LATE TO HEAD ROOKETTES TO VICTORY
9 points from 3 games (1 pt
Third clean sheet in a row v
Rookettes head to Chichester
thanks to Neville Dalton of Sent Her Forward for the match report
Lewes recorded their third consecutive
home league win – and third clean sheet – after inflicting a first defeat of
the season on Crystal Palace on Wednesday night.
In front of a boisterous crowd they saw off the
threat of in-form Palace striker Gemma Bryan before fighting back to score the
winner at the end of a period of sustained pressure to which the much-fancied
visitors had no answer.
Former Brighton goalkeeper Faye Baker was on the
bench, 24 hours after signing for the club, as Donoghue kept faith with Leah
Samain, who had conceded just one goal in three league games before tonight.
That faith was rewarded a few minutes in from
the start, as Samain leapt to tip over a fierce drive from Bryan, who had
escaped the attention of Rebecca Thomspon to cut in from the right.
Whinnett threaded a pass between Waine and
Thompson for the striker, who let fly from 10 yards, Samain instinctively
pushed her shot over the bar.
Lewes could have taken the lead on six minutes
when Katie McIntyre’s impressive corner, earned by Avilla Bergin’s pass and Rebecca
Carter’s pace, was met on the half-volley by Dani Lane, her effort screaming
over the bar. In truth, though, the Londoners were enjoying the best of the
opening exchanges, with Bryan a constant threat thanks to her pace and ability
to bring others into the game.
Lewes won another corner in
the ninth minute after Carter collected goalkeeper Megen Lynch’s poor clearance
and fed Sarah Kempson, only for the midfielder’s effort to be blocked. McIntyre
well-direct corner – are there any other kind? – found Leeta Rutherford, but
she was unable to direct her header on target.
Kempson tried her luck from 18 yards but hit her
shot straight at Lynch. Palace attacked through Simmons and Bryan but found
Waine and Thompson increasingly well-set and hard to beat, the latter putting
in a masterful shift against the league’s top scorer.
On 24 minutes, Lane produced a run down the
left, similar to the one that led to her side’s
winning goal on Sunday against Portsmouth, pulling
the ball back from the byeline,. Bergin was denied a goal as she collided with
Lynch, who needed lengthy treatment for a shoulder injury.
On 27 minutes James played in Bergin, but Lynch
raced out of her area to clear the danger. A On 29 minutes Samain’s attempt short
goal-kick found Bryan, who fired back past her, but the goal was disallowed as
the goal-kick had not left the penalty area.
Samain redeemed herself two minutes later when she saved smartly her right from
Bryan’s shot after the ball ricocheted to her.
Palace corner number three came in the 37th
minute, but when the ball was cleared as far as Bryan the striker’s first-time
effort from some 25 yards went well over.
Rutherford, like Kempson, was enjoying a better
game than on Sunday, sent a trademark pass down the line for Carter. The
striker beat her marker and sent a low cross towards the penalty spot, cut out
by Lynch. Rutherford fired well wide from 20 yards. Kempson’s controlled low
shot went just wide as Lewes finished the half on top. HT 0-0.
Palace brought on Lydia Huntley after the break,
but it was Lewes who made the first inroads of the half, Carter outsprinting
Ria Collins before being thwarted by a superbly timed tackle by Freya Holdaway.
On 56 minutes Thompson’s high cross from deep
found McIntyre, whose header from the edge of the Palace area was easy meat for
Lynch. Moments later, the ‘keeper raced out of her area to once again to deny Carter, chasing Rutherford’s
smart first-time pass.
Lewes pressed higher, denying Palace room to
deliver to their twin strikers. When the ball did get beyond midfield, Waine
and Thompson tidied up neatly.
Whinnett was shown a yellow for apparent dissent
as Palace let their frustration show. On 62 minutes the striker had a rare
chance. The ball broke to her from a throw-in, but her fierce cross-shot was
headed behind for a corner by Waine. Palace were having their best spell of the
half. Thompson somehow kept pace with Bryan to deny her another chance.
On 66 minutes John Donoghue sent on Claire
Johnson for the ever-industrious Carter, Bergin taking up a central position up
top. Palace countered with Tia Foreman coming on for Simmons.
On 72 minutes Dani Lane, working hard to help
defend high up the pitch, found Bergin, who fed Kempson. Tha ball drifted out
of play, but it was the signal for the tide to turn again, Decisively as it
Lewes forced three corners within a minute. Thompson’s
free-kick was headed behind, and Lane headed McIntyre’s superb corner against
the bar before the ball was scrambled away. Lynch punched McIntyre’s next
corner away and Lane was unable to get her shot away.
Third time proved the charm for Lane when, on 77
minutes, she rose to meet McIntyre’s third successive corner, this one taken
from the Boardacabin side.
It was just reward for another strong
performance from Lane. Jade Davenport came on for Palace’s McRoberts and Amy
Taylor replaced Bergin, providing Lewes with a more direct Taylor nearly added
a second within a minute. McIntyre, once again outstanding for her side, won
the ball in midfield and found Taylor, who turned and let fly from 20 yards,
only for Lynch tip her effort over the bar.
Charlotte Owen came on for the injured Kempson as
the match entered stoppage time. The visitors summoned one last effort, robbing
Rutherford and sending Bryan away. Once again, Tammy Waine was there to mop up.
Things weren’t quite so calm a few minutes
later. Bryan chased a through ball, waine stepping across to shield the ball
back to Samain. Bryan scrambled past/ over Waine, using an arm, Waine
responding with a shirt-pull. Palace appealed for a penalty, but referee Elle
Kaplicz, superb throughout a well-contested match, rightly gave a free-kick the
Palace were incensed, none more so than Bryan,
who headed for the dressing room before being persuaded to return by Lynch. The
ref blew for full-time and Lewes celebrated a hard-fought win.
Both managers spoke to Sent Her Forward after
John Donoghue Lewes Manager
“You’d say that Palace would be one of the favorites for the league. It
was a tight game again and both teams looked nervous at times.
Leah Samain has conceded one goal [in the
league], against Basildon. And that was from a wide free-kick where we didn’t
mark very well, so it wasn’t down to her.
That’s three clean sheets in a row now. We’ve
got some good goalkeepers, haven’t we? It’s those decisions you have to make,
and if you want to aspire to play at a higher level, you have better players
who all want game time and all knocking on your door.
Hopefully, if players want more success, they
appreciate that it might be the case that they don’t get as much game time as
they would have done in a mid-table team.”
Palace manager Dean Davenport
“We never got going. We were missing too many of our big players today.
They never turned up for the game, even though they were there playing. It was
one of the worst games I’ve ever seen.”
“It was a
really poor showing today on our behalf. We always create a chance – but saying
that, second half we never. There were big players in our team who didn’t
perform. And that’s our downfall.”