In a match that saw the team assert themselves, Crystal Palace emerged victorious with a stunning 8-0 win over Guildford Saints.
From the start of the game, Palace were the more aggressive team, wasting no time in attacking Guildford Saints' defence. Palace’s AJ Lai Fook took an early shot that went wide of the post, but it was only a taste of what was to come.
Saints’ Liberty Druce did her best to hold the backline together, with her tackling and clearances keeping Palace from scoring early on. However, in the 6th minute, Palace won a penalty which Eva Clarke converted, putting them ahead 1-0 and setting the tone for the rest of the first half.
Guildford Saints’ Imogen Scott was the one trying to propel her team forward with her strength and desire. But it was Palace who continued to dominate on the pitch.
In the 23rd minute, Hallie Payne extended their lead with a brilliant strike into the left corner, followed by another goal by her just two minutes later, leaving the Guildford Saints’ Keeper Tia Hall with no chance.
Jamila Toure capitalized on a corner in the 26th minute, making it 4-0, and Eva Clarke’s lovely driven shot in the 29th minute further cemented Crystal Palace’s dominance. Leia Morgan’s goal in the 30th minute extended the lead to 6-0, sealing a spectacular first half for the Eagles.
In the second half, Guildford Saints came out with more energy and enthusiasm, but it was too little too late. Despite a valiant shift from Grace Spilsbury and Eva Scott, Palace continued their charge. Niya Francis scored a stunning shot from outside the box in the 48th minute, and Eva Clarke calmly scored her third of the game just two minutes later.
Guildford Saints’ best chance came in the 68th minute, but Eva Scott’s free kick failed to find the back of the net.
In the end, Crystal Palace emerged victorious with an 8-0 win, proving themselves to be the stronger team on the day. Guildford Saints had fought hard, but their efforts were unrewarded in a game against tough opposition.
(Crystal Palace): Eva Clarke (6’, 29’ & 50’), Hallie Payne (23’, 25’), Jamila Toure (26’), Leia Morgan (30’), Niya Francis (48’)
MOTM: Niya Francis
Referee: Stanley Makepeace
Assistant Referee: Libby Cantwell
Assistant Referee: Jake Underwood
Fourth Official: Matt Leary
Crystal Palace: AJ Lai Fook, Carrie Barrington – Brown, Eva Clarke, Gabrielle Reeves, Hallie Payne, Jamelia Mukiri – Smith, Jamila Toure, Jean Danielle De La Pena, Leia Morgan, Lois Moan, Lula Pieri, Niya Francis, Rosie Miller – Forbes.
Guildford Saints: Tia Hall, Eva Scott, Isabella Scott, Imogen Scott, Lucy Philpott, Evie Ross, Martha Phillips, Violet Gess, Willow Bigrave, Eliza Clarke, Grace Spilsbury, Liberty Druce, Isla Wilson.