Palace Ladies made the journey to Bedford Ladies on Sunday for their latest FA Women's Premier League fixture. Seeking to extend their 100% record, Palace entered their fifth league game of the season, full of confidence.
The Eagles head coach, Dean Davenport made a couple of changes ahead of the game, one of which was offering a debut appearance to 'keeper Chanelle Yardley, in the absence of Sam Saint. Stephanie Mann also returned to the squad following an impressive showing in The Reserves last weekend.
The first half saw a dominant Palace in almost total control, playing some free-flowing and very attractive football. Wingers Alma Donohoe and Pam McRoberts saw plenty of the ball throughout and looked particularly dangerous, stretching the game and creating opportunities.
The hosts did not make it easy however, with numbers behind the ball. This spirited defending kept Palace at bay for the first half an hour, until the inevitable first goal came, with two more before half time. This opener came as a result of the current player of the year, Sarah Jones exchanging passes with Abi Igbavboa who spotted a terrific run by Freya Holdaway who received the perfect pass to head past the advancing 'keeper.
The second saw Jones involved again. This time, picking out Donohoe, who advanced down the left before firing a shot into the far corner. The third saw the in-form Nicha Dyett net, with a nice turn and finish into the bottom corner after good work from Roschelle Shakes.
The second half saw the injured Igbavboa replaced by Angie Kiobel, who was quickly involved, feeding McRoberts on the left who ended a great run with a through ball to Shakes who finished well across the keeper, inside the far post. Gemma Bryan came on for Dyett in the 55th minute and soon put through seventeen year old Leanne Bell to fire across the keeper for the fifth.
The 65th minute saw the recalled Mann come on for McRoberts. But it was the earlier substitute, Bryan, who added a Palace sixth following Kiobel 's shot being blocked, only for Shakes to pick up the loose ball and play it to Bryan, who thumped the ball past the keeper.
However, Palace saved the best until last, with a goal of real quality that typified the way in which Davenport has developed the squad. Captain, Katy Morris received the ball from Yardley before passing to Alex Elson who fed Holdaway, who in turn supplied Kiobel. She subsequently found Bryan, ten yards inside the opposition half. Leaving four players in her wake, Bryan reached the by-line before squaring the ball across the goal for Shakes to finish a superb team goal at the far post.
Following a dominant 7-0 away win, Davenport was full of praise for his team, who have now only conceded two goals in their five wins.
"The team were fantastic today and did us proud," he said. "We spoke to the girls before the match about the need for sticking to our plan. There is no game in our fixture list that is a guaranteed three points, but we knew that if we played to our strengths and continued the efforts and form of recent games, we should be OK.
"The passing and possession were of the highest quality today and whilst the goal haul was very welcome, we should be equally pleased with another clean sheet."
Palace Ladies continue their FA Women's Premier League campaign this Sunday in a home fixture at Bromley FC against Enfield Town.
Entry is only £3 with under 16s going free. Kick off is at 2pm. Palace Ladies are becoming a recognised force in the Women's game and as with the men's club, the support shown is a significant part of this, so do come along for an afternoon of great football at our excellent facilities at Hayes Lane, Bromley, BR2 9EF.
Crystal Palace Ladies.South London And Proud.