Charlton 0-0 Brighton & Hove Albion
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 10:59PM BST, Sunday, 23 August 2015
A closely fought contest at Sporting Club Thamesmead on Sunday saw the Charlton women’s team share a goalless draw with Brighton & Hove Albion in the FA Women’s Premier League South.
The match, between second and third from last season, was always predicted to be an even clash, with both sides hitting the woodwork and the two goalkeepers making some smart saves to conserve their clean sheets.
Charlton showed one change from their opening day stalemate with C&K Basildon, with Nikita Whinnett replacing Ellie Baxter on the left wing.
The teams and 107 spectators observed a minutes’ silence before the match in memory of the victims of the Shoreham air crash on Saturday.
The Addicks started brightly and had an early chance when captain Kim Dixson lifted a ball into the penalty area for Kit Graham to head goalwards but it was easily gathered by Brighton keeper Faye Baker.
A downpour before and during the first half didn’t help things, with both sides struggling to find their passing range and touch on a slippery surface.
Having had a quiet opening few minutes, Brighton fought their way into the tie, with full back Sophie Perry seeing a shot blocked by Katie Flack before they came within inches of breaking the deadlock. The ball fell to Lucy Soames on the edge of the penalty area and the midfielder lobbed towards goal, beating Megen Lynch but not the frame of the goal and the home side survived.
Lynch was then called upon for the first time in the match when Kate Natkiel drew a foul from Flack. Charlotte Gurr’s 25-yard free kick was on target but Lynch did well to tip over the bar. From the resulting corner, Natkiel saw her snapshot fly just over.
Dixson then had a long-range effort that flew just wide of Baker’s far post, before the hosts had another let off as Rosie Paye directed a defensive header into Gurr’s path but Lynch was alert and tipped the striker’s shot into the air and allowed her defence to clear their lines properly.
Up the other end, a dangerous defensive pass from Brighton almost allowed Charlton in, with Graham’s shot blocked and the rebound falling just out of the reach of Amy Howlett.
The visitors ended the half on top, with Sam Pittuck and Flack both making crucial blocks and Lynch standing tall to deny Natkiel one-on-one.
Charlton went into the break and regrouped, tweaking their tactical approach to the game, and were probably the better side second half. They could have had an early penalty when the ball seemed to strike a Brighton defender’s arms but the referee waved the protests away.
A dangerous cross from Howlett then narrowly evaded the head of Shepherd and the dive of Whinnett at the far post, while, up the other end, a poor touch from Natkiel when through on goal stunted a promising counter attack.
Charlton went agonisingly close shortly after, with Shepherd crossing for Graham to head goalwards but Baker made a good one-handed stop. Dixson then thundered a free kick goalwards that defeated Baker but cannoned back off the crossbar and to safety.
Seagulls substitute Kim Stenning was then twice denied by Lynch, one an excellent save to tip what was a very good chance round the post and Soames passed up a gilt-edged chance when she turned a Perry cross over.
In the end the points were shared, giving Charlton two draws from their first two matches of the campaign. The Addicks’ do not have a game next weekend, with Gloucester City having pulled out of their FAWPL Cup Determining Round match-up, giving the south-east Londoners a bye into the first round of a competition they won last term.
Charlton: Lynch; Paye, Simmons, Flack, Pittuck; Dixson, Clifford, Howlett, Whinnett; Shepherd, Graham. Subs (not used): Baxter, Russell, Wells.