London City Lionesses produced a dominant performance to beat Crystal Palace 5-0 at Hayes Lane in the Barclays Women’s Championship.
London City started on the front foot and never looked back, handing Shae Yanez a relatively quiet night at the office and a well-earned team sheet for the team.
The Lionesses’ pressure tolled on the 22-minute mark, with Sarah Ewens beating Natalia Negri with a fierce volley from the edge of the six-yard box. The Scot has Shanade Hopcroft to thank for the inch-perfect delivery, which set the tone for the patterns of play that followed.
London City doubled their lead with less than a dozen minutes of the first half left to play, evading Crystal Palace's high press to allow Hopcroft to set Jamie-Lee Napier free in the final third. While Negri saved the 22-year-old’s first effort, she was powerless to resist a second shot from just three yards out.
With Crystal Palace under the cosh, the Lionesses scored for a third time moments before the break.
London City’s third strike was a reversal of the first, with Napier’s cross from the left flank finding Karin Muya in space on the six-yard line. Again, there was little Negri could do to prevent her side from falling further behind.
Melissa Phillips was forced to make her first switch of the match shortly after the restart, replacing the injured Carly Girasoli for Lily Agg.
The Lionesses’ substitution saw midfielder Amy Rodgers drop into central defence, allowing Agg to partner Hopcroft in the middle.
London City added a fourth to their tally just before the hour mark, with Napier racing into space on the left flank before slipping a neat pass into the feet of Muya. The 27-year-old scored with a delicate finish, flicking the ball beyond Negri.
Atlanta Primus and Lucy Shepherd, who both appeared as second half substitutes combined on the Lionesses’ final goal of the night. Primus played a perfectly-weighted through ball into the penalty area, which Shepherd converted into a low strike beyond the outstretched arm of Negri.
“It feels really good,” brace-scorer Muya said. “In the last couple weeks, we’ve done a lot of fun attacking work and it felt like the connections amongst the pairs were really working. Today, we just showed that our movement is natural and the chemistry is there.”
Phillips added: “The [team’s] performance was fantastic. We felt a little bit off the pace after the break, so for us to come out and look really strong on both sides of the ball was fantastic. It’s a credit to the girls because they really deserve that.”