Lewes goalkeeper Shanell Salgado hailed a “team performance” that secured a point against Crystal Palace in the Conti Cup on Tuesday night – but was naturally frustrated luck wasn’t on the Rooks’ side in the penalty shootout.
Ini Umotong’s first-half penalty had put Lewes ahead on the night and the hosts were on course for three points in their first group game until Molly-Mae Sharp’s equaliser from the spot in the 89th minute.
It means both sides earned a point from the clash but then came a bonus-point penalty shootout, which went to sudden death.
Salgado, who won the Supporters’ Club Player of the Match award for her performance, impressed during the spot kicks as well. But when Ellie Hack’s shot in sudden death rattled the crossbar, Salgado was unable to prevent Palace securing the bonus point.
“For a goalkeeper you live for those moments,” said a disappointed but proud Salgado after the match, which came just a day after the Rooks parted company with manager Simon Parker.
“A lot has happened over the last 24 hours and we’ve shown a lot of character today.”
Both Freda Ayisi and Heidi Logan had chances to put the game to bed before Palace’s late leveller in a game that was stocked with chances.
Indeed, substitute Kalle Balfour had the opportunity to win it with the last kick of the game and fired just wide of Chloe Morgan’s right-hand post.
“Even when we conceded late we still kept going, we didn’t want to stop and that shows a lot of heart,” added Salgado. “We played with pride today.
“I’m very proud of the girls, for their performance despite the loss. A penalty shootout goes either way – we did our best, and it’s lovely to have the fans around with their support.”
The shoot-out defeat means Lewes sit third in Group D, with Bristol City having beaten Reading 1-0 to take top spot.
Assistant Manager Jesus Cordon led the team whilst interim manager Craig Gill joined him on the touchline for his first game. Salgado said: “We had to do the same routine as we would for a league game and we got our heads in the match early.
“We came here to do a job and we did that to the best of our ability. It takes every player individually in order to get a performance like we did out as a team.”