London City Lionesses were held to a goalless draw at Princes Park by a ‘stubborn’ Crystal Palace.
The hosts made a bright start to the game, with the ever-energetic Lucy Fitzgerald being at the forefront of London City’s attacking play. Both Fitzgerald and Lily Agg linking up well during the opening phases of the contest.
The first real chance of the match fell to Kirsty Barton, who forced Yanez into making a courageous save to deny the visitors. Fitzgerald broke free down the left, just a few minutes later, picking out Ejupi, who couldn’t quite make the correct contact on the ball.
Just a minute later, following a fantastic piece of build-up play from the hosts, Freda Ayisi fired in a well-struck effort, but her attempt was held well by Chloe Morgan in the Crystal Palace goal. On the half-hour mark, Fitzgerald was once again involved in a dangerous London City attack, unleashing a strong effort towards the top corner, forcing Morgan into making a fine save to her left.
A few minutes later, the visitors almost found the breakthrough, as Khassal weaved her way through the London City defensive line, but her effort trickled just wide of the post. The visitors finished the half strongly, and towards the end of the first-half, the referee made a ‘strange’ decision as Khassal was upended in the area, only for the official to award a free-kick to the hosts.
As the second-half got underway, the visitors claimed for a penalty, again as the ball appeared to ricochet towards a London City arm, but the referee waved away those Crystal Palace claims, without hesitation. On 58 minutes, Lily Agg drove towards goal, unleashing a well-struck effort, which once more, tested Morgan in the Palace goal.
As the visitors broke down the left, Hannah Short was forced into making a perfectly-timed challenge to halt the Palace attack. On the hour mark, Palace were reduced to ten players as Amber Stobbs received a second yellow card. Just seconds later, London City rattled the Palace crossbar as a well-rehearsed free-kick was met by Ajupi, whose headed effort struck the bar.
London City created a whole host of chances in the closing stages of the match, Primus cutting in from the right, picking out Fitzgerald, who couldn’t quite get a clean contact on her effort at goal. 12 minutes from time, it was Lily Agg, once again who drove towards the Palace goal, firing a driven shot just wide of Morgan’s post. With five minutes to go, Ejupi produced a great, acrobatic effort, which was gathered well by Morgan.
With just a few minutes to play, the hosts continued to test Morgan, with several efforts at goal, firstly, Agg let fly with a fantastic effort, which was well saved by Morgan. Then, Morgan produced a remarkable save, tipping Fyfe’s effort over the bar, acrobatically.
In a frustrating afternoon for Mel Phillips’ side from an attacking perspective, the hosts used the numerical advantage well, but just couldn’t find that initial breakthrough. For Chloe Morgan, in the Palace goal, she certainly had a busy afternoon between the sticks.
London City Lionesses: Yanez, Cowan, Bennett, Short, Neville, Nolan, Agg, Ayisi, Fitzgerald, Ejupi, Primus.
Crystal Palace: Morgan, Stobbs, Johnson, Rutherford, Morgan, Barton, Haines, Natkiel, Khassal, Nichol, Churchill.