Crystal Palace Ladies, despite playing a midfielder in goal for the entire second half, earned a hard-fought win over local rivals Millwall on Saturday night, taking their second victory of the season in a row.
Newly re-signed Gemma Bryan netted her opening goal of the season during her first game back in red and blue, joining Chloe Burr and Hannah Mackenzie to take all three points from bottom of the table Millwall.
Palace opened the match fastest and, within three minutes, Burr flashed a shot across the face of goal to warn the visitors before, minutes later, hooking the ball into Chloe Sansom's goal to kick-off the Eagles' account for the day.
Millwall responded well when Michelle Young lofted a free-kick into the box for Ylenia Priest to head into the arms of Shannell Salgado, who held firmly.
The Lionesses then continued their efforts when Gabby Ravenscroft jinked along the right wing before driving an effort towards Salgado, who leapt and pushed it around the post. Again, Millwall attempted to breach the Palace defence when Michelle Young also looked to net from distance, though her bouncing shot was saved.
A third long-range effort yielded in nothing for the visitors, as Ravenscroft's drive was tipped over by Salgado before the Palace shot-stopper spent nearly 10 minutes receiving treatment for a clash with Lucy Fitzgerald.
Following the half-time break, it was decided that she wouldn't continue the game and so, with no second choice 'keeper on the bench, goalscorer Burr had to guard between the sticks for the match's second half.
Resuming play, Palace came out much faster and within five minutes of kicking-off again, Ashlee Hincks sent a free-kick just inches wide of the post. The Eagles' efforts resulted in a goal on the 52nd minute when Mackenzie latched onto a loose ball in the box before striking home to double the home side's lead.
Immediately hitting back, Millwall opened their account when Ravenscroft lobbed make-shift shot-stopper Burr a minute after the Palace celebrations came to an end.
Palace then tried to kill the game off when Sansom was forced into an exceptional save to prevent the Eagles from grabbing a third. She couldn't prevent them much longer, however, and new signing Bryan placed her header with precision and power into the net as she leapt high to meet a wide cross.
The two sides then battled it out for the game's remaining period but no team could add to the goals tally and Palace ran-out as 3-1 victors, taking a much-deserved three points as just desserts.
Palace: Salgado (Balfour 45), McRoberts, Nash, Holdaway (Haydock 75), Watling, Georgiou, Mackenzie, Nuttal, Hincks, Burr, Bryan.
Subs not used: Green, McKeag, Davenport, Collins, Butler.
Millwall: Sansom, Cowan, Bailes, Priest, Ravenscroft, Cataldo, Clarke (Lumsden 69), Stenning, Fitzgerald, Young (Rossiter 57), Ali (Harford 77).
Subs not used: Hartshorne, Auguste, Bailey, Neville.