Crystal PalaceSport

Crystal Palace up to third in FA Women’s Championship after 2-1 win at Blackburn

Crystal Palace extended their unbeaten run in the FA Women’s Championship to six games with a 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.

Goals from Bianca Baptiste and Sophie McLean gave the visitors a two-goal lead, but a late goal from Annabel Blanchard made it a nervy finish.

The win sees Palace move up to third place in the table.

Dean Davenport’s side had an excellent start to the game just four minutes in as Baptiste was on the end of a through ball and her shot came off goalkeeper Alex Brooks on its way in.

The visitors were almost gifted a second goal five minutes into the second half when Hannah Coan headed straight in the path of Millie Farrow but a last-ditch tackle from Jade Richards prevented her from pulling off a shot.

Palace hit Blackburn on the break in the 66th minute and Baptiste put in a good cross towards Farrow, who was free, but she was unable to get on the end of the cross.

Moments later Rovers goalkeeper Brooks did well to deny Annabel Johnson, tipping her volley over the bar.

Davenport’s side continued to apply the pressure and Brooks tipped Kirsty Barton’s strike over the bar in the 70th minute.

Palace doubled their lead nine minutes from time when a shot deflected off a Rovers defender’s hand and McLean advanced and smashed the ball past Brooks to essentially seal the win.

Rovers pulled a goal back in the 89th minute when Blanchard was through and buried the ball in the bottom-left corner but it was too little, too late to deny Palace.

Davenport said: “The first 45, minutes were quite scrappy. We couldn’t get into our stride quick enough like we wanted to.

“Both sides weren’t at it. In the last 10 minutes of the first half we came alive. We started to link more centrally, I thought we started to create more chances although we didn’t finish them. It was a very good start, and last 10 minutes of the first half.

“In the second half, we started quite slow. I don’t think there was much energy in the game. But, again, once we got the second goal, which was what we needed, it was inevitable that we were going to go on and win the game.”

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