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Match Report

The Eagles soar in front of Selhurst Park record crowd

Selhurst Park was rocking as Palace thrashed Watford 3-0

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Crystal Palace Women

26 March 2024

Molly-Mae Sharpe, Ria Percival and Annabel Blanchard scored the goals as Crystal Palace beat Watford 3-0 in the Women’s Championship on Sunday afternoon.

The attendance at Selhurst Park of 5,566 was a new club record for the Eagles.

The win saw Laura Kaminski’s side bounce back after last weekend’s defeat to Sheffield United, and they remain a point behind leaders Sunderland with a game in hand. The Hornets are six points from safety at the bottom with four games left.

It only took Crystal Palace 4 minutes to open the scoring. Blanchard’s cross from the left side found Elise Hughes whose effort was kept out by Watford’s goalkeeper Bethany Howard but Sharpe was there to finish from close range.

Poppy Wilson had Watford’s first attempt at goal but this went over.

In the 9 th minute, Hughes’ low shot for the hosts from the edge of the area was gathered by Howard.

Tottenham loanee Percival made it 2-0 to Palace in the 11 th minute when from just outside the area she fired the ball low into the corner of the net to score her first goal for the club.

Abbie Lafayette put the ball narrowly wide of her own goal after an inswinging corner from the home side. Blanchard’s header took a deflection on its way over in the 33 rd minute as the Eagles looked to increase their lead further.

A few minutes before the break, Carly Johns was played in for Watford but was forced wide and chance was gone. As five minutes of stoppage time were announced, Lucia Leon’s low strike from the edge of the area was saved by Demi Lambourne as the visitors ended the half well.

The home side had the first opportunities of the second half. Alexia Potter’s curling shot was caught by Howard, then in the 51 st minute after a quick attack, Hughes’ cross from the right found the Isibeal Atkinson free in the middle but she shot straight at the Watford goalkeeper.

A minute later, Blanchard’s long-range effort for Palace was stopped by Howard, before Shanade Hopcroft put the ball over from 6-yards out after a good cross from Sharpe had found her.

The Eagles did score their third goal in the 58 th minute when Hughes’ header over the Watford goalkeeper was cleared off the line by Leon but Blanchard was there to nod the ball in from very close range.

The home side came close to scoring a fourth in the 74 th minute when Hughes headed over the outrushing Howard but the Hornets captain Harley Bennett got back to make a brilliant clearance off line.

Watford had a rare second half chance late in the game but Bianca Baptiste headed wide.

In additional time, a Palace corner was tipped over, and not long after the final whistle was blown as they ran out comfortable winners and continued their push to win the league.


Crystal Palace: Lambourne, Gibbons (Reilly 76’), Everett (c), Sharpe (Watson 76’), Hughes, Blanchard

(Filbey 84’), Nolan, Potter (Arthur 84’), Percival, Hopcroft, Atkinson (Larkin 68’)

Unused substitutes: Negri, Johnson, Guyatt, Dennis

Goals – Sharpe 4’, Percival 11’, Blanchard 58’

Watford: Howard, Leon (Fyfe 62’), Lafayette, Fleming (Rossiter 46’), Meiwald, McLean, Johns,

Bennett (c) (Chandler 78’), Georgiou, Harbert (Baptiste 72’), Wilson

Unused substitutes: Harris, Davison, Head, Palisch

Referee – Ella Broad

Attendance – 5,566

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