23rd March 2017
On Sunday, Palace Ladies encountered C&K Basildon in the Women’s Premier League Southern Division in a 5th vs. 6th battle. Following their promotion last season, Palace have been very successful in the 2016-17 campaign, only losing two of their thirteen games.
A 2-2 draw concluded the match, Gemma Bryan scoring a brace. After the game, we interviewed the Palace Ladies manager- Dean Davenport:
Q1. How did you approach this game, given C&K Basildon’s position in the league?
“Our approach to the Basildon game was no different than any other game, to be honest. We had worked on a game plan and a couple of things during the week’s training. The most important aspect was not to get beaten, as any points gained would move us further away from them to potentially secure us a top five finish. It was also to get the players’ minds back into game mode, since we didn’t play a game for another two weeks prior. We knew that Sunday was going to be a physical game; I told my players that they must stand up to the physical challange first and foremost, then their footballing abilities would shine through.”
Q2. Palace took the lead within the first half hour, but the opposition equalised on the stroke of half time. Can you talk us through the events of the first half?
“We started the game very brightly and dictated play straight from kick off. As we predicted, Basildon played on the physical aspect of the game, hooking balls on and getting tackles in early. The girls knew this and matched them all the way, which led to us going through the gears a lot quicker and finding a foothold in the game before they did.
I was very pleased after twenty minutes with the way we scored our goal. We were well on top of the game and from our goalkeeper’s pass out from the back, which was in a tight area, our defenders started a passing move that saw Gemma Bryan one on one with the keeper; she finished her 16th goal of this season. Basildon were always going to be strong at set plays and this was highlighted to the players. However, just before half time, it was a set play that we didn’t quite compete for, the ball finding its way into our goal via the head of Basildon’s centre forward.”
Q3. Tactically, did you make any changes in the second half?
“The half time team talk was really positive; the players came in really upbeat, as they knew that they had done really well. From a tactical side, I made no real change as we were well on top. It was more of the same, asking our players not to go away from our principles and to keep the ball moving when in possession, and when we were off the ball to be narrow and become two sets of blockers.”
Q4. What did you make of the second half?
” The second half started like the first half; we were bright with the ball and always competed. Ten minutes into the half, a great ball from Haydock found Bryan, who out-powered her marker to get around the keeper for her second goal of the game. Unfortunately, we didn’t quite get to the next level. We let Basildon back into the game and, to be fair to them, they put pressure on our defenders with their constant direct balls towards our goal. One of these payed off, as, when we were switched off, it allowed Basildon to score and earn themselves a point.”
Q5. Were you satisfied with the result? Was it fair?
“We were frustrated not to win the game, and Basildon did enough to contribute to us not winning. However, I thought that we played well enough to win the game but the main focus was not to get beaten, which is what what we did. In that sense, we were really satisfied with the performance.”
Palace’s next fixture is on Sunday, as the side visit top of the table Tottenham Hotspur.