Saints See Off Unbeaten Palace

Crystal Palace 1-2 Southampton

EXCLUSIVE photos from Hannah Parnell for Impetus at Selhurst Park.

Above: Aerial battle at Selhurst Park in Sunday’s Championship clash. Photo: Hannah Parnell for Impetus.

Newly promoted Southampton won their first ever Barclays Championship match, spoiling Crystal Palace’s big day at Selhurst Park.

Above: Crystal Palace and Southampton players pause before kick-off as a mark of respect for the Queen. Photo: Hannah Parnell for Impetus.

A record crowd of just under 2,000 gathered in South London buoyed by their team’s superb start to the second-tier season which saw them defeat last season’s runners-up London City Lionesses and Coventry United to push themselves into the top group of teams pushing for a place in the Super League.

Above: Lexi Lloyd-Smith (17) celebrates after giving Southampton the lead. Photo: Hannah Parnell for Impetus.

Whilst Palace dominated the possession, it was Saints who made their 40% of the ball count on the scoreboard. Beth Lumsden called home keeper Fran Kitching into action within two minutes. Shortly afterwards, Lumsden was in threatening action once more as she fed Lexi Lloyd-Smith to give the visitors the lead as her shot went into the bottom left-hand corner.

Above: Physical tussle for possession at Selhurst Park on Sunday. Photo: Hannah Parnell for Impetus.

Palace hit back with Coral-Jade Haines seeing one effort go wide and the other held by Kayla Rendell in the Saints goal. Katie Wilkinson created two chances for the visitors with two left-footed efforts just inside the area.

Above: Crystal Palace had the bulk of possession against Southampton. Photo: Hannah Parnell for Impetus.

As the opening half reached its conclusion, Palace stepped it up with Isabella Sibley seeing an effort go wide, several corners forced and Annabel Blanchard’s shot hit the post. However, three minutes into stoppage time, the home side finally got their reward as Haines’ shot from the right-hand side of the six-yard box levelled the scores.

Above: Joy for Crystal Palace as Coral-Jade Haines levels the scores. Photo: Hannah Parnell for Impetus.

Parity did not last for long – within two minutes of the second-half opening, Lloyd-Smith grabbed her second for Southampton as her shot from the right-hand side of the box went in at the far corner of the net.

Above: Celebrations after Lexi Lloyd-Smith hit hers and Southampton’s second. Photo: Hannah Parnell for Impetus.

Crystal Palace tried to hit back with shots from Blanchard and Chloe Peplow blocked and Rendell was called into action to save Haines’ header and Sibley’s effort.

Above: Ella Morris driving forward for Southampton. Photo: Hannah Parnell for Impetus.

Saints were not without chances to extend their lead as Katie Wilkinson’s effort came back off the post, Beth Lumsden’s shot from outside the box just wide, and Ella Morris’ saved.

Teams: CRYSTAL PALACE: Kitching, Johnson, Sibley, Doran, Everett, Peplow, Haines, Arthur, Filbey, Sharpe, Blanchard. Substitutes: Reilly, Waldie, Negri, Olding, Noble, Barton, Hughes, Guyatt.

Scorer: Haines 45+3′.

SOUTHAMPTON: Rendell, Peake, Parnell, Rafferty, Ward, Rutherford, Collett, Morris, Lumsden, Lloyd-Smith, Wilkinson. Substitutes: Mott, Freeland, Williams, Pusey, Wynne, Griffiths, Watling, Harris.

Scorers: Lloyd-Smith 5′, 47′.

Attendance: 1,846 (Record Attendance).

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