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Read the matchday programme for Palace Women's next Conti Cup clash

19 November 2020

Kate Natkiel arrived from Brighton & Hove Albion in the summer, and now, after a spell on the sidelines, is well and truly settled in south London after scoring her first goal for the club in incredible fashion.

You can see the striker's sensational volley in the highlights video below, before then hearing from Natkiel, in her own words, underneath about what life has been like since joining Dean Davenport's side.

I arrived in the summer from Women’s Super League side, Brighton & Hove Albion, and the rivalry that exists in the men’s game has followed suit somewhat in the women’s, but certainly not in the same intense manner.

When I was at Brighton, whenever we faced Palace in the cup competitions it was built up as a derby in the dressing room. Over time, with the exciting growth of the women’s game, I’m sure those true derbies will form and reach the level they do in the men’s game.

The big change between moving from Brighton to Palace is the adaptation from playing for a full-time team to a part-time one. There is the obvious reduction in contact time with the coaches, however, the professionalism of Palace’s setup is the main reason I signed, and that has meant I haven’t noticed any significant changes in the transition from full to part-time.

Having James Marrs as a coach at Palace has helped me, too, as he used to be my manager at Brighton. Marsy got more out of me on the pitch than any manager previously, and I feel like that can happen again at Palace seeing him and Dean working together.

This league has always been really tough to earn promotion from. The standard has always been competitive, and it has that difficult mix of several full-time and part-time teams. However, the gap between those teams, as the seasons have progressed, has reduced significantly – look at sides like Durham, who are part-time, but always push for the title. And even ourselves, in Conti Cup action earlier in the month, losing 4-2 to WSL side Bristol City is no disgrace.

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I have had a bit of a difficult start to life in south London due to injury. I have never had a serious injury prior to an operation I had to have a couple of months back. I tore my meniscus in my knee back in March, however due to lockdown I couldn’t get the treatment I required.

It has been frustrating, as when you join a new team you want to hit the ground running in training and on the pitch. I did make a couple of substitute appearances in our first two games but I knew I needed to have the operation to reach my full potential here.

It feels great to say I’m back to full fitness and enjoying my football again, plus I’m delighted to now have my first goal for the club. I don’t think I have – or will – score any better than that volley against Coventry United.

You can hear more from Palace Women by reading the matchday programme for tonight's Conti Cup clash v London Bees, below.

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