The season came to an uncharacteristic end for Palace Ladies on Sunday when visiting Charlton deservedly took the spoils on a day that could easily be marked up by the side as, more than, “one of those days”. In a game that would see The Addicks, with a win, crowned winners of the Southern League, Palace were unable to upset the form guide and play second fiddle to the visitors, throughout.
Whilst The Eagles had a number of positive spells, hitting the frame of the goal on three occasions, it was Charlton who dominated proceedings, capped by an emphatic display by Kit Graham, who bagged all four of the goals that separated the teams at the final whistle.
The end of a terrific season was marred not only by the result, and a late goal for Basildon that saw them sneak second place, but more so by a horrible facial injury to Palace midfielder, Lilli Maple, that was later confirmed as a fractured eye socket.
Speaking after the game, Palace manager, Dean Davenport gave his thoughts on the defeat and an overview of the season.
“Firstly, we are all sending Lilli our love. It is not a good injury for her but I speak on behalf of us to wish her a speedy recovery and will help all we can to get her well.
"In respect of the match, today, we were just not at it. We had prepared well, despite playing three games in seven days, and looked to learn from the game last week, but for whatever reason, it didn’t happen; something that we will all be looking at.
"However, we are very keen to look at the season as a whole, and do so with real pride. At the start of last season, we were aware that some were saying we may be a surprise package. We knew we were coming into this league as part of our progression, and we now sit with a top three finish and a totally merited application to join tier two. That is all testament to everyone involved at, and with our club, from our amazing fans to every player and member of staff. Any disappointment we feel with the result today, is based upon a valid and real expectation that we have as to our abilities; something that will serve us well as we continue to move Crystal Palace Ladies forwards in the years to come.”
Before heading off for a short but well earned break, Dean added
“To absolutely everyone who has contributed to our season and excellent progression, we would all like to offer our sincerest thanks; and if they can all keep their fingers crossed for the FA decision relating to our tier two bid, that’d be great!!