Match Report: Crystal Palace 1-2 Southampton FC

After a fantastic summer where England broke record after record at the UEFA Women’s Euros, it was time for the South London side to get in on the action as 1,876 fans rocked up to Selhurst Park on Sunday morning. Breaking their attendance record.

Ultimately, Saints looked to this game for their first win of the season, whereas Palace looked to keep their 100% record intact, it was just about who has the nerve to manage the expectations.

However, a record-breaking day at Selhurst Park ended in defeat for Crystal Palace.

It didn’t start in the best way for the Eagles who after six minutes conceded after Lexi Lloyd-Smith scored the first goal for Southampton on her first start for the club.

Despite that early goal, the hosts pushed for an equaliser, and dominated for most of the half.

Then, just after the quarter of an hour mark, Palace had their equaliser, only for it to be chalked off for offside. Coral-Jade Haines shrugged the Saints defenders off her shoulder, and with some good play, managed to pass to Molly Sharpe.

The shot was saved, before Haines scored on the rebound. However, it didn’t stand, and Saints still had a narrow lead.

The visitors had to manage a lot of pressure as the half continued but stuck their bodies on the line to defend everything that came at them.

Just before the break, Isabella Sibley had a chance, but her shot hit the side netting, and just on the cusp of half-time, Palace won a free kick.

Annabel Blanchard took the set piece, and her chance hit the crossbar. But it wasn’t over, Haines was the quickest to react to the rattling of the goal and gave her side hope heading into the break after firing the ball into the back of the net on the rebound.

Photo: @AsmanRyan

Into the second half and it was almost déjà vu as Lloyd-Smith fired her side back into the lead with a goal early after the restart with a stunning finish from just outside the box.

And as was the case in the first half, Palace were back to fighting for the equaliser. With several set pieces, the hosts came close with a corner that had to be blocked from the line, and two of their free kicks hit the well-positioned Saints line as well as they pressed.

Palace pressed, and Saints defended in the latter stages of the game as both sides made changes to their team to give themselves a boost.

However, a lot of late chances for Palace lacked quality with the final ball and every chance was just short of going over the line.

In the end, it wasn’t to be for Palace and Southampton gained their first win of the season and their first win of the Championship.

A day to remember for Lexi Lloyd-Smith, whose brace secured all three points for her side on her first start for the team.

Despite the loss, fans turned up to Selhurst Park in their numbers to support the team, and long may that continue as the season continues.