Cruel Cup Loss At Selhurst For The Ladies
The Palace Ladies took centre stage at Selhurst Park on Sunday as they faced South London rivals Charlton Athletic in the first round of the Women’s FA Cup.
It was a worthy setting for the South London derby in front of a healthy crowd with fans from both clubs attending in the winter sunshine including a few of the team here at TEB.
The draw was perhaps one that would have been much more welcome in the latter stages of the competition. Regardless, the stage was set at a venue that hosted a good Palace win against an in form Southampton side the day before. The ladies were very much hoping for a similar result.
A minute of silence was perfectly observed as a mark of respect for Brazilian club Chapecoense who suffered such tragedy last week.
The game took ten or fifteen minutes to settle down but once it did, Palace found their stride and began taking control. Their quick and tidy play took place mostly in the opposition half as Charlton relied on the odd counter attack in an effort to ease some pressure.
The constant threat of Gemma Bryan, who had just returned from injury, was a real thorn in the side of the Charlton defenders. She posed a constant threat throughout. Arguably, the best chances of the opening half fell to the exciting Bryan who shot just wide on a couple of occasions.
As the half wore on, Palace were playing confidently and taking the game to the visitors. Their high pressing kept Charlton pinned in their own half. With the break just minutes away, all the home pressure told as Pam McRoberts met a cross from the left with a deft header to send the ball into the back of the net.
It was fully deserved for the hosts but they could count themselves unlucky not to be two ahead going into the half time interval. Perhaps that break came at just the wrong time for the Eagles who were very much in the ascendancy. The fact that the could not capitalise on the chances created would come back to haunt them as Charlton grew into the game as the second half wore on.
A game of two halves is the common phrase and this was proving to be the perfect example as Charlton looked to suppress the Palace pressure and make their own mark on the game. The hosts managed to hold their challengers for the most part but the back line was being pushed further and further back as the chances started to fall for the dogged opposition.
It seemed only a matter of time before the equaliser arrived, and it did with just eleven minutes left to play. The goal was scored from close range by Rosey Sullivan after the Eagles struggled to clear. Now it was Charlton with the bit between their teeth.
A tiring Bryan was replaced and that change took away Palace’s main goal threat, the Charlton defenders could breath a sigh of relief as they had been run ragged throughout.
As the cup tie seemingly heading for a penalty shoot out, Palace were dealt an extremely cruel blow in the final minute. After a period of being under the cosh, goalkeeper Chanel Yardley was called into action a number of times but could do little with the goal. Having reached a stinging effort with her palm, Yardley could do nothing about the follow up header from Charley Clifford, giving Charlton the lead.
There was very little time left on the clock but that did not deter the Eagles as they pushed on in an effort to snatch an unlikely last gasp equaliser. It just was not to be as Palace ran out of time in what was an entertaining cup tie.
The ladies are back in action on Sunday against Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Women’s Premier League Cup semi-final which is to be played at Cheshunt Football Club. Make sure you follow the Palace Ladies on TWITTER for all match and club information.