After a challenging week, the Bees fell to a tough defeat at Hayes Lane, following a 10-minute spell of ruthlessness from the Eagles.
On an afternoon that ended in disappointment, it was Sian Osmond’s side who had started the brighter of the teams and they looked dangerous through the energetic Sophie Quirk and the tricky Lauren Pickett.
The first sight at goal came via Quirk, who’s teasing delivery whistled towards goal, but crashed against the upright and away to safety. Pickett then turned the ball back into the area, but Helen Ward’s connection wasn’t strong enough to beat Chloe Morgan in the Eagles goal.
Quirk continued to cause the hosts problems, as she danced through four Eagles players before offloading to Amelia Hazard who just tripped at the vital moment, with options opening up on the left and right.
Up the other end, the Eagles looked threatening themselves, with a goal-line clearance from Mia Cruickshank denying them the opener after a cut-back caused all sorts of problems to the Bees backline.
Osmond’s side should have taken the lead on 18 minutes, as Quirk’s cross found Pickett unmarked at the back post, the striker brought it down but hit her effort straight at Morgan who parried clear to the onrushing Ward who struck a crashing effort against the post.
It would be a moment that the Bees were left to rue just three minutes later, as Bianca Baptiste danced into the area before cooly slotting past Sarah Quantrill and into the back of the net.
That opener sparked the start of a manic ten-minute spell, as the Bees shipped a further three goals in a manic ten-minute spell, where the hosts put the game to bed.
The second goal came four minutes after the first, as Quantrill denied Baptiste, only for Coral Haines to be on the spot to tap home from six yards out. It was soon three for the hosts, as the Bees backline were caught out by Baptiste once again and she made no mistake with the finish as she rushed through on goal.
It was four for the Eagles on the half-hour mark, as they again took advantage of a shaken Bees defence, as Baptiste found Haines unmarked to nod past Quantrill and ultimately secure the points for Dean Davenport’s side. Whilst it was ruthless from the hosts, it was cruel on Osmond’s side who should have been ahead following that opening period of dominance.
Going into the second half, the Bees showed fight throughout, even though the scoreline was against them. Osmond’s side almost clawed one back, as a corner was flicked goalwards only for it to be cleared from the goal-line.
The Bees continued to ramp on the pressure, but couldn’t find a way past a resurgent Eagles backline who were keen to cling onto their clean sheet.
With ten minutes to go, Palace added fifth as Kate Natkeil poked home to round off a fantastic afternoon for the hosts, whilst the Bees endured another tough afternoon at a traditionally unhappy hunting ground.
Osmond will take positives from the problems they caused Palace in the opening stages but will be keen to address the defensive frailties ahead of our next match away to Liverpool Women.
“I think we had a really positive start and we created a lot of opportunities, we started really brightly. We were really unlucky not put our chances away, it’s sort of where we have been at so far this season. Palace are a very well organised side and when they have got themselves the opportunities they have been clinical and scored.
“We have had a 15-minute spell of absolute madness really where things ran away from us a little bit. I think we look a lot more organised in the second half but didn’t quite create the same level of chances.
“I think the girls can be really pleased with what they did create in the first 15 minutes, they were unfortunate not to have scored and taken the lead. Creativity is something we have struggled with this season and I think the girls did create some good chances. I thought Sophie Quirk was excellent again today, as was Lauren Pickett, they both caused their full-backs all sorts of problems.
“We always seem just short of putting ourselves in that position (leading in matches), if we had gone ahead, it may well have possibly been a different afternoon.
“We have to look at the problem (defensively), we will go away as staff and analyse what went wrong and look at ensuring that individuals understand their roles and responsibilities in the game. We need to have that composure to ensure that when things don’t go right or we concede a goal, that we don’t lose our heads and throw things away. We have to have the composure to rebuild and start again.
“This week has been really tough, we have been disrupted in training because of the weather and with everything else that has gone on, it’s been a little bit of a disjointed week. I have to say the girls have been a credit to themselves because they have knuckled down and worked really hard. These next two weeks leading into Liverpool are going to be vitally important, we’re going to have to nail down some things. We know what we need to work on and what we need to improve, so we’ll go from there.”
“Very disappointing. We had a good 15-minute spell at the start of the match, which, if we got a goal, it changes our confidence and the rest of the game but the first goal goes in and heads drop and we can’t have excuses.
“We didn’t react and we weren’t at the races and then 4-0 at half time is the biggest uphill battle.
“The one off the post, if that goes in, it’s a different game. Sophie Quirk has been unbelieavble since she’s come in from Reading and she is a nightmare to mark and I think she’ll make her mark on this league.
“We’ve got such good attackers and variety but we just need it all to click for us.
“We’ve struggled and the goals have come heavy from Palace and they seem to have our number, which is disappointing. Every game in this league is difficult but we can’t feel sorry for ourselves.”