Match Report

FAWC: Crystal Palace v Watford

The Eagles pinch a win in their last home game of the season.

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Paul Donegan

25 April 2022

Crystal Palace won 2-1 against relegation threatened Watford on Sunday at Hayes Lane. Watford’s loss along with Coventry United’s win over Lewes means that the FA Women’s Championship relegation place will be decided on the final day when the bottom two play each other.

Watford had a few early corners, one of which was eventually scrambled wide. Palace’s first chance in the 17th minute was a long range shot from Siobhan Wilson that was easily saved.

Two minutes later, Palace took the lead when Molly Sharpe collected a long ball forward and saw her lob from an angle go over the goalkeeper and in off the post.

A couple of minutes later, Sharpe had an opportunity to double the lead but headed wide. In the 27th minute, Millie Farrow shot well wide as Palace continued to look the more threatening of the sides in the opening half hour.

Watford’s best chance of the half came in the 34th minute when Andria Georgiou sent a lob from the edge of the penalty area just over and onto the roof of the net. Shortly after, Amber-Keegan Stobbs sent another shot over for the visitors.

The hosts made it 2-0 in the 39th minute when Sharpe got her second as she got onto a long ball first and lobbed the ball over Watford keeper again and into the net.

Watford became a bit sloppy just before half time and Sharpe had a couple of opportunities to score again but both were blocked by Watford defenders. The final chance of the half saw Gracie Pearse head a corner wide for the home side.

Watford had a few chances early in the second half with a Corinne Henson shooting wide and then Georgiou’s shot from the edge of the area going straight at the Palace keeper.

Palace almost scored a third in the 53rd minute when another long ball found Farrow but she saw her shot bounce back off the post and into the goalies hands.

Watford did have the ball in the net in the 60th minute but Helen Ward’s effort was ruled out for offside. Stobbs then sent a long range shot well over as Watford looked to get back into the game.

Palace had an opportunity of their own to increase their lead as well with Sharpe sending a powerful shot wide in the 70th minute.

Watford had two chances in quick succession to get a goal back when in the 76th minute Chiara Meola put an effort just wide, and a minute later Jenna Legg saw her shot from outside the area also go wide.

The visitors did score in the 81st minute when from a corner, the ball fell to Gemma Davison whose low shot from about 6 yards found the corner of the net.

It was Palace who had the next couple of opportunities as Bianca Baptiste shot wide in the 82nd minute and then Wilson sent a dinked effort inches wide five minutes later.

Watford had the last chances of the game as they went looking for an equaliser with Davison seeing her cross land on the roof of the net and Georgiou sending her shot go into the hands of the Palace goalkeeper.

The win leaves Crystal Palace fourth in the Championship but with a chance of finishing second still. Watford and Coventry United are now only separated by two points at the bottom of the league with one game left. They face each other next Sunday in what will be a huge match at Vicarage Road.

Line ups:

Crystal Palace: Orman (GK), Johnson (c), Everett, Pearse, Sibley (Nichol 74’), Haines, Wilson, Waldie, McClean (Clifford 74’), Farrow (Baptiste 74’), Sharpe (Hennessy 84’)
Unused substitutes: Smith, Churchill, Coombs
Goals – Sharpe 19’, 39’
Booking – Farrow

Watford: Ferguson (GK), Stobbs (c), Chandler, Meiwald, Henson, Ali (Legg 67’), Georgiou, Kmita, Ward (Meola 67’), Fatuga-Dada, Fyfe (Davison 46’)
Unused substitutes: Smith, Vyse, Hector, Wiltshire, Vassell, Rogers
Goal – Davison 81’

Referee – Jade Wardle
Attendance - 464