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      Report: Palace Women unlucky in St Mary's Stadium defeat

      Southampton F.C. Women
      Pharoah 45+3'
      Pusey 90+3'
      Crystal Palace Women

      Crystal Palace Women travelled down to face Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium in the Women's Championship, but despite a valiant effort, the hosts won out with goals at the ends of both halves.


      • Four changes for Palace as Rianna Dean and Aimee Everett make their return to the starting lineup after injury
      • Dean’s start marks her first in 17 months following a long-term foot injury
      • Fran Kitching quick on her feet to deny Southampton’s early attempts to score
      • The Saints secure their first goal deep into first-half added time
      • HT: Southampton 1-0 Palace
      • Palace press forwards in attempt to pull a goal back, Bailey-Gayle coming close
      • Southampton defence holds firm in a match of few chances
      • Southampton take advantage of seven minutes added time to score again
      • FT: Southampton 2-0 Palace
      Women's Match Highlights: Southampton 2 - 0 Crystal Palace

      One of four changes to this week’s line-up, Aimee Everett made her return to the squad after being injured for Palace’s last nine games.

      Forward Rianna Dean was another player who was a part of the starting line-up having returned recently from a 17-month absence.

      In the early stages of the first-half, Palace looked for ways to create space and to gain possession of the ball, but they struggled to keep hold of it for long periods of time.

      Palace had created a few chances to secure a goal, as Dean looked to run in behind to score, but Southampton’s defence was on high alert and their goalkeeper Kayla Rendall intercepted the ball.

      Southampton then made an attempt to score in the 15th minute through Ella Morris, but a super save from Kitching low down to her left denied her.

      22 minutes in, Palace’s Kirsten Reilly made another attempt to score, though it was blocked from the centre of the box by Rendall.

      At the end of the first-half, five minutes’ additional time was signaled. Southampton increased the pressure, and Morris saw that Sophia Pharaoh had found an opening in the penalty area, which allowed the forward to place a low shot past Kitching and into the net.

      As we returned for the second half, the Eagles remained hopeful that they could make their comeback.

      Paige Bailey-Gayle was full steam ahead, keen to make her mark for Palace at St Mary’s, and she collected the ball on the edge of the box and followed through with a curling strike which went narrowly wide of the Southampton post.

      The hosts soon after won a free-kick, which caused Palace to put in place strong defensive wall. Southampton’s Lucia Kendall took it, but the wall expertly blocked the ball from getting anywhere near the goal.

      Seven minutes’ added time was awarded, giving the Eagles one last chance to level the score.

      But in the 90th minute, the Saints decided to replace their goalscorer Pharaoh with Ella Pusey, who ended up giving Southampton a second goal three minutes later, intercepting the ball from Anna Filbey and smacking it straight into the goal from the centre of the box.

      Defeated this week, but the Eagles will hope to get back to winning ways when they return home to Hayes Lane to go head-to-head with Durham on Sunday (12th February).

      Palace: Kitching (GK), Everett, Waldie, Reilly, Arthur (Hughes, 75), Bailey-Gayle, Dean (Sharpe, 83), Haines, Olding, Blanchard

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

      Southampton: Rendall (GK), Morris, Kendall, Parnell (C), Rafferty, Wynne (Wilkinson, 75), Pharoah (Pusey, 90), Griffiths (Peplow, 45), Rutherford, Collett, Peake

      Subs not used: Mott (GK), Freeland, Williams, Ward, Lloyd-Smith, Howard