Crystal Palace too strong for Lewes in Women’s Championship

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Goals from Molly-Mae Sharpe, Hollie Olding, Coral-Jade Haines and Rianna Dean gave Crystal Palace a 4-1 win over Lewes at Hayes Lane.

It’s an 11th win of the season for the Eagles, who are chasing fifth place and still yet to draw in 21 games, while Lewes remain seventh and firmly in mid-table.

The hosts made a dream start and took the lead in the third minute, as Sharpe found space in the box and cut past the Lewes defence before firing her effort into the top corner.

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Seven minutes later, the Eagles doubled their advantage as Olding’s fierce long-range strike found the top-right corner of Lewes' shot stopper Sophie Whitehouse's net.

Lewes and their mascots pictured earlier in the season | Picture: James BoyesLewes and their mascots pictured earlier in the season | Picture: James Boyes
Lewes and their mascots pictured earlier in the season | Picture: James Boyes

Lewes fought hard to get back into the game and launched a dangerous counterattack, but Palace defender Aimee Everett produced a vital interception to deny the visitors a goalscoring opportunity.

Dean Davenport's side continued to pile on pressure and created some passages of play in the visitors’ penalty area, but couldn't find an effort on target.

Two minutes before half-time, Kenzie Weir was brought down inside the box by a Palace player and the referee awarded a penalty for Lewes. Grace Palmer slotted the ball into the bottom-left corner to pull a goal back.

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At the other end, the home side were awarded a spot-kick of their own after Elise Hughes was brought down and the 26-year-old forward held her nerve to convert and restore their two-goal advantage at half-time.

After a break in play caused by a head injury to Lewes' Emily Kraft, Lewes came close to their second goal of the match when Ellie Mason's half-volleyed attempt went narrowly wide of the post.

She was then denied from close-range by Frances Kitching, but in injury-time, Dean slotted home from close-range to secure all three points.

Crystal Palace forward Molly-Mae Sharpe said: "I am really proud with the way the girls performed today. I think scoring early is really important and then we knew we had the upper hand at that point to take our advantage was equally important.

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"It was a really good goal from Hollie [Olding] and I think at that time when it's 1-0, the game can go either way but we had to keep our foot on the gas and to get that second goal was vital. The game was very stop and start, but we kept on doing what we try and do everyday in training which we stuck to our philosophy.

“When you got a two-goal cushion and they get another goal, it can be anyone's game. We also showed that we can score goals in several different ways to help us finish the season strongly."

Lewes' Ellie Mason said: "To be honest, Crystal Palace turned up as a better side today and in the first half, we had a game plan which we couldn't stick to it.“It was disappointing to concede so early on in the game. But for us to get back into the game, it was tough and proved to be a huge challenge.“We went into half-time explaining and understand what we could do better. We changed the game plan a bit and was better in the second half, but we weren't good enough for the first 20 minutes. When we got the penalty and got back to 2-1, there's always a chance that you can push forward again and tried to do it.”

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