Palace Ladies confidently progressed into the third round of The SSE Women’s FA Cup on Sunday with an away win at New London Lionesses.
The hosts had performed well in excess of their seventh tier status in reaching round two, but found Palace in no mood to allow any form of shock. The Eagles, on a run of very good form, dominated possession throughout and had to use their experience and patience to wear down a dogged home defence.
During the first half, despite plenty of good football and creative work, opportunities came and went for Palace and by half time it was Megan Chandler’s 25 yard wonder-strike that separated the teams in terms of score-line, if not possession statistics.
The second period saw, similar levels of possession and performance from the visitors and the lead was doubled by Steff Simmonds who added another terrific strike to her impressive goal tally.
Palace remained comfortable and added a third when any concerns that a match may pass without Gemma Bryan scoring were allayed, following an exquisite pass from Chandler and the ninety-fifth goal in Palace colours for the leading scorer.
So, Palace take a place in the draw for the third round (to be made on Monday 4th December) and will look forwards to any challenge that is thrown their way.
“We knew that it was unlikely that Lionesses would throw caution to the wind,” commented Palace boss, Dean Davenport after the game, “so this was not a game where we were ever setting targets of numbers of goals that we could score. That would be naïve and disrespectful. What we did know, was that if we played our game and used our abilities, we should be OK.
“It was another lovely goal from Steff.” Davenport added. “She rarely scores average goals and it is really good to see us scoring goals from across the squad.
“We are really pleased to over this hurdle,” added Davenport, “the girls deserve it, as do The Club and our fans. A home draw would be nice.”
Asked as to any preferences as to the opponents, he commented, “We will see what we get given. There are some very good teams that have made their way through the rounds and today, plus we have some higher level teams heading into the hat. Whoever it is, I am sure that they will not be taking us lightly!”
Summing up the progress so far this season, as The Eagles head into their last game before Christmas, next weekend away to QPR, Dean said,
“It has been good. We have made some sound progress, in what is probably the most open league in quite a few seasons. We have been very keen to develop our style as well as the various tactical elements of our games and have played some quality and entertaining football. This against the backdrop of the support we have from within the club and our amazing fans; plus of course the plans for developing our case for WSL status, has resulted in a lot of excitement around the whole set-up.”
“But, for now, we focus on the game next Sunday. QPR will be keen to settle the score from the opening game of the season and we will have to make sure that everything is readied for this.”
Details of the FA Cup draw and the trip to QPR next Sunday will appear across Palace Ladies social media this week.