Lizzie Waldie’s second-half goal in the closing stages inspired Crystal Palace to a 2-1 win over Lewes at Hayes Lane.
The win completed the double for Palace over Lewes in the FA Women’s Championship, with Dean Davenport’s side finishing the season in seventh.
Lewes made a promising start to the game in the early stages, but they failed to test Crystal Palace shotstopper Chloe Morgan.
The home side’s first effort on goal came around the seven-minute mark as Siobhan Wilson’s inswinging cross was palmed away by Tatiana Saunders and the ball fell to Amber Gaylor but she couldn’t convert the rebound.
Simon Parker’s side came close in the 27th minute when Rhian Cleverly launched a bursting run and struck a curling effort that forced Morgan to produce an acrobatic save.
Cherelle Khassal then did well to cut past the Lewes backline and launched a fine ball to Wilson, whose effort went over the bar.
With half-time approaching, Crystal Palace opened the scoring through Gaylor, who drilled a powerful left-footed shot past Saunders to give the home side a deserved lead.
The second half saw the visitors regain their dominance and they equalised after some great work from Lucy Ashworth-Clifford down the right found Ini-Abasi Umotong, who teed up Danielle Lane to tuck the ball into the net.
Moments later, Bianca Baptiste tried her luck as she fired a thumping straight at Saunders and Lewes cleared the danger.
Dean Davenport’s side piled further pressure after Ffion Morgan’s long-range effort was brilliantly blocked away by the Lewes defence.
In the closing stages, Lewes struggled to clear their lines from the resulting corner, and the ball was gifted to Waldie, who comfortably slotted the ball into the net to secure Palace all three points.
Waldie said: “Last week was very disappointing for us. Before the game, we said that we wanted to end the season on a high, to try and get seventh place in the league and get the three points which we did today.
“We had trust on what we have been working on in training, and we knew it would be executed on the pitch. Lewes have a strong togetherness as a team. We knew if one player attacked, every player will attack. If they defended, the team would sit back so we had to be patient and wait for the gaps to appear.
“We had majority of the possession and felt like we are going to get more goals. We never want to concede and always want to keep a clean sheet but things happen in football where it’s out of our control. We will look back at the goal and stop that from happening again.
“We worked so hard in our corners and set-pieces for a long time. We’ve had a mixture of results from it and conceded a lot of goals. I had to change my position by going out of the six-yard box just to wait and snatch it – that’s what I did.”
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PICTURE: KEITH GILLARD
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