Revenge is a dish best served six weeks later, in front of your home fans with goals from Lucy Porter and Izzy Dalton… Right?
At least for Lewes that’s how it goes as we won 2-0 against Crystal Palace at The Dripping Pan with over 400 fans looking on. We move onto 25 points just two behind Palace, with a game in hand.
Craig Gill had asked for his team “to be more consistent in games and put a 90 minute performance together” which they did admirably on Sunday.
Palace started on the front foot with two chances falling to Bianca Baptiste early on, but both were repelled.
The first was stopped with an expertly executed slide tackle from Tatiana Saunders when faced with a one-on-one with Baptiste, the second from the woodwork as Baptiste’s lobbed shot came back off the post.
After those chances, Palace hardly had another sniff at goal. Lewes were playing a high intensity pressing game that unsettled their players and meant that we, as Gill said, could be “very, very brave at times by playing on the front foot.”
The threat came constantly down our wings where the fullbacks and wide players combined dangerously to stretch the Palace back three. Crosses were aplenty in the first half but none quite hit the mark perfectly, Porter going closest from a Dalton free-kick which she volleyed against the post, albeit from an offside position.
Porter gets her goal
Porter would not be denied her first goal for the club and that came with 48 minutes on the clock.
The Lewes press was showing well as Palace tried to break. Ellie Hack swept up into the middle of the park, intercepted and clipped the ball forward again. As a Palace defender scuffed her clearance the ball bounced up for Georgia Timms to battle for, and get her head on it, knocking it on.
And that’s when the magic happened.
The ball had fallen to Porter, back to goal. She caressed the ball towards her with her right foot and spun with it, leaving a Palace defender trying a block a ball that had already passed her.
With the outside of the same foot, Porter stabbed the ball across the goal into the bottom corner, the keeper only grabbing at air.
And the pressure didn’t stop there.
Dalton doubles lead
It was 2-0 on 57 minutes when Dalton latched onto a knock down, and spread the ball out wide to Paula Howells on the right. With acres of space, Howells then darted into the box and drill a low cross along the six yard line.
A Palace defender got a toe to the ball and poked it to Dalton on the edge of the box, where she drilled home the finish.
Palace’s day went from bad to worse as Siobhan Wilson was sent off for a second bookable offence on 70 minutes and Lewes kept up the pressure, being unlucky not to score more as substitutes Freda Ayisi and Heidi Logan both hit the woodwork in extra time.
After the game Gill said: “I was really pleased for them (the players) because it not only justifies their performances from the first half but actually, the work they do and standards they set in training on a daily basis.”
The Rooks now face Durham on Sunday at 12:00pm looking to keep up the momentum and have a strong end to the season.
Tickets available now: Lewes v Durham
Report by Tai Kolade