WC: London City Lionesses v Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace clinch a 1-0 victory in a tough match-up with hosts London City.
25 August 2022
Crystal Palace won this London derby 1-0 thanks to Isabella Sibley’s second half goal. In a close game in which both sides hit the woodwork and had other chances to score, it was the Eagles, and their fans, who went home happy.
Last season’s Championship runners up London City Lionesses named two of their summer signings in their starting 11, those being Lois Heuchan and Sarah Ewens.
Dean Davenport’s Crystal Palace made 15 signings over the summer, and seven of those were given debuts in the 11 that started the match. The seven were Fran Kitching, Anna Filbey, Polly Doran, Chloe Arthur, Chloe Peplow, Annabel Blanchard and Elise Hughes.
London City Lionesses had the first chance of the match in the 3rd minute when Lilly Agg headed wide from a free kick. Ewens put a shot over in the 13th minute, and seconds later Atlanta Primus saw her low shot saved.
Crystal Palace’s first attempt came in the 15th minute when Doran had a shot blocked. Coral-Jade Haines sent a curling effort wide in the 20th minute, and three minutes later Sibley had a shot saved.
Palace continued to have more of the chances and in the 32nd minute Hughes put a shot from outside the area well over. Three minutes later, Filbey saw her shot from long range go wide. Haines played in Sibley but her low shot was saved by Shae Yanez in the 37th minute.
London City Lionesses finished the half well though and had a few opportunities. In the 42nd minute, Karin Muya’s cross was deflected onto the roof of the net. Amy Rodgers hit the top of the crossbar from the resulting corner. A minute later, Grace Neville found herself in some space but shot wide. In the last minute of the half, Ewens sent a shot not far over from outside the area.
The best chance of the half came in injury time for London City Lionesses when Primus sent a thunderous shot from outside the area towards goal that hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced down before being cleared behind for a corner.
Five minutes into the second half and Crystal Palace took the lead. Arthur sent an equally thunderous shot from a similar position that also hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced down though this time Sibley was there to put away the rebound from close range.
Photo: Edward Payne
Palace went looking for a second with Blanchard having an effort blocked, and in the 54th minute her volley from the edge of the area was saved.
London City Lionesses first opportunity of the half came in the 60th minute when Napier played in Ewens who shot narrowly wide. Palace had another attempt of their own a minute later when Doran saw her effort saved at the second attempt by Yanez.
Agg saw her header hit the post as the Lionesses came close to equalising in the 63rd minute.
At the other end, Palace went close to going further ahead in the 69th minute when Sibley’s curling shot hit the post before Doran put the rebound wide this time. Six minutes later, they went close again when Sibley charged down a Yanez kick out and the ball went just over.
Both sides had opportunities in the last 15 minutes with London City Lionesses going close when Agg headed just wide. Yanez made a good save in the 83rd minute when she tipped over a Haines shot as Palace almost wrapped up victory.
In the 87th minute, Napier was through for the Lionesses but Annabel Johnson got back to make an absolutely superb tackle. Two minutes later, second half substitute for Palace Molly Sharpe saw her low shot saved. In the 90th minute, Katie Kitching shot over for the Lionesses.
Five minutes of injury time were signalled but Palace kept the ball in the corner for a fair bit of that and they had the final chance of the game when Kirsten Reilly’s shot was saved.
Crystal Palace picked up three points from this match between two sides who could well be up there challenging for the title this season. London City Lionesses will go looking for their first points next Sunday when they have another local derby away to Charlton. Palace are at home to Coventry United on Saturday evening.
London City Lionesses: Yanez, Neville (Joel 64’), Nolan, Bennett (C), Heuchan (Fitzgerald 86’), Agg (Hopcroft 86’), Muya (Shepherd 56’), Rodgers, Primus (Kitching 64’), Napier, Ewens
Unused substitutes: Cull, Fleming, Pedersen, Girasoli
Booked: Bennett 57’
Crystal Palace: Kitching, Johnson (C), Everett, Filbey, Doran (Barton 76’), Arthur, Peplow (Reilly 62’), Sibley, Haines, Blanchard (Sharpe 73’), Hughes
Unused substitutes: Negri, Waldie, Gibbons, Olding, Guyatt, Noble
Goal: Sibley 50’