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      Report & Highlights: Free-scoring Palace hit London City for six

      Crystal Palace Women
      Sharpe 23'
      Hopcroft 45+4'
      Blanchard 47' 55' 63'
      Filbey 51'
      London City Lionesses
      Sharpe 28'

      Crystal Palace Women ran away with the second-half against London City Lionesses, delivering a 6-1 victory in south London to move up to third in the Women's Championship.


      • Six changes to Kaminski’s side, looking to get back to winning ways after midweek draw in the League Cup
      • A cagey start from both sides sees Palace absorb early pressure from London City
      • Sharpe scores the first after the ball ricochets into her path
      • Eagles concede from a corner which unluckily deflects in off Filbey
      • Negri keeps the score level with an important save
      • Hopcroft scores against her former club to restore Palace’s lead
      • HT: Palace 2-1 London City
      • Blanchard nets her first of the afternoon with a beautifully taken free-kick
      • Filbey makes it four as the ball drops kindly for her in the box - and the Eagles turn on the style
      • Blanchard slots away her second, beating the keeper with a cultured finish
      • Winning and scoring a penalty, Blanchard claims the matchball to make it 6-1
      • The sixth ends a flurry of four goals in 15 minutes for Palace
      • Cataldo makes her first league appearance for Palace, with Gibbons injured
      • Palace dominate the ball for the remainder of the game
      • FT: Palace 6-1 London City
      Women's Match Highlights: Crystal Palace 6-1 London City Lionesses

      It was a real tale of two halves in south London, as a second-half Annabel Blanchard hat-trick – her second in consecutive home matches – helped the free-scoring Eagles to rise in the table.

      It was a return home to the VBS Community Stadium for Palace, where they had recorded their biggest-ever victory against Durham in their last home outing.

      After a disappointing League Cup result in midweek, however, the Eagles had their eye on righting some those wrongs with a victory against their London rivals.

      Despite the sun shining bright, the chill in the air was probably a contributing factor to the frosty start to the game from both sides. Both Palace and London City struggled to gain any real momentum early on.

      As the visitors attempted to string together attacks, it was up to the Palace backline to absorb any early pressure. However, as the top Championship team for goal scored, it was only a matter of time before the Eagles turned defence into attack to take the lead.

      On the 20-minute mark, after Polly Doran delivered the ball into the box, Blanchard found herself on the ball and steadied herself to get the shot away. The effort was blocked and trickled into the path of Sharpe, whose crafty anticipation put her in a position at the back post to force the ball past Grace Moloney in the London City net.

      The goal did seemingly spark Palace into life as they upped the ante with another attack. However, maybe too buoyed by the opener, they conceded five minutes later. A London City corner was floated in and deflected off Anna Filbey, who unluckily turned the ball into her own net.

      London’s City equaliser pierced the bubble of confidence that Palace had enjoyed after going ahead and the game reverted back to the caginess of the early 20 minutes, with London City increasingly finding a foothold in the game.

      Fortunately for the Eagles, they could rely upon Natalia Negri in the 40th minute to keep the score level. The goalkeeper came out on top in a one-on-one with Danielle Carter, smothering the ball and making an important stop at the time.

      Negri’s save became all the more important in additional time of the first-half as Shanade Hopcroft found space on the edge of the box to fire Palace back into the lead.

      Uncontested, Hopcroft left Moloney with no chance of getting a glove on the ball as she arrowed it into the bottom corner, and Palace went into the interval ahead.

      At the start of the second-half, it was clear Laura Kaminski’s words would have an effect.

      An early chance in the 47th minute came from what many would have assumed would be a floated ball into the box. However, on the left hand side of the box, Blanchard stood over the ball and audaciously beat the keeper with a curling effort to increase the buffer between the two sides.

      Just four minutes later, Palace were 4-1 up and cruising thanks to Filbey, who was able to reconcile her own-goal to put Palace three ahead of the visitors.

      With Palace cruising, it was Blanchard once again at the heart of another move, and another goal, as this time she latched onto a threaded pass to slot away her second of the game, making it 5-1 to Palace.

      Brimming with confidence, it was no surprise that, when Blanchard won a penalty after being taken down in the box just after the hour mark, she had to step up.

      Step up she did, sending the ball to the goalkeeper’s right to make it back-to- back home hat-tricks and make it 6-1.

      Palace were then in total control and looked intent on scoring more, with Sharpe searching for her second of the game. She prompted a save from the busy London City keeper after cutting in and letting fly.

      Palace impressed with their goalscoring, but it was the industry which each player displayed for the duration of the game that was the true joy for the home spectators.

      That effort was summed up by Kirsty Reilly late on, who left no stone unturned to make up the yards and track back, preventing a London City effort on goal with a near-perfect tackle.

      As the game drew to a close and fourth official indicated 10 minutes of added time Palace were denied a seventh goal. Elise Hughes linked up well with substitute Shauna Guyatt, playing the midfielder through, but she was met with a tackle from London City’s Emma Mukandi, who spared her side further blushes with a great block.

      As the full time whistle blew, the 816 fans in attendance – vocal all-game long – could rise to their feet in applause of another valiant Palace effort that saw them remain just a point off the summit of the Championship table, having played a game fewer – and scored a stunning 20 goals in their last four league matches.

      Palace: Negri (GK), Gibbons (Cataldo, 77), Filbey (Potter, 81), Everett, Sharpe (Watson, 81), Nolan, Reilly, Hopcroft (Guyatt, 66), Doran (Dennis, 66), Blanchard, Hughes

      Subs not used: Lambourne (GK), Johnson, Bailey-Gayle