Alex growing in confidence
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 10:22PM UTC, Friday, 06 November 2015
After two impressive performances in the last fortnight, young goalkeeper Alex Baker says she is now shaking off the nerves of being the Charlton womenís 1st team keeper.
ďIíve just thought to myself Ďthis is my chance to show what Iím about and Iíve got to take ití
Reserve team captain Baker, who turned 21 last month, was brought into the first team against Forest Green Rovers, where she secured a clean sheet in a 6-0 win, and kept her place for Sunday’s 2-1 victory over reigning FA Women’s Premier League champions Portsmouth.
And, having made a number of vital saves to keep the visitors at bay throughout the contest, she was rewarded with the PHSC plc Player of the Match award.
And the stopper, who had made just five starts for the first team before the season began, admits she is getting more and more confident with every game.
She said: “First two games have gone really well – I couldn’t really have asked for a lot better than maybe a clean sheet [against Portsmouth]. Apart from that I think it’s been going alright.
“At first it was a bit nervy - anyone that knows me will tell you I give it all the mouth but I am a nervous person underneath it all! [But I’ve] eventually grown into it.
“I’ve just thought to myself ‘this is my chance to show what I’m about and I’ve got to take it’ and I can’t have those nerves, otherwise they will affect my performance.
“Playing for the first team is what everybody aspires to do and making them saves, obviously strikers score the goals but the goalkeepers keep them out and that could have been the difference between us winning and losing, so building confidence from that and hopefully take that forward.”
On a different note from keeping opposition efforts out, Baker has also popped up with a couple of assists, one in each game.
Against Forest Green, Charlton’s second came from a long goal kick that was flicked on by Gemma Shepherd, who exchanged passes with Jenny Newman before finishing from close range.
On Sunday, meanwhile, a clever kick towards the right wing fooled Portsmouth, who had moved over to the left of the field, and allowed Nikita Whinnett to cut into the penalty area and was brought down to win her side a spot kick that Shepherd converted.
“My kicking has always been something that I’ve worked on,” Baker added. Playing outfield helped, being able to pass the ball and things.
“It’s not something I like doing [long kicks up field]; I like to get it down and play football, but at times when it’s on you’ve got to go for it and that showed on Sunday when everyone shuffled over to the left hand side, pick it out on the right hand side and that’s how we got our goal.
“Thrilled with that and contributing to the team in a way other than just saving goals helps out.”