FA WOMEN'S PREMIER LEAGUE (SE)
CRYSTAL PALACE LADIES FC 6 - 1 OLD ACTONIANS LADIES FC
Crystal Palace Ladies added another victory to their promotion efforts with a fine 6-1 win over Old Actonians in The FA Women's Premier League on Sunday at Bromley FC.
With changes made due to the absence of Lexie Spokes and Leanne Bell, the match saw Palace squad debuts in the FAWPL for Elizabeth Berkeley and Martha Kent. Also missing the injured Leesa Haydock and Alex Elson, The Eagles made the necessary changes, seamlessly.
Palace set about the task, as asked in an effective and at times ruthless manner, with some good possession football and signs of real quality and flair against a dedicated opposition. An issue that Palace have been keen to address at times this season has been the occasional slow start. Something that they were not guilty of, on Sunday.
Before anyone could really draw breath, Palace were in complete control through goals from Abi Igbavboa and Gemma Bryan during a spell of scintillating football. The half continued in the same light and saw Palace add two more through the impressive Bryan; completing yet another hat-trick this season. Half time, 4-0 to Palace.
The second half saw Palace continue in their efforts to add to the tally, in a bid to ensure they maintained goal difference parity with Gillingham, who are hot on the heels of Palace in the promotion chase. Their title rivals were involved in a home game against Lowestoft and at half time were already well in front, keeping as much pressure as possible on The Eagles.
Despite their best efforts to match the goal spree of the first half and an early second half goal for Bryan from the penalty spot, Palace struggled to match the earlier goal return.
To the credit of the visitors, they stuck to their determination and scored from a speculative long range effort later in the half. The five goal difference was restored by Nicha Dyett, adding the last goal in the 6-1 victory.
Speaking after the game, Davenport was pleased with the performance and result, saying: "The Ladies did well today. It is always tough playing a team that we only played a week before. However, despite the enforced changes to the team, we looked good and put in a good shift. We knew that the three games in March after the Gillingham match, would be crucial. With six points from the first two of those games, we are doing what we need to."
Asked about the huge 13 goal haul that Gillingham bagged on the day, Davenport added: "Yes, that is impressive and we always knew that they (Gillingham) would keep us honest. If you calculated their two games in hand as wins, we would still have the cushion of three points. So, it is essential that we tick off each game as it comes, hopefully maintaining that difference. Should we not manage this, goal difference will be a factor; something we are aware of and will look to increase when and where we can. It all adds to the excitement of a competitive league and shows the strengths of women's football."
Looking ahead to the third of those three March games, Palace host Lowestoft at Bromley FC on Easter Sunday. In what is another crucial match, The Eagles will seek to make it the targeted nine points for March and reduce the games to play, by one more.
The game on Sunday kicks off at 2pm, with doors open from 1230. Entry is £3 per adult with under 16s entering for free.
All are welcome for a thoroughly family friendly and enjoyable afternoon.