Charley looking for a Cup run
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 3:48PM GMT, Wednesday, 22 January 2014
Charley Clifford hopes starting 2014 off with a 3-0 FA Women’s Cup win over MK Dons will spur the Charlton women’s team to start climbing the Premier League South table.
Midfielder Clifford bagged a spectacular brace of goals early in the second half to give the Addicks a 2-0 lead before Kit Graham finished the contest with an equally impressive strike seconds before the final whistle.
And Charley believes the victory was much needed after a month without a competitive game and sets them up to get back into league action when Tottenham Hotspur visit Sporting Club Thamesmead this Sunday (26 January, 2pm).
She said: “It felt nice to be actually playing a [competitive] game, rather than just training games.
“Now we have got that win, we can start getting into our stride like we were before Christmas when we were playing well.
“We needed that to bring our heads up and reminds us of what we were doing before Christmas and now we have won hopefully we can go back to that in the league.
“Considering the way we were playing before Christmas, we should definitely have a better second half of the season.”
It was the 21-year-old former England under 19 international who broke the deadlock just three minutes into the second period, after a closely-contested first 45.
Picking the ball up 35 yards out, she unleashed a bullet that flew over a stranded MK Dons goalkeeper and into the top corner.
Just five minutes later, she doubled her and Charlton’s tally with a free kick from just outside the area that found exactly the same top corner as her previous effort had, this time helped in by the keeper.
“I think we started really poorly,” she added, “and in the first half we didn’t really test the keeper.
“So in the second half we came out thinking we need to test her more so we were just shooting to see what she was like and it worked.”
On her first goal, she recalled: “I just thought I was within range so I may as well just go for it. Kit was going to nab it off me so I just said ‘Kit, leave it’ and I just smashed it and it went in fortunately.”
While, remembering her second: “I didn’t know whether to cross it or not but I just saw the keeper stood in the middle of the goal so I thought I would try my luck and it went in.”
Despite a league’s difference between the teams, with the Dons flying high in the South East Combination, it was never going to be straightforward for Charlton.
The visitors did a good job of packing the centre of the pitch in the first period and successfully frustrating the hosts. In the end, they were undone by three individual pieces of brilliance.
Their endeavour was something Charley commended, and hopes her side can take it into their own campaign if they defeat third round opponents Sheffield FC or Liverpool Feds and draw a bigger side.
“They didn’t stop working and shutting us down so that put pressure on us and we had to start moving it quicker.
“It was probably their cup final so they put their all into it and we knew they were going to do that at the start of the game so we needed to play our game, rather than let them get in our faces.
“It’s always good to keep going in the FA Cup because, you never know, wait until the big teams come in and then it will be our cup final.”