying an impressive run in the league that sits below that of the Eagles were looking for revenge following the loss in the Surrey FA Cup final at the end of last season.
Palace had other ideas and sought to demonstrate how they have moved on through the opening spell of the new season. In a display that was described, following the game by manager Dean Davenport, as one of the most complete he had seen from Palace, the ladies put on a show of control, domination and a masterclass in passing.
Perhaps the biggest shock of the game was that it remained goalless at half time.
‘I felt that we could and should have been a couple of goals up by the break’ acknowledged Davenport. ‘Having said that, Wimbledon were determined in defence and stuck to their task of making life difficult for us. We discussed at half time the need to maintain the excellent possession and passing, but to remain patient and take the opportunities that we created.’
The players responded and continued their dominance in the second period and capitalised when the time came through the inform duo of Gemma Bryan and Roschelle Shakes who bagged one each in a very comfortable 2-0 win.
‘I cannot find fault with anyone today’ a very pleased Davenport added after the match. ‘It was a thoroughly slick and professional performance and one that we should all be proud of.’
Asked about the progress in the most challenging season in the history of Palace Ladies, Davenport was understandably pleased, ‘We have set about things really well, with the one loss to date. We are likely to have taken a few teams by surprise and can expect a tougher time over the rest of the season. However, we believe that we have what it takes to sustain our position, but need to keep properly focused. We have a tough run of games ahead, mostly away from home, but we love a challenge!’
The Palace Ladies return to league action this weekend as they make the long journey to South Wales to play a strong Cardiff City team. The opponents currently sit third in the FA Women’s Premier League South with sixteen points level on points with Coventry in second and Tottenham Hotspur in fourth. The leaders are Charlton Athletic with seventeen points while Palace are fifth with fifteen.