Is a unique venue with it's distinctive glass house cafe mounted atop the clubhouse and stand overlooking the athletics track surrounding the pitch beyond. Is only my 2nd trip to the stadium and the 1st time I've seen it in daylight having covered a midweek night match last season.
Enfield Town Ladies are an established side within the FAWPL South East Division One which was until last season known as the South East Combination League. Recovered from a poor start to their league campaign last season picking up points in the latter half of the season to eventually record a 5th place finish in the table. Lost on the opening day of the this season last Sunday a 3-0 defeat away to Luton Town Ladies.
Crystal Palace Ladies were newly promoted to the FAWPL South East Division One last season and wasted no time with consolidating their place in the league were in the top three places in the league for most of the season in contention for the title itself going into the closing games involved in a 3 way battle with C&K Basildon Ladies and Milton Keynes Dons Ladies. It wasn't to be however as they eventually finished 3rd in the table. Are amongst the favourites for the league title this season and got off to a winning start last weekend with an away fixture beating Denham United Ladies 3-0. Visiting the Queen Elizabeth Stadium last season Crystal Palace Ladies drew 2-2 with Enfield Town Ladies.
Enfield Town Ladies starting XI - Chloe Crook, Beth Demery (C), Claire Gooch, Emma Kayser, Nuala McKevitt, Sheryce Slater, Ayse Mustafa, Kate Wilding, Cara Newton, Cally Browne & Ester Yong.
subs - Jordan Ferdinand, Hayley Wood-Thompson & Robyn Brown
Crystal Palace Ladies starting XI - Samantha Saint, Pamela McRoberts, Alexandra Elson, Sarah Jones, Freya Holdaway, Katy Morris, Abigail Igbavboa, Leanne Bell, Nicha Dyett, Mary Robinson & Alma Donohoe.
subs - Stephanie Mann, Georgie O'Halloran & Leesa Haydock.
There was no let up in the wet weather as the 2 sides walked out on to the pitch, Enfield wearing white shirts with blue strip across the shoulder, blue shorts with blue and white hooped socks. Crystal Palace wearing yellow shirts, light blue shorts and socks. I retreated to the small covered stand on the far side of the ground as the 2 captains met in the middle to toss the coin. Crystal Palace kick off the match.
The visitors are on the attack early on pushing bodies into the Enfield half with Pamela McRoberts showing good pace out wide on the right, her attempted cross is cut out before it can find anyone inside the box. Crystal Palace retain the ball inside their opponents half receiving the ball 25 yards out from goal striker Nicha Dyett looks to push on into the area, Enfield centre back Claire Gooch comes across to slide in with the tackle inside the area to win the ball.
For all their early possession Crystal Palace have yet to test Enfield goalkeeper Chloe Crook, she is well placed to claim the ball when the shot eventually comes in from the left side of the pitch outside the area as Abigail Igbavboa sends a diagonal ball looping in towards goal. The visitors win their 1st corner on the right with McRoberts on the ball looking to get beyond the Enfield defence and send the cross in, Gooch comes across to make the tackle concede the corner the ball sent with pace into the area Crook calls for it and punches it clear.
Crystal Palace break from their own area as the ball is cleared following an Enfield attack, Mary Robinson doing well to chase the ball down and keep it in on the right touchline travels down the flank before sending in a low cross that is met by er strike partner Dyett who has covered the length of the pitch to get onto the end of the cross, sent in low she throws herself forwards meeting it with a diving header, drills the ball wide of goal.
20 minutes into the game and the rain starts to ease the dark clouds being blown away by the wind the sun making an appearance. Crystal Palace continue to have the lions share of the attack with Enfield struggling to hold the ball up in the final 3rd. Gooch heads another corner kick clear from the right, then midfielder Nuala McKevitt back to defend a free kick heads the ball away as Crystal Palace launch it into the area from 35 yards out.
Getting some meaningful possession on the left Cally Browne wins her side their 1st corner the ball is sent into the box comes back to McKevitt on the edge of the area gets a strong header on the ball to turn it goal wards puts it straight at Crystal Palace goalkeeper Samantha Saint.
|Crystal Palace's Alma Donohoe on the ball|
Strong running from Crystal Palace's Robinson on the right corner of the area looks to turn burst forwards before sending the cross in along the six yard line comes all the way through to Donohoe over on the left her shot is blocked by Enfield's Cara Newton. Enfield concede a free kick 25 yards out in a dangerous position, is Freya Holdaway over the ball for the visitors goes for goal Crook makes the save diving to her right to get hold of the ball.
Crystal Palace have a penalty! Following a good attacking move as Dyett has the ball at her feet wide to the left of the Enfield box puts the pass into Robinson central who holds it up well before laying it off to Igbavboa she spots the run Dyettt has made to get in behind the Enfield defence slides the ball through to her, she is brought down by Newton, the referee points to the spot, as Enfield are reduced to 10, Newton sent up the tunnel for an early shower. Sarah Jones to take the penalty hits the shot hard, Crook diving makes the save to stop the ball and is quickly up to get hold of the loose ball keep the score at 0-0.
|Chloe Crook saving the Crystal Palace penalty|
Another great save by Crook as the 1st half draws to a close from a Crystal Palace corner played in from the right, Jones in the centre of the area can't get the touch to turn the ball home, flies past her low into Alexandra Elson beyond she goes for goal a fierce strike that Crook gets enough on to deflect it up off her body and over the bar, the resulting corner is well defended.
Half time Enfield Town Ladies 0-0 Crystal Palace Ladies
Has been a 1st half dominated by Crystal Palace have had plenty of time on the ball with Enfield pushed back defending for large spells have found it difficult to get in behind the home sides defence and when called upon Crook has made the saves, the vital one being the penalty, down to 10 players though would they be able to maintain the hard work they had put into the 2nd half as returning to the pitch Enfield got the 2nd half under way.
Crystal Palace have possession again at the start of the 2nd 45, keeping it in and around the Enfield area can find no way through the cross eventually lofted in from the right claimed by keeper, Crook. A rare chance for Enfield to play the ball into the Crystal Palace area as they win a free kick 35 yards out, Demery over the ball lifts it into the area, the visitors head it clear set up a break.
Attacking up the Enfield left the cross is fired in towards the near post looking for Dyett, she can't get hold of the shot the ball instead comes through to Leanne Bell inside the area she lays it back to Igbavboa on the edge of the area she opens up her body to take the shot Crook is beaten the ball past her smashes against the bottom of the right post and spins across the goal face, retrieved by Crystal Palace the ball is fired back in from the left McRoberts gets her head to it sends her effort wide across the goal.
|Abigail Igbavboa with the strike that hit the post for Crystal Palace|
Gooch is reading the Crystal Palace attackers well putting in well timed challenges to deny them a shot on goal having to concede corners. One played in from the right finds Igbavboa unmarked inside the area, sends her attempt over the crossbar. Browne now playing at left back since the 1st half sending off is trying her best to get forwards offer some support to the attack wins a throw, taking it herself gets good distance on it as she picks out McKevitt who headers it down back to Browne to hit the cross into the area looking for the far post it's a Crystal Palace head that gets there 1st.
GOAL! Crystal Palace finally find a way to breach the Enfield defence, unfortunate to come from an error from the home side as the ball is played up the pitch given cheaply to Dyet 25 yards out turns and hits the low shot with plenty of power to send it across Crook and into the back of the net 0-1.
Going a goal down after so much hard work Enfield look to try and get forwards get themselves back on level terms playing up top on her own Kate Wilding has seen little of the ball, holds it up inside the D, has support from Sheryce Slater looks to play her in on her right, the Crystal Palace defence converge and crowd her off the ball. Crystal Palace with the 1st change of the match with Stephanie Mann coming on. Enfield make their 1st substitution too bringing on Robyn Brown for Emma Kayser.
|Kate Wilding on the ball for Enfield Town Ladies|
Crystal Palace bundle the ball over the line at the far post from a corner on the right the referee has spotted a foul on Gooch as she attempts to jump for the ball and blows up before the ball is over the line. Robinson is the next player substituted for Crystal Palace with Georgie O'Halloran coming on in attack.
Demery is over another Enfield free kick on half way, Browne calls for it as she has space to run into on the right receiving the ball takes it down the right, swings her cross in too close to Saint goal, covering her near post claims the ball, sets up a counter attack the ball out to Pyelt wide on the right she wins a corner, the ball played out to the edge of the area central Donohoe latches onto it 25 yards out hits the shot is deflected wide for another corner on the left.
The corner is fired in low across the six yard box goes through a crowd before arriving at Pyelt who is caught by surprise gets hold of the ball can't wrap her foot over the ball as she sends her effort over the bar. Donohoe comes off for Crystal Palace with Leesa Haydock coming on. Enfield switch to 3 at the back allowing Browne to push on join the attack.
GOAL! It is Crystal Palace who capitalise as Dyett gets onto the ball travelling into space on the right wing getting beyond the Enfield defence, takes on the shot from the angle hitting it low and hard, Crook has come across the cover the shot drops to make the save, stops the ball but it squeezes past her and is presented to O'Halloran behind for the simplest of tap ins to double the lead 0-2.
Igbavboa gets hold of the ball late on for Crystal Palace breaks free of the Enfield defence, Gooch though recovers quickly, Igbavboa manages to evade her challenge Gooch though has good back up from Demery the Enfield captain puts in the block on the edge of the area to send the ball deflected up over her crossbar.
Closing action of the match Crystal Palace have their 2nd win of the season to put them on 6 points in amongst the early leaders at the top of the table winning 0-2. A comfortable win creating plenty of chances if not converting them, having to put in the effort to break down a stubborn Enfield defence.
Opposite for Enfield nothing to show for their efforts as they start their season with 2 defeats. Worked very hard in defence today did well for large periods of the match offering very little space for Crystal Palace to exploit beyond them that though left them with very little of the attack.
Good to see both sides early in the season thanks to both for helping me out today.