- A tight first-half unfolded as both teams competed in midfield.
- Gaylor puts Palace ahead with a left-footed drive for her first goal of the season.
- HT: Palace Women 1- 0 Lewes Women
- Lewes grab an equaliser through Lane on 46 minutes.
- Waldie fires Palace ahead six minutes from time.
- FT: Palace Women 2-1 Lewes Women
In an even first-half, Palace threatened through Siobhan Wilson, who stormed down the left flank and crossed an inviting ball into Lewes’ penalty area. Tatiana Saunders punched clear but only to Gaylor whose shot from the edge of the 18-yard box was smothered neatly by Lewes’ keeper.
After 10 minutes, Lewes had a golden opportunity to break the deadlock. However, centre-forward Ini Umutong couldn’t connect with Charley Boswell’s cross, much to Chloe Morgan’s relief.
Meanwhile for Palace, Cherelle Khassal and Baptiste linked up well with Baptiste to slice through the Lewes defence, but the tricky Palace winger couldn’t convert, driving a shot over the bar.
By the half-hour mark, Lewes found their stride, stroking the ball neatly in midfield as they tried to beat Palace’s powerful press. Cleverley skipped through Palace’s defence, unleashing a 25-yard effort at goal which Morgan expertly tipped past her right-hand post.
The Eagles made a great job of turning defence into attack. Khassal sped towards Lewes’ 18-yard box, laying off a short, well-weighted pass for Wilson who drove a powerful shot over the bar.
Lewes may have breathed a sigh of relief for Palace’s missed opportunities, but in the end the Eagles made their visitors pay when Amber Gaylor arrowed a well-executed, left-footed strike into the top left corner.
It was well-deserved for Palace who defended brilliantly during the first-half and it was telling that it was Morgan who began the attack, having raced off her goal-line to prevent Umotong from scoring in a one-on-one opportunity.
Soon after the restart Lewes were level, as Georgie Timms drove through Palace’s defence avoiding challenges to stop her progress, before cleverly finding Umutong. The striker slid the ball across goal before defender, Dani Lane bundled home to equalise for Lewes.
Palace’s rhythm slowed down following Lewes’ goal as the visitors’ confidence grew. Determined to get their noses in front, Morgan’s long goal-kick found Baptiste, who made a dazzling run into the box, pulling Lewes’ defence from left to right. Despite Baptiste’s efforts though, her left-footed effort sailed over the bar.
Palace needed to make set-pieces count, and with the minutes ticking down they did just that. Panic filled Lewes’ defence when Filippa Savva tried to clear the ball the corner, only for it to ricochet across the penalty box. Waldie kept calm, making no mistake from a tight angle to slot Palace into a 2-1 lead with just five minutes remaining.
It was enough for a victory which secured back-to-back home wins for Palace Women for the first time in 2021.
Palace: C. Morgan (GK), Johnson, Stobbs (Churchill 93), Gaylor (Haines 74), Baptiste, Waldie, Khassal, Wilson, Barton, Rutherford, F. Morgan.
Subs not used: Georgiou, Goddard, Clifford, Taylor, Gibbon (GK).
Lewes: Saunders (GK), Cleverly, Lane (Mackey 64), Hack, Timms (Savva 76), Boswell, Leek (Jhamat 64), Umotong, Ashworth-Clifford, O’Rourke, Rouse (Quayal 76).
Subs not used: Cheeseman.