FA Women’s Premier League: Coventry United 1-0 Crystal Palace
Palace Ladies travelled the long road to Coventry this weekend to play an in-form opponent, occupying the place above them in the FA Women’s Premier League.
The teams had previously played out a draw on the opening day of the season and Palace had won the intervening cup fixture between the two, by the one goal.
Ahead of the match, Palace manager, Dean Davenport was keen to highlight that this stood to be the strongest test of recent times;
‘Coventry have been on a good run and have impressive home form. We will not be looking at a game that sees the tallies of goals that we have seen recently, and the girls know that they will be in for a tough match.’
The prediction was right and Palace were indeed challenged by a well organised and resolute outfit. Both teams showed their credentials in a match that was high on endeavour, competition and some admirable quality from both teams. The only goal of the game came four minutes from the break, when the hosts scored following a corner through a Hall header from Cooper’s corner. The goal came after an earlier chance had gone begging for Coventry from the penalty spot.
Palace were not devoid of chances themselves with Shakes going close for the visitors, although unable to level. Whilst the game was a tight affair, there was plenty of quality on show from both teams, something that was noted by Davenport after the 1-0 defeat;
‘We are naturally disappointed with the result as this is another of those close games where we could have got something. Having said that, I thought that this was a good game and both teams showed their qualities. From our perspective, we knew that Coventry would be solid defensively and they proved to be so, with some well organised and well executed defending.’
Davenport went on to add;
‘Whilst the score line was not as we would have liked to leave with, we are a team that is pleased with our efforts tonight. I thought that we showed some fantastic elements of our abilities today, defending well on the whole although the goal from the corner was disappointing but we engaged in some lovely phases of play. We again saw an established team in this league, playing time down at the end to protect their lead. Respect indeed for us! Todays performance is a good example of what we are setting out to achieve and regularly delivering. The girls should be very proud.’
Asked as to the view into next season, Davenport added;
‘Of course we are looking towards the next campaign, but we are very much focussed on the remainder of this one. We have two tough home games left against Portsmouth and Cardiff. We are determined to treat these as we have all games this season. There is talk of how well we have done to be guaranteed fifth place in our first season at this level, but we do not want to rest on this, we must keep the momentum and push on. There will be plenty of time to reflect on this campaign, but for now, we target more points and further development.’
Also speaking after the game, captain Freya Holdaway commented;
‘The girls did well today and the match was a good example of our season. We showed that we can mix it with the established teams in the league and are never far away in terms of results. At this time of the season, the table rarely lies. We saw two teams, deservedly occupying the higher places, with us, on this occasion just dipping out. We know that with the progress this season, these games are the ones that gaining the positive results from next season will see us climb higher next season. Something that we are all committed to.’
Palace are next in action when they host Portsmouth Ladies at Beckenham Town Football Club on Sunday 30th April. Kick off is at 2pm and all fans are encouraged to come along and cheer on the Ladies. Details will be shared on the CPLFC social media channels.