Palace Ladies bounced back from a below par performance, last week as they hosted C&K Basildon in The FA Women’s Premier League on Sunday. Having made the short trip to Beckenham Town FC, where Palace will play the remainder of their home games this season, the omens were good; not just based on the perfect weather, but also the immaculate playing conditions, on an award winning pitch.
Speaking before the game, CPLFC manager, Dean Davenport said “As a group, we were all really disappointed with the performance last weekend. We know that we could have done better and that our high standards were not met. This week, we have worked hard on what is needed and the players have all reacted as we knew they would. Today, we have had to move home grounds; something that could always be unsettling for players. Having said that, as soon as they walked in and saw the quality of the pitch, any doubts were gone.”
True to his word, Palace hit the ground running and took the game to Basildon at an intensity that seemed hard for the visitors to manage in the early stages. Working the ball with precision and fluidity. This resulted in an early corner for Palace, which was swung in by Pammy McRoberts and was met by Sarah Jones, who headed home from close range in the sixth minute. The early goal served to further ease Palace into the game; which they took to Basildon with a ruthless display of team work and high press football. Palace made the pressure count and doubled their lead on ten minutes, when a shot by Ellie Bailes was partially cleared by the ‘keeper, only as far as Mary Robinson, who coolly headed home.
Four minutes later, Palace were three up, when leading scorer Gemma Bryan cut in from the left and confidently scored past the Basildon ‘keeper to complete a blistering opening fifteen minutes.
With the heat of the day, a number of injury breaks and Basildon working hard to limit the damage, the game was slowed considerably and despite a number of opportunities for Palace to add to the tally, none were forthcoming before half time. With
Palace ‘keeper, Yardley rarely called into action, Palace were good value for their lead.
Palace, urged to maintain high levels of game management by boss, Davenport, Palace took to their task well and controlled long periods of the half. With some fine saves from the Basildon ‘keeper, notably from Bryan, and a couple of strikes against the goal frame, the Palace patience for a fourth was tested, until Bryan was played in on the left, outpaced the fullback and centre back and fired home from a tight angle in the seventy-ninth minute.
The final ten minutes saw a resilient Basildon seek a consolation with a couple of opportunities created in and around the Palace box, one that hit the bar; but nonetheless did not damage the Palace clean sheet.
The game was wrapped up in the eighty-eighth minute when another fine Palace move resulted in substitute, Alma Donohoe created space on the left and placed in a pinpoint cross into the box, where the awaiting Bryan, controlled the ball and slammed home, into the roof of the net, for a well earned hat trick and impressive win for The Eagles.
Speaking after the game, Dean Davenport spoke of his pride in the performance,
“To be honest, the girls did not need us to tell them how to react. They were as disappointed as any last week. The way in which they went about things today was an inspiration. They understood what was needed, not just in performance but tactically and delivered it with style. The start we made was perfect and every member of the squad played their part. Gemma will no doubt, deservedly, get the headlines for another hat trick, but this was about all of them; and to a player, they were top drawer.
"It was also very good today, to see one of our youngsters coming up through the ranks, with young Darcey Charlesworth getting her debut; something that as a club we are very proud of, as we work hard to generate the players of our future. All of this, at Beckenham Town FC, that has been very welcoming to us and provided a fantastic pitch for our remaining games. All in all, a very good day”
Next week, Palace Ladies travel to Coventry for a tough away game in The FA Women’s Premier League. Details this week on Twitter @PalaceLadiesFC and at crystalpalaceladiesfc.co.uk