Super Start To The Season Continues For The Ladies
Palace continued their impressive start to the season with a fourth consecutive win in all competitions after another dominant display against Swindon Town Ladies, coming out 7-0 victors with Gemma Bryan adding five to her already impressive tally and Stef Simmonds with her second and third of the season.
The Eagles started strongly with Bryan finding the net in the sixth minute after good build up play from Simmonds and Ciara Sherwood, cooly slotting home from six yards.
Swindon came close to equalising within a few minutes but for a magnificent close range save from Megen Lynch on her way to another clean sheet, her second in four games.
Leesa Haydock and Ellie Bailes continued their strong partnership with Sherwood in the middle of the pitch providing continuous great plays out to Nikita Whinnett and Jade Davenport out wide, while Ria Collins, Hannah Samuels, Rosie Paye and Simmonds held firm at the back, giving Swindon very little to work with going forward.
Bryan wasted no time with her attacking power adding a further three more strikes in the first half to complete an impressive first half hat-trick and four goals in less than twenty minutes.
Simmonds finished the half well for Palace with a thirty yard screamer, catching the Swindon keeper off her line to leave the Eagles a 5-0 lead at the break.
The second half saw the Eagles unable to replicate the scoring antics of the first half as Swindon defended bravely with multiple clearances off the line and some wonderful saves from the goalkeeper.
Swindon did find themselves fortunate not to be reduced to ten players with their keeper wiping out Bryan when clear through on goal. The referee only awarded a free kick without brandishing a card. However, from the resulting set play Simmonds fired home her second of the game, a curling effort which clipped a Swindon defender on the way in and past a despairing keeper.
With the result in the bag, Ellie Stenning, Pam McRoberts and Lydia Huntley being brought on to see through the result, showing the strong depth the team has this season compared to previous.
Despite the resolute defence, Bryan did manage to find the net to grab her fifth of the game after confusion among the Swindon defence, leaving Bryan to fire home into an empty net from two yards.
Whinnett, Stenning and Bailes all went close to adding to the scoreline, hitting the woodwork twice and three efforts cleared off the line to keep the score to seven.
With four wins from four and thirty goals scored, it has been a remarkable start to the season for Palace and looks to be a promising season with more still to offer.
A very special mention to Bryan who picked up the Top Scorer Award at the annual FA Women’s awards after her goal scoring exports last season with 77 goals in 49 games. It is only a matter of time before Bryan joins the elusive ‘100 club’ for the Eagles.
Line up – Lynch, Samuels, Collins, Paye (Huntley), Simmons (McRoberts), Bailes, Haydock, Sherwood (c), Davenport (Stenning), Whinnett, Bryan
Scorers – Simmons (2), Bryan (5)
Player of the match – Gemma Bryan
Match report courtesy of Michael Hulf.