An outstanding display from Crystal Palace Women winger Bianca Baptiste wasn’t enough to prevent her side slipping to a 3-2 defeat at home against Blackburn Rovers Ladies in the FA Women’s Championship.
Bianca Baptiste Performance Worthy of a win as Last-Minute Defeat Breaks Palace Hearts
Best Player on the Pitch
Baptiste showed all her class this afternoon, with a goal and an assist against Blackburn. Despite her side losing the game, the28-year-old will hold her head high with a display full of skill and work ethic.
Baptiste’s performance was all-the-more impressive given her admission that she almost walked away from the game in 2018. The winger was released by Tottenham Hotspur after their promotion to the Women’s Super League – despite being the top scorer for them just one season prior.
It is clearly acting as a source of motivation – her goal today was her second in three games in the Women’s Championship. She also assisted the first goal, selflessly squaring the ball for fellow winger Cherelle Khassal.
What was perhaps most impressive was her ability to put the team before herself. Her assist for Khassal’s goal is a good example – but with 80 minutes played, Baptiste was still tracking back and helping out her defence.
The only thing missing from Baptiste’s performance was a win – but if she keeps on playing with the same level of end product as she did today, then Palace will do well to keep her at the club.
Blackburn End Poor Start to the Season
Credit must be given to a Blackburn side which had started the season with two defeats in a row. Their last trip to London was an unhappy one – losing 1-0 to Charlton Athletic.
They may have felt today was going to go the same way, having twice fallen behind. Palace opened the scoring after 15 minutes. Baptiste – who was already causing issues with her pace down the right-hand side – was played through by Anoria Georgiou.
Baptiste could have gone for goal herself but decided to pass the ball across the six-yard-box for Khassal, who finished for her second goal of the season.
Blackburn hit back through Jade Richards – the centre-back foraying forward to get on the end of Ellie Fletcher’s cross.
The second-half started with Palace on the front foot – and Baptiste got the goal her performance deserved just five minutes after the restart.
Running clean through on goal, there was never any doubt that she would finish. Blackburn keeper Francesca Bentley – on-loan from Manchester United – could do little about either goal.
Palace were always a threat on the counter, but Blackburn were knocking on the door for an equaliser and they eventually forced their way through. A goalmouth scramble resulted in a penalty given for the Lancashire side – Ellie Stewart made no mistake from the spot.
In the end, it was a huge slice of luck which proved to be Palace’s undoing. A flighted cross from Natasha Fenton evaded everyone, including Palace keeper Chloe Morgan, as Blackburn got the winner with virtually the last kick of the game.
Palace will feel unlucky not to have come away with at least a point – and should Bianca Baptiste keep up her rich vein of form, they will no doubt rediscover their winning touch.