Following their shoot-out win over Tottenham, we caught up with Crystal Palace number one Megen Lynch to talk about the Eagles’ perfect start to life in the second tier.
Unlike rivals on the night, Palace are new to the second tier, the match against an attacking Spurs team exactly what the hosts had been expecting.
“We were expecting, high pressing, high movement, constant threat, threat, threat.”
Called into action throughout the match, Lynch conceded that she’d much prefer a quiet life between the sticks.
“To be honest, I’d rather have a match when I do nothing because that means the outfield players have done their jobs down to a tee and they haven’t threatened our goal and haven’t got a shot off. Personally, I’d like if I do nothing but if I’m called upon, I have to do it, they’ve done their job and it’s down to me to do mine.”
Kept busy but pulling off a string of fine saves from the off to keep her team in it, the shot-stopper came up trumps late in the day, denying Bianca Baptiste a late winner with a strong hand.
“They’re the ones that win or lose you games, she’s through one-on-one, you save it and you draw the game, you don’t save it and they win, it’s a fine line and sometimes it’s just bottle with players with who can hold their nerve a bit more; is the striker going to shoot or am I going to go?”
With the match forced to penalties, Lynch was called into action again, having saved Angela Addison’s spot kick during the match, the Palace number one couldn’t keep the visitors out, her contribution during 90-minutes more than enough.
“I kind of have a reputation in women’s football with being good with penalties, Tottenham know that as I was at theirs a couple of seasons ago and unfortunately for Palace, I saved four against them! I just strike fear into strikers because they know, like the one during the game, no one will know that I actually to a finger to it to save it. It’s just striking fear into players and it’s just something I do.”
Life in the second tier
In a unique position, having started the summer thinking they were going into the third tier, Palace were granted tier two status after Sheffield and the Belles withdrew. The inevitable overhaul only serving to bring the new group closer together, the camaraderie apparent on the pitch.
“There’s a handful of players from last season still here a lot have come in and a lot have fitted in really nicely to be honest, the team atmosphere has just been really phenomenal, laughing and joking and you can see everyone is bundled at the end of the game. The team spirit that we do have… come the end of the season we can be in any position, in any cup, if we keep pushing on as we did against Spurs, anything can happen.”
Sheffield’s loss, clearly Palace’s gain.
“We kind of got spoken to, the training session before everyone got told so we didn’t really know what was happening, we knew we were trying to petition and push for it but until Sheffield dropped out there was no other space. It was unfortunate for them but lucky for us and as you can see, we proved ourselves against a team who’ve got a season in front of them in the second tier and they’ve had four extra weeks over us as well. So, to do all that with just four or five weeks behind us is absolutely tremendous, I can’t fault the girls.”
One of five London teams in the second tier, the Eagles’ season will be jam-packed with derbies, but for the newcomers, it’s just about proving themselves every they take to the pitch.
“I think we’ve just happy to prove ourselves no matter who we play because most teams have the experience, there’s just a handful of us who are new to tier two. So, it’s really good we can just go out there, with no experience of tier two football and… it’s just been overwhelming what we did against Tottenham.”