BY MO SHER
A dominant performance from start to finish saw Crystal Palace comfortably beat London Bees to keep alive their FA Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup hopes.
Goals from Coral-Jade Haines, a brace from Bianca Baptiste, a spectacular effort from Cherelle Khassal and one from Amy Taylor – added to by an own goal from Brooke Nunn – saw Palace romp home and stay in with a shout of progressing from Group F as a best second placed side.
They actually fell behind despite coming out the traps with real intent, with Amelia Hazard’s brilliant opportunistic effort putting the Bees in front.
Palace’s response was swift, Haines levelling things up from the penalty spot after Nicola Gibson clearly diverted Baptiste’s goalward-bound effort onto the crossbar with her hand, for which she saw red.
Coupling their numerical advantage with dominance of the ball, the hosts duly went through the gears.
Baptiste scored her first of the night with a composed finish when she beat the offside trap to square up Sarah Quantrill before the unfortunate Nunn headed into her own net after getting a deflection on a wicked ball in from Siobhan Wilson.
Hazard was presented with a glorious opportunity to keep Bees in touch just before the break; when she should have at least hit the target but she could only find the side-netting.
In a heartbeat Palace were up the other end, and the outstanding Khassal added a sumptuous fourth.
From just inside the penalty area she unleashed a first-time, right-footed effort that nestled neatly into the far-corner, Quantrill only able to hopelessly watch.
Baptiste tapped in a fifth on the hour mark before Taylor’s slide finish capped the scoring late on and completed a perfect night’s work for Palace.
Eagles midfielder Hannah Churchill said: “We couldn’t have asked for any more than that, the girls were brilliant. We knew we had to do a job tonight and we did.
“They were going to want to have a real go at this as much as we were and we had to start fast. Even when we went a goal behind there was plenty of confidence and we responded in the best possible way with two quick goals.
“From a personal point of view, I had the best seat in the house in central midfield. To watch our attackers play like that was such a pleasure, and they were ruthless, which we talked about before the game.
“It’s a little bit frustrating now that we haven’t got a game at the weekend because you want to build on the momentum, but we will work hard over the next fortnight and look forward to the next one.
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