Palace Ladies boss promises changes after lack of passion in FA Cup loss


Palace Ladies boss Dean Davenport says he will make changes to his team, after accusing his charges of lacking passion, following a tame FA Cup exit.

There was no disgrace in losing to Championship table-toppers Tottenham in Sunday’s fourth round tie, but the manner of the 3-0 surrender left Davenport frustrated.

“It was always going to be difficult, because Tottenham are playing so well this season and have had some great results, but it was the fourth time we’ve played them this season and the first time we didn’t compete,” said the Palace manager.

“Our two league defeats against them were very close [2-1 and 1-0] and we beat them in the WSL Cup on penalties. I told the players to think about that win and to reproduce that performance, but it wasn’t to be.

“I wasn’t happy with the first 45 minutes at all and wanted a reaction in the second half, and although there was a slight one, it wasn’t nearly enough.

“This season, I feel we’ve competed in every game, only losing narrowly in a lot of matches. But this time, we didn’t.

“There was a lack of urgency and energy. I expect passion in wearing the Palace shirt and there wasn’t. We didn’t start well and never recovered.

“I expect a little more from my players. It’s unacceptable when six or seven players are just not competing for you. It’s not good enough.”

Davenport added: “There will be personnel changes because I have to find a winning formula.

“We want to be in this league and I think we deserve to be a few places higher, but we have to win games and we haven’t done that enough.

“We want to claw our way further up the league before the end of this season. We have two games coming up I think we can win – at Leicester City this coming Sunday and then at home to Lewes. If we can get points there, it will change the outlook. But we need to be more consistent.”

Goals from Jessica Naz, Ashleigh Neville and Carol-Jade Haines eased the Lilywhites into the next round.

Only a stunning save by Lucy Gillett kept out an early strike by Rianna Dean as the Eagles came under relentless early pressure.

Palace’s shot-stopper made two more saves, but was finally beaten when Naz reacted fastest to a parried effort, prodding home from close range.

The home side would have done well to enter half-time just a goal down, but they were punished for being so off-key, moments before the interval, when Neville netted with a low strike.

Despite opening the second half brighter, Palace were 3-0 down when Bianca Baptiste laid off an indirect free-kick to Haines, who rifled home.

Photos by Keith Gillard

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