Palace Ladies took all three points with a secure display at Gillingham on Sunday.
The match held at Priestfield was the first encounter between the two teams since the 2014/15 season, and saw Palace work to keep pace with the leaders of the league, as it nears its halfway point.
The Eagles started the brightest with good spells of possession, working the width of the pitch well, with the hosts defending resolutely and rarely causing an early threat, and in the 14th minute, the touch of quality needed was provided.
A well-worked passage through the Gillingham midfield saw the ball fall to top scorer Gemma Bryan, 14 yards out with her back to goal. With a deft turn and feet too quick for the defender, Bryan was facing goal and fired into the far corner.
Palace then moved up a gear with some free-flowing football, resulting in Ellie Bailes and Nikita Whinnet going close. The hosts dug deep and looked to hit the counter attack where possible, but these efforts were well dealt with by the back four.
The second half saw Palace lose a degree of composure in the middle 20 minutes when Gillingham working hard for possession and pushing the Eagles deeper than they would have wished. Few real chances fell to the hosts though and their plight was not helped by the withdrawal, through injury, of their top scorer Balfour.
However, it was Bryan who went closest to a Palace second when more neat footwork on the outside of the box resulted in a shot that beat the keeper but crashed down onto the line off the crossbar, with Gillingham scrambling the ball away.
The same thing happened moments later when the ball again bounced off the bar following a Palace free-kick, and despite Gillingham adopting a more direct route for the last 10 minutes, Palace remained resolute and saw the game out for a well-deserved win and three more points in their campaign.