Bianca Baptiste’s brilliant second-half brace fired Crystal Palace to an impressive 2-0 win at Lewes in the FA Women’s Championship.
After a goalless opening 45 minutes at the Dripping Pan, the clinical attacker twice expertly finished past Tatiana Saunders to deny the home side a share of the spoils.
The visitors started on the front foot, with Kate Natkiel forcing Saunders into a save before the home stopper then quelled the threat of Baptiste ahead of the 10-minute mark.
Lewes gradually worked their way into the contest and Ellie Leek enjoyed a sight of goal but could only slice her shot, allowing Palace to clear comfortably.
The two sides continued to trade half-chances with Baptiste shooting wide and a Hannah Griffin cross causing the away defence problems, while Coral-Jade Haines fired a free-kick attempt over the crossbar in the 28th minute.
Samantha Quayle rose well to head away a dangerous Crystal Palace ball and Paula Howells spurned two opportunities to put Lewes in front late on in the first half, leaving the scoreline blank at the break.
Half-time introduction Emily Donovan made an instant impact on the game, skipping past a Crystal Palace defender and feeding Howells, whose shot was well stopped by Chloe Morgan.
Howells and Baptiste continued to look the most likely to break the deadlock for their respective sides, and it was the latter who claimed the afternoon’s first goal with a sumptuous chip over Saunders in the 62nd minute.
The Rooks refused to lie down despite going behind and Megan Mackey dragged a shot wide, but their deficit was soon doubled as Baptiste notched her second goal of the game to give Palace a 2-0 lead with 10 minutes to play.
Danielle Lane sent a last-gasp effort over the bar in the match’s dying moments, but Palace held firm to secure a valuable away win.
To follow the action and sign up for The FA Player’s live Barclays FA Women’s Super League coverage visit womenscompetitions.thefa.com
Photos: Crystal Palace FC
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.