Lane strikes but Lewes lose to Crystal Palace
Lizzie Waldie’s second-half goal in the closing stages inspired Crystal Palace to a 2-1 win over Lewes at Hayes Lane, writes Mitul Samji.
The win completed the double for Palace over Lewes in the FA Women’s Championship, with the visitors finishing the season in fifth.
Lewes made a promising start to the game, but they failed to test Crystal Palace shot-stopper Chloe Morgan.
The home side’s first effort on goal came around the seven-minute mark as Siobhan Wilson inswinging cross that was palmed away by Tatiana Saunders and the ball fell to Amber Gaylor but she couldn’t convert the rebound.
Simon Parker’s side came close in the 27th minute when Rhian Cleverly launched a bursting run and struck a curling effort that forced Morgan to produce an acrobatic save.
Cherelle Khassal did well to cut past the Lewes backline and launched a fine ball to Wilson, whose effort went over the bar.
With half-time approaching, Crystal Palace opened the scoring through Gaylor who drilled a powerful left-footed shot past Saunders to give the home side a deserved lead.
The second half saw the visitors regain their dominance and they equalised after some great work from Lucy Ashworth-Clifford down the right found Ini-Abasi Umotong, who teed up Danielle Lane to tuck the ball into the net.
Moments later, Bianca Baptiste tried her luck as she fired a thumping straight at Saunders and Lewes cleared the danger.
Dean Davenport’s side piled further pressure after Ffion Morgan's long-range effort was brilliantly blocked away by the Lewes defence.
In the closing stages, Lewes struggled to clear their lines from the resulting corner, and the ball was gifted to Waldie, who comfortably slotted the ball into the net to secure Palace all three points.
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Lewes manager Simon Parker said: “We are just not clinical at times. Crystal Palace’s first goal was brilliant and very reminiscent from the Southampton game. We had a lot of ball which is something different for us to get used to and having to break down the team. It is disappointing to lose but this was a great game for our development and learning by coming up against a team that is going to sit back and let us have the ball and whether we could break them down.
“We have to make better decisions when we are in the final third and progressing in the counter attack. In the second half, we started brightly and when Katie Rood came on, we had a couple of good opportunities. We should have definitely taken one of those chances that other teams do score against us. We were punished for not taking our chances and Palace are a dangerous side as we didn’t deal with the set piece.
“Once we conceded the second goal, maybe a few minutes before that, we weren’t keeping the ball well enough and our decisions was getting worse.
“Today was a test that we didn’t have much of this season. Teams don’t sit back against us and teams that are dangerous as Crystal Palace on the transition gave us exposure on what we need, and so, there was a lot of learning.”
Lewes (3-4-3): Tatiana Saunders, Rhian Cleverly, Ellie Hack, Georgia Timms, Charley Boswell, Ellie Leek, Ini-Abasi Umotong, Lucy Ashworth-Clifford, Sophie O'Rourke, Danielle Lane, Mollie Rouse. Subs: Simran Jhamat for Leek 64, Megan Mackey for Lane 64, Samantha Quayle for Rouse 76, Filippa Savva for Timms 76, Katie Rood for Boswell 82. Subs not used: Zahra Cheeseman