Palace Late To The Party But Take The PointsDate: 09 May 2018 at 21:11 by Liam Cook
Crystal Palace narrowly beat Coventry United Ladies 2-1 at Daventry Town FC thanks to a brace from Gemma Bryan.
At the request of Palace, the match was moved from it's original venue, The Butts Park Arena, to Daventry, in order to ensure a shorter journey home. But despite the change, Palace's trip was far from trouble free. The players and coaches encountered heavy traffic on the motorway, which meant the team would arrive to the venue late. The kick off was hence pushed back an hour to 8.30pm.
But once the game got underway, it didn't take the title chasing Eagles long to find their rhythm, with Gemma Bryan scoring the opening goal in the 2nd minute, with a looping effort over Sue Wood. Far from deterred, the goal spurred on the Red and Green Girls, who came close through Nat Haigh's flick towards the net from close range. Only Tia Foreman's head denied the centre-back from a goal. Maz Gautlett also made Palace sweat with an audacious turn and shot, which cannoned off the woodwork. Despite United's hard work, the defecit would be doubled before the break as Bryan barged Rosie McDonnell off the ball in the United penalty area, before slotting past Wood 30 seconds before the half time whistle.
United started the second half brightly, and gained a chance to half Palace's lead with a penalty as Amber Hughes was brought down in the box. Helen Dermody's spot kick was well saved by Palace keeper Megan Lynch, further frustrating the Red and Green Girls. While the visitors never really pressed for a third, they stood firm at the back to protect their lead. But they could do nothing as Gauntlett brought the ball down in the box before closing in on Lynch and rolling the ball into the net. Things looked promising following Gauntlett's goal as United pushed for the equaliser, but the United striker would receive her marching orders for a second bookable offence, all but ending any hopes of a comeback.
A proud and dignified performance from Jay Bradford's team, but Palace took the points home on a less eventful journey home, taking the Eagles up to second in the FA Womens' Premier League Southern Division title behind local rivals Charlton. Next for United, it's back to the Butts against Gillingham on Sunday