Crystal Palace pushed themselves further towards safety with a resounding 5-0 derby win over London Bees at Hayes Lane.
The result sees The Eagles climb eight points above their opponents, and nine above the relegation zone. Palace forward Bianca Baptiste starred with the player being involved in all five goals.
Two goals each for Coral-Jade Haines and Baptiste in the first half and one for Kate Natkiel in the second period sent The Bees crashing to defeat in Bromley. The loss leaves Sian Osmond’s side just a point outside of the relegation zone, with both teams below having games in hand.
An end-to-end opening five minutes saw chances at either end, but keepers Sarah Quantrill and Chloe Morgan kept the game under control.
A break by Siobhan Wilson in the 10th minute led to an opportunity for The Eagles but after some link-up play between Natkiel and Baptiste, the ball ended safely in Quantrill’s hands.
Helen Ward went close putting The Bees ahead at the other end as the ball went through a forest of players before rebounding off the post.
In the 21st minute, Palace broke the deadlock when Baptiste forced her way through The Bees’ defence after cutting in from the right and calmly slotted home into the far corner.
Five minutes later, it was 2-0 when Baptiste’s shot was saved by Bees keeper Quantrill but the rebound fell to the feet of Haines who finished well.
It was soon 3-0 when a perfectly timed through ball released Baptiste once again and she grabbed her second after nudging the ball past a charging Quantrill.
The same player found herself in the thick of the action again two minutes later, taking the ball down the right and crossing for Haines, whose header made it two goals a piece for the duo.
A little over five minutes before the break, Wilson’s cross found Natkiel on the edge of the box but the striker sent the ball high into the stands as The Eagles went into half-time 4-0 up.
London Bees started the second half stronger and they went close to scoring from a corner kick which was cleared off the line.
At the other end, Baptiste looked as though she had secured her hat-trick but turned to see that the assistant referee had raised his flag for offside. Haines then threatened The Bees goal again but her shot stumped the post.
With just over 10 minutes to go, Baptiste broke down the right side again, setting up a two-on-one with Quantrill. The move was finished off by Natkiel who put Palace five goals to the good.
Palace ended the game 5-0 winners as they moved well clear of the bottom three clubs, leaving opponents London Bees in serious trouble.
Article author: Will Tyrer