Crystal Palace boss Davenport: The first hour against Sheffield was unacceptable

Sheffield United held on for a hard-fought 1-0 victory which moved them above opponents Crystal Palace in the FA Women’s Championship thanks to a single goal from Jade Pennock.

Pennock’s neat finish just after the hour mark was the difference in an open encounter where both sides had more than enough chances, writes Richard Laverty.

Hosts Palace came close to opening the scoring just minutes after kick-off when Alex Brooks almost spilled Chloe Burr’s cross over the line. Sheffield saw a goal disallowed when Dan Cox was flagged offside after heading home Ellie Gilliatt’s cross.

Bex Rayner was lively drifting forward from the Blades’ midfield. First she had a shot deflected wide before she went on a brilliant mazy run which ended in her effort being blocked.

Ashlee Hincks somehow fluffed a huge chance from inside the six-yard box before Pennock opened the scoring, running through and slotting past Salgado after a nice pass by Jodie Michalska.

Captain Gilliatt saw an effort saved when she was through on goal before Brooks pulled off a super save at the other end of the pitch to deny Hannah Mackenzie a certain goal.

United’s Rayner hit the bar with a fizzing free-kick from distance as Carla Ward’s side held on for the three points in South London.

Palace manager Dean Davenport: “It was quite scrappy. Sheffield are OK but that’s a game we should be winning.

“For the first 60 minutes it was unacceptable what we did out there. We just had a heart-to-heart in the changing rooms and I don’t think some of the girls in there know what it’s like to put a Palace shirt on and wear the badge. That’s what we have spoken about.

“I’m really disappointed and it’s not good enough for me – it’s not good enough for the club. They have been told that and now it’s how they turn things around and how they rally to change that.

“We’ve got two weeks to get back on the training field and change things, but that has to be done by the players, not so much the management and the staff, because the structure we’ve put out there was good enough – so they have got to want to do it.”

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