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📝 Report: Crystal Palace Women 4-3 Bristol City Women

Bristol City Women fought back valiantly in their FA Women’s Championship opener but fell short against a clinical Crystal Palace at Hayes Lane.

City came back at the home side three times with goals from Mel Johnson, Simran Jhamat and Aggie Beever-Jones.

However, they could not get over the line against Palace who were 2-0 up within the first quarter of an hour through Coral-Jade Haines and Charlie Clifford before Kirsty Barton and Haines respectively scored either side of half-time.

THE BACKGROUND

City went into the FA Women’s Championship after a summer of change following their relegation from the Barclays FA Women’s Super League.

Lauren Smith was recruited as Head Coach, helping rebuild the squad which will play their home games at the Robins High Performance Centre.

WHAT HAPPENED

It was a tough second-tier baptism as City were two goals down inside the first 15 minutes.

The first came after a penalty just 20 seconds into the game when Siobhan Wilson was bundled over by Lia Cataldo and Haines scored from the spot.

Palace made it 2-0 when Clifford got the final touch after a deep corner.

It was a bad star but the Robins managed to settle themselves into the game and carved out several chances. Jesse Woolley forced a save from Chloe Morgan at the near post after 18 minutes before Cataldo pressed high up the pitch and fed Abi Harrison, who fired straight at Morgan in the 40th minute.

That high press paid off just before the break when Cataldo won the challenge after a loose Palace ball on the edge of box and Johnson fired in to reduce the deficit.

Johnson had chance to level the scores in added time but failed to connect and, in a flash, Barton had chested Sharpe’s cross and volleyed past Fran Bentley to make it 3-1 at half-time.

Haines grabbed her second just after the break with a clinical finish from Leanne Cowan’s cross for a 4-1 lead.

HOwever, City continued to battle on. New 20-year-old signing Jhamat had replaced Brooke Aspin at half-time and nine minutes later she was on the scoresheet when Morgan’s clearance came straight to her and she stroked the ball in.

Johnson could have pulled a further goal back but was denied by Morgan as City got their tails up - they just couldn't get the breakthrough.

Beever-Jones soon replaced Johnson in the 66th minute before Smith made a double substitution on 82 minutes – Izzy Cook and Flo Allen replacing Woolley and Ella Powell.

With minutes remaining, Beever-Jones opened her account for the season when she headed home from a corner but Palace held on to claim all three points.

City: Bentley, Powell (Allen 82), Murray, Aspin (Jhamat 45), Cataldo, Layzell, Palmer (capt), Kuyken, Harrison, Johnson (Beever-Jones 66), Woolley (Cook 82). Subs (not used): Whitehouse, Foley, Bull, Collis, Wilde.

Picture credit: Stephen Flynn

Up Next

Smith's side will welcome Lewes to the High Performance Centre in their first home fixture of the 2021/22 Championship season on Sunday, September 5th (3pm KO).

The two sides played out an entertaining 2-2 draw when they last met in mid-August as part of their pre-season preparations. 

Supporters are encouraged to pre-purchase their tickets for the fixture and take advantage of the reduced prices for online purchases. City Women are also delighted to announce that if you purchase tickets online you'll be entered into a competition to win a behind-the-scenes tour of the HPC for two people ahead our next home fixture against Durham on Sunday, September 26th. 

BUY YOUR TICKETS HERE

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