FAWC: Crystal Palace v Coventry United
Coventry United travel home with all three points after taking advantage of 10 player Crystal Palace
via Coventry United
6 March 2022
In a first half plagued with stoppages neither side managed to break the deadlock despite a healthy amount of pressure from the home side.
A heavy collision halted play early on when Crystal Palace goalkeeper Chloe Morgan came out to clear the ball before the oncoming Anna Wilcox made contact. The pair came together awkwardly and both required treatment from physios before returning to their feet. Morgan and Wilcox were both substituted off later in the game as a result of this encounter.
The Eagles were then hit with another stoppage when Charley Clifford went down off the ball. The midfielder was in visible pain and clearly unable to continue. Kirsty Barton was brought on to replace Clifford 12 minutes in.
Four minutes later the hosts had their first chance of the match after Elisha N’Dow passed back a loose ball to goalkeeper Lucy Thomas to collect. Sophie McLean was able to pounce on the opportunity and fired a shot on the edge of the six-yard box forcing Thomas to drop to the ground to make the save.
At the 20-minute mark Palace again had the chance to take the lead. Molly Sharpe met Gracie Pearse’s lob and sent in a low effort that was subsequently blocked by Thomas. McLean was there to collect the loose ball but sent her rebound shot over the bar keeping the score level.
Coventry were able to regroup and force the hosts into a few hairy moments. Captain Katie Wilkinson in particular made herself a nuisance in the 25-yard box yet was not able to connect with anything cleanly enough to cause Morgan much trouble.
The second half started eventfully as Crystal Palace centre back Grace Coombs earned a straight red card after challenging Charlie Estcourt on the edge of the box, denying a goalscoring opportunity in the official’s opinion. Mollie Green’s free-kick did not go further than Palace’s wall.
The Eagles managed to maintain a spell of momentum in spite of being down to ten players with Alex Hennessy and Sharpe proving difficult for Coventry’s defence to keep hold of. However, one opportunity is all it takes to swing the odds in your favour and the visitors made good on an opening.
A switch of play on the counter was picked up by Olivia Fergusson on the left-hand side. Fergusson whipped in a pinpoint early cross that Wilkinson was able to meet with a bullet header to put the visitors ahead at 67 minutes.
The Eagles largely struggled to contain Coventry and the visitors saw the game out with the upper hand. Their final chance of the match came 82 minutes in after Katy Morris was played in on goal by Wilkinson. Morris was able to get in behind makeshift centre back pairing of Barton and Annabel Johnson, yet was unable to get a clear shot away from Wilkinson’s heavy pass.
Coventry clinched the hugely important victory and hit the road with three points.
Crystal Palace: Morgan (GK) (45’), Johnson (C), Coombs (RC), Pearse, Clifford (12’), Sibley, Cowan
(78’), Everett, McLean (68’), Sharpe, Hennessy (68’)
Substitutes: Orman (GK) (45’), Farrow (78’), Wilson (68’), Baptiste, Churchill (68’), Nicol, Haines, Waldie, Barton (12’)
Coventry United: L Thomas (GK), N’Dow, Wilcox (19’), Green, Morris, Orthodoxou, Johnson, Estcourt, F Thomas, Mann, Wilkinson (C)
Substitutes: Clark, Colville( , Fergusson (19’), Hartley, Riglar, McGrother
Goals: Wilkinson 67’