Crystal Palace 4 vs Lewes 1: Someone make it stop

A 4-1 defeat, a serious-looking injury to Emily Kraft, and a game that went on so long it ended in a different month to what it started. Let’s just pack this one into a lead coffin and bury it at sea.

The details? If we must. We went behind almost immediately, with Molly-Mae Sharpe cutting inside and drilling a low shot past Whitehouse before anyone had a chance to break the seal on the Lucozade.

We were two down inside 11 minutes, a fierce strike from the edge of the box by Olding giving Whitehouse no chance.

The Rooks almost immediately abandoned the back five they started with, shoving Wardlaw further into midfield to make it more of a conventional 4-4-2, and it helped to steady the ship, but not a lot more. Rooks chances were few and far between until Kraft was felled in the box after a corner and the referee pointed to the spot. Soft penalty? Just a bit, and Palace spent the next few minutes bellyaching and protesting to a rather spine-lite referee. Palmer kept her calm and slotted the spot-kick before more aggro broke out between both sets of players, for which Kraft received the only punishment.

If the Rooks’ penalty was soft, the one Palace got two minutes later was pure blamanche. A free-kick into the box, a nothing challenge and a referee gagging to level things up culminated in a Palace spot-kick that Whitehouse got a hand to but couldn’t keep out in first-half injury time.

The Rooks barely had a chance to respond to Scott Booth’s half-time chinwag before it was suspended for ten minutes or more following a head injury to Emily Kraft. Medics from both sides rushed to the assistance of the Lewes striker, before she was carefully placed on a stretcher and shuttled off to hospital. Speedy recovery, Krafty…

Alas, there was no real recovery from the Rooks. A string of further fouls and injuries broke all flow in the game, but it was the home side who always looked the more threatening. They had a fourth ruled out by an offside flag before actually converting in the month added on, Dean profiting for the Rooks’ failure to clear a ball.

A top half finish is now out of reach, and Scott Booth’s side will need more energy in their final two games if they’re to avoid slipping further down the table, with Durham (our final day visitors) and Sheffield Utd both breathing down our necks.

Lewes: Whitehouse, Wardlaw, Cleverly, Weir, McKenna, Barton, Hazard, Palmer, Howells, Mason, Kraft.

Subs: Copus-Brown, Thompson, Johnson, Mushtaq, Pursey, Longhurst, Dalton, Moore, Angel

Supporters Club player of the match: Odd to pick a defender when we’ve been lashed 4-1, but Kenzie Weir was strong in the challenge and the air.