Skip navigation

Report: Palace pick up point at Lewes in League Cup opener

Lewes Women
Olding 90+5'
Crystal Palace Women
Hughes 64'

A last-gasp equaliser for Lewes paved the way for a penalty shootout defeat for Crystal Palace Women at the Dripping Pan on Wednesday night – but the Eagles still took away a point from their opening match of the Continental League Cup group stages.


  • Seven changes for Palace in League Cup group-stage opener
  • Bailey-Gayle strikes the side-netting after five minutes
  • Jamaica international shoots wide from promising position
  • Blanchard has goal chalked out for offside on half-an-hour
  • Last-minute block denies the forward moments later
  • Hughes drive is tipped over the bar
  • HT: Lewes 0-0 Palace
  • Palace continue to dominate possession into the second-half
  • Sharpe pile-driver turned behind by Lewes ‘keeper Moore
  • Eagles take the lead on 64 minutes, Hughes heading in near-post corner
  • Palace appear to see out late pressure from the hosts
  • Oakley heads in Lewes corner in the 95th minute to take game to penalties
  • FT: Lewes 1-1 Palace
  • Lewes win 2-0 on penalties to acquire bonus point
  • Palace take one from their group-stage opener

After creating a number of presentable chances in the first-half, but going in goalless, Elise Hughes’ stooping header from a corner appeared to have given Palace a hard-fought victory against their Sussex rivals.

But with virtually the last action of the game, with all 11 Lewes players forward for a corner, Kate Oakley bundled the ball from home from a set-piece to earn her side a draw – and the chance to play for a bonus second point from the spot.

Palace ‘keeper Demi Lambourne kept one of Lewes’ three efforts out, but the Eagles were unable to beat Lewes’ Emily Moore in four attempts from the spot, forcing them to settle for a point.

For the fourth season in a row, Palace found themselves drawn against Lewes in the group-stages, both teams having enjoyed a win apiece.

With only the top team in each group guaranteed to advance, however, a solid start was a necessity for Laura Kaminski’s side, who made seven changes from their 4-0 win over Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park on Sunday.

There were debuts for goalkeeper Lambourne and full-back Lia Cataldo, as well as a first start in a Palace shirt for Lexi Potter, while Annabel Johnson, Anna Filbey, Paige Bailey-Gayle and Annabel Blanchard came back into the side.

The two teams entered the contest at contrasting ends of the Championship table, and true to form Palace had the first chance of the game after five minutes, Bailey-Gayle collecting a square pass in her stride and clipping the side-netting with her near-post finish.

The Jamaica international also enjoyed the next clear opportunity, showing her strength to see off a shoulder challenge from Lewes centre-back Grace Garrad. In on goal, but with defenders closing in, the winger dragged her effort wide.

Whenever Lewes did commit bodies forward in the first-half, Palace’s backline – all changed from the win at Blackburn, remained solid and provided the ideal platform from which to break.

At the end of one such move, a loose ball dropped to Molly Sharpe 25 yards from goal, and the forward confidently bent an effort which only just cleared the top corner.

The match settled into a more regular rhythm as the half wore on, Palace retaining the ball and seeking a killer pass in the final third.

They almost found it when a delightful through-ball from Shauna Guyatt put Blanchard in on goal, but although the No. 10 rounded Moore and slotted into an unguarded net, her celebrations were cut short by the linesman’s flag.

Moments later, a deflected right-footed effort inside the box from the same player brought about a similar reaction – the ball seemingly destined to hit the back of the net, but somehow squirming just wide with the goalkeeper left flat-footed.

Palace were putting their hosts under the cosh, and Lewes owed much to Moore – faced up by Elise Hughes just inside the box – for standing tall and tipping over her laced strike.

The pattern of play continued in the second-half as Palace kept hold of the ball well and played themselves into several promising positions around the box, but their clear chances were fewer.

Indeed, it was another speculative effort from distance by Sharpe – this time on her left foot – which came closest to breaking the deadlock in the stages after the restart, forcing Moore into a flying save.

At the other end, Lewes wingers Anna Grey and Reanna Blades were proving an increasingly threatening outlet for the hosts, but found themselves well-matched for pace by Polly Doran and Cataldo.

Thankfully, it appeared to be a flash in the Dipping Pan, as a deflection led to a Palace corner which was whipped towards the near post by Bailey-Gayle. Hughes got across her marker and stooped to nod in the opener from close range – a seventh goal in six games this season.

The goal prompted a raft of changes from both teams and an increased effort from the hosts to get forwards, but Palace – well-organised and well-drilled – stood firm and restricted Lewes to just a handful of set-pieces.

But with just seconds left on the clock, Lewes won one final corner and, as bodies crowded the near post, a hanging cross was bundled into the roof of the net by Kate Oakley – and so we went to spot-kicks.

A performance of arguably greater substance than style for Palace thus ended in disappointment, as four Eagles saw their efforts from 12 yards saved by Moore, meaning Lewes’ two strikes past Lambourne proved enough to seal a bonus point.

Palace: Lambourne (GK), Doran (Reilly, 76), Johnson, Filbey (Nolan, 62), Cataldo, Potter, Guyatt, Bailey-Gayle, Blanchard (Hopcroft, 62), Sharpe (Watson, 82), Hughes (Dennis, 76)

Subs not used: Negri (GK), Everett, Gibbons