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Match Report

Soaring high: The Eagles land at the top of the table

Elise Hughes' goal secures Crystal Palace's spot at the top after a 1-0 win over Birmingham City

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Crystal Palace Women

15 April 2024

Crystal Palace moved to the top of the Women’s Championship table with a 1-0 win over Birmingham City on Sunday afternoon.

Elise Hughes scored the only goal of the game for the Eagles late in the first half.  The Blues had Jade Moore sent off just after the hour mark before Lucy Thomas saved a late Palace penalty.

Laura Kaminski lined her side up in a 4-2-3-1 formation.  Ria Percival and Fliss Gibbons both got forward in full back positions with Alexia Potter, the deeper midfielder, dropping back to help in defence.  Hopcroft got forward from midfield to support the attack. 

Emily Simpkins, who was in charge of Birmingham after Darren Carter’s departure during the week, lined the Blues up in a 4-4-1-1 formation.  With Choe Yu-Ri and Lucy Quinn both attacking on the wings to support Libby Smith, the formation changed into 4-2-3-1 when going forward.

An early Birmingham free kick was easily claimed by Lambourne, but apart from this it was a quiet start to the match with no shots at goal in the first 20 minutes.  Moore was booked in the 9th minute after she committed a foul.

In the 20th minute, the visitors had the first opportunity of the match when Charlie Devlin played in Smith but with the ball bobbling, she put her shot over the crossbar. 

The home sides first chances came in the 27th minute when Hughes saw an effort blocked then Isibeal Atkinson’s low shot was saved by Thomas.

Devlin’s shot was blocked by Potter on the half hour mark, and at the other end, the visitors goalkeeper claimed a deep cross from Gibbons in the 36th minute. 

A minute later, Molly Sharpe played in Annabel Blanchard and her curling shot was tipped behind by Thomas for a corner as the Eagles had their best chance of the match so far.

Just after one minute of additional time at the end of the half had been indicated, Hughes scored her 16th goal in the league this season to give Palace the lead from close range, finishing Blanchard’s cross. 

Claudia Walker came on at half time for Lucy Quinn on the right side of Birmingham’s midfield. 

Smith let the ball bounce after a cross into the area and put an effort over in the 49th minute as the visitors had the first opportunity of the second half. 

The hosts had the next chance when Sharpe passed to Blanchard who played the ball onto Atkinson whose shot went narrowly wide in the 57th minute. 

Rebecca Holloway’s powerful run down the left side for the Blues finished with the ball being put behind for a corner.

Moore was sent off in the 62nd minute after receiving her second yellow card for a handball when she stopped a Palace attack in the middle of the pitch.  This led to Birmingham changing to a 4-4-1 formation with Devlin dropping back deeper into midfield.

Shortly after this, Palace made a change with Atkinson coming off and Araya Dennis on which meant Sharpe moved to the left side of midfield with Dennis on the right.

Jade Pennock came on as a substitute for the Blues in the 69th minute, making her first appearance after recovering from a hamstring injury she sustained in December.

Gibbons shot from 25-yards went just wide of the post in the 79th minute as Palace went close to scoring a second.

In the final minute of the match, the Eagles were awarded a penalty after Hughes had been brought down in the area.  Blanchard stepped up to take the spot kick but her low effort towards the corner was well saved by Thomas.

Birmingham had a late free kick but this came to nothing.  Crystal Palace easily held on for the rest of the match to move two points clear of Sunderland and three clear of Charlton at the top of the Championship table with two games remaining.  The defeat ended any hope the Blues had of winning the league.



Crystal Palace (4-2-3-1) : Lambourne, Percival, Everett (c), Nolan, Gibbons, Potter, Hopcroft (Guyatt 90’+2), Sharpe, Blanchard, Atkinson (Dennis 66’), Hughes

Unused substitutes: Negri, Arthur, Filbey, Reilly, Doran, Watson, Larkin

Goal – Hughes 45’+1


Birmingham City (4-4-1-1): Thomas, Herron, Louise Quinn (c), Lawley, Holloway, Choe (Pennock 69’), Moore, Agg (Harrison-Murray 89’), Lucy Quinn (Walker 46’), Devlin (Cho 69’), Smith (Pullen, 89’)

Unused substitutes: Clarke, Dungate, Wilson, Hall

Booked – Moore, Walker

Sent off – Moore 62’


Referee – Magdalena Golba

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