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      Report & Highlights: Palace Women lose out to Birmingham in seesaw match

      Crystal Palace Women
      Haines 36'
      Sharpe 43'
      Birmingham City Women
      Pennock 9'
      Walker 12' 68'
      Quinn 15'

      Palace Women returned to Hayes Lane on Sunday where they went head-to-head with title-chasing Birmingham City Women, but lost out in a 4-2 thriller.


      • Annabel Johnson and Coral Haines return to the starting XI for penultimate home game of the season
      • Lizzie Waldie out through injury
      • Palace start with attacking intent
      • Birmingham move in control with three goals in six minutes
      • As Palace found their footing, Haines scored their first goal on 35 minutes
      • Molly Sharpe secures a second goal for the Eagles just before half-time
      • HT: Palace 2-3 Birmingham City
      • Second-half starts at a fast pace
      • Filbey goes close as Eagles search for an equaliser
      • Walker seals the game for Birmingham midway through the period
      • FT: Palace 2-4 Birmingham City
      Women's Match Highlights: Crystal Palace 2 - 4 Birmingham City

      This week there was a change-up in the starting XI, with Annabel Johnson making her return as captain, along with Coral Haines making her return after missing the game against Sunderland with injury. Lizzie Waldie missed out with her own injury.

      Looking to avenge their defeat to Birmingham a month ago, Palace made a strong start, dominating in the first few minutes with their tactical decision making.

      The Eagles were very quick on their feet to get the ball down to their attacking third, with Polly Doran finding Molly Sharpe inside the box - the striker slicing wide of the mark.

      Sadly, however, the hosts responded in emphatic fashion.

      Within minutes of that opportunity, Birmingham's Charlie Devlin swiftly managed to gain possession of the ball and weaved her way through on goal, where she played it towards Jade Pennock who slid it straight in.

      Only three minutes later, Birmingham took command. Claudia Walker's first effort hit the post, but to her advantage she close to the goal, which allowed her to tap straight into the middle of the net.

      And moments later, the Blues picked up the pace further. Pennock assisted Lucy Quinn in converting from close range, Birmingham striking three times all within the space of six minutes.

      Palace’s determination and energy did not subside, but Pennock came close to adding a fourth, firing wide after being played in by Walker.

      In response, Anna Filbey had an effort from range saved by Lucy Thomas, having seen her initial free-kick blocked.

      But a prospective comeback was well and truly kickstarted when a brilliant cut-back from Annabel Blanchard found Haines in space, the midfielder rocketing a finish into the bottom corner against her former club.

      Five minutes later, it seemed on, Johnson picking out Sharpe with a pinpoint pass over the top which Sharpe duly dinked over the onrushing goalkeeper.

      As we returned after half-time, the game became end-to-end, with no side clearly on top.

      Sharpe seemed to be on track to score again but Birmingham intercepted the ball in its tracks towards the goal, while Kirsten Reilly was on hand early in the second-half to produce a timely sliding tackle and clear.

      The Eagles began to take control of the half, with Filbey having an effort from distance which narrowly sailed over the bar.

      But the next goal went to Birmingham, Walker teed up by McLoughlin and hammering in a finish inside the box.

      That strike seemed to take the wind out of Palace's sails, and Birmingham held on to see out the three points.

      The defeat was, however, one in which the Eagles did themselves proud in terms of their hard work and energy - qualities they will hope to bring into their final home game of the season against Lewes Women on Sunday.

      Palace: Kitching (GK), Reilly, Everett, Johnson (C), Olding, Filbey (Guyatt 84’) , Haines, Sharpe (Bailey-Gayle 85’), Hughes, Blanchard, Doran (Gibbons 73’), Hughes (Dean 73’)

      Subs not used: Negri (GK), Arthur

      Birmingham: Thomas, Scott, Quinn (C), Lawley, Harris, Finn, McLoughlin (Estcourt 76’), Devlin (Hodson 63’), L. Quinn (Bourne 84’), Walker (Smith 76’), Pennock

      Subs not used: Jones, Simkin, Jenner, Cowie, Worsey