Crystal Palace have ended the 2020/2021 FA Women’s Championship campaign with a 2-1 victory over Lewes at Hayes Lane this afternoon.
The Eagles were looking to end the season on a high after a disappointing result away at Coventry United last weekend while Lewes, who were already assured of fifth place, came into the game full of confidence after beating league champions Leicester City last time out.
In the first half, it was Lewes who had the best of the possession though Palace looked more dangerous when they did get the ball. After 14 minutes, Ini Umotong could have put Lewes ahead but she was unable to connect with a cross from the right to challenge Chloe Morgan in the Palace goal. At the other end of the pitch, Bianca Baptiste was a threat but some brave goalkeeping from Tatiana Saunders frustrated her.
The deadlock was broken in the 40th minute as Amber Gaylor found herself with time and space on the edge of the Lewes box. She set herself up and fired into the top corner to give the hosts a 1-0 lead going into the break.
It wasn’t long before the two teams were back on level terms as good build-up play from Umotong and Lucy Ashworth-Clifford led to the latter poking home from close range in the centre of the Palace goal.
As the second half progressed, Palace became the dominant team, especially in the last 20 minutes. The Lewes defence stayed resolute until the 85th minute when the ball fell to Lizzie Waldie at the back post and she fired home to give the hosts the lead once again. Both teams continued to battle in the closing minutes but it was Palace who were to end the match as 2-1 winners.
Palace will be the happier of the two sides on the day but this has been a disappointing season for them as they will finish in the bottom half of the table and with work to do next season to be competing in the top half. Lewes lost on the day but as far as the season is concerned, it is a job well done for Simon Parker’s side as they continue to push up the table. A top half finish is a sign of excellent progress and the next step will be to challenge the leading sides in the league.