Crystal Palace take another three points for the road
The Eagles are soaring after another win, this time a 3-0 over Watford
Crystal Palace FC Women
7 November 2023
All the goals came in the first half as Crystal Palace beat Watford 3-0 in the Women’s Championship on Sunday afternoon. Elise Hughes scored twice and Shauna Guyatt got the other goal with a stunning strike as the Eagles kept up with the other sides at the top of the table.
The pitch at Grosvenor Vale had passed a morning pitch inspection after all the recent rain but it still looked heavy throughout the match.
Crystal Palace took an early lead in the 3rd minute when after Molly-Mae Sharpe’s interception as Watford tried to clear the ball, it found Hughes who went past the Hornets goalie and finished in front of the noisy visiting supporters and their flags.
Welsh international Hughes had a chance to double the away sides lead in the 9th minute but shot over from just inside the area after the hosts defence had given the ball area again.
The home sides first opportunity came when Coral Haines played a nice through ball to Carly Johns but Demi Lambourne, on her first start in goal for Palace, and the offside flag stopped the attack.
Watford goalkeeper Jacqui Goldsmid saved a low effort from Hayley Nolan with her feet in the 22nd minute. The Hornets best chance so far came ten minutes later but the Palace keeper got a touch to Ellie Head’s low effort to slow the ball down before it was cleared.
The visitors had the next effort when Sharpe’s first-time low shot was saved in the 35th minute. Bianca Baptiste curled an effort wide five minutes before half time for the Golden Girls.
In the 42nd minute, Palace made it 2-0 when Sharpe’s cross was headed into the net by Hughes for her second goal of the match and ninth Championship goal of the season.
England under-19 international Guyatt made it 3-0 to the Eagles in the first minute of additional time when her superb shot from 30-yards went in off the crossbar. Not a bad way to score your first senior goal!
Shanade Hopcroft’s shot was tipped onto the woodwork by Goldsmid three minutes into the second half as the away side looked to extend their lead further. Watford’s Baptiste saw a shot saved in the 52nd minute, then seven minutes later at the other end, Sharpe cut in but her shot went over.
Charlotte Fleming came on in the 55th minute for Watford for her first appearance since suffering an ACL injury in August 2022 whilst playing for London City Lionesses. Poppy Wilson came on at the same time for the Hornets after being out injured since the opening day of the season.
The Golden Girls then had a good spell and a few opportunities. Gemma Davison saw a low shot saved in the 63rd minute, seconds after she had come onto the pitch as a substitute.
Johns saw an effort tipped onto the bar in the 66th minute before the ball was cleared by the visitors defence. Lambourne needed treatment after this that led to her having to go off injured. Immediately after the goalkeeping change, with Natalia Negri coming on, the hosts hit the woodwork again when Baptiste’s shot from 25-yards hit the post.
The Eagles had the final chances of the match with Hughes coming close to completing her hat-trick in the 79th minute but shot wide after being played in. A minute later, Hopcroft saw her free kick pushed away by the diving Watford goalkeeper.
In the fourth minute of stoppage time, Isabella Sibley came on as a substitute for Palace for her first appearance in 11 months after an ACL injury.
With the top four at the start of the weekend all winning in the Championship, Crystal Palace remain in fourth place, four points behind leaders Sunderland but the south London side do have a game in hand. Watford are still in 11th position and one of the relegation places after their sixth consecutive league defeat, now five points behind Reading who they travel to on Sunday. The Eagles are at home to bottom of the league side Lewes on the same day.
Watford: Goldsmid, Lafayette, Meiwald (Leon 62’), Mclean, Baptiste, Johns (Rossiter 82’), Head (Davison 62’), Bennett, Georgiou (Wilson 55’), Chandler (c), Haines (Fleming 55’)
Unused substitutes: Harris, Palisch, Reid, Henson
Booked - Haines
Crystal Palace: Lambourne (Negri 69’), Arthur (Potter 67’), Everett (c), Sharpe (Sibley 90’+4), Hughes, Cataldo, Nolan, Doran, Guyatt (Fibley 82’), Dennis (Bailey-Gayle 67’), Hopcroft
Unused substitute: Johnson
Goal – Hughes 3’, 42’, Guyatt 45’+1
Booked - Doran
Referee – Megan Wilson
Attendance – 295