Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 9:33PM UTC, Monday, 30 April 2012
The Charlton women’s reserve team ended their season with a narrow 2-0 loss to Chelsea at Sparrows Lane on Sunday, meaning they finish in fourth place in the league.
Manager Bill Long made two changes to the side that beat Brighton 5-1 last weekend, bringing first teamers Kim Dixson and Fliss Gibbons in for Katie Flack and Courteney Gibson.
The Addicks put up a strong fight and should have gone home with at least a share of the spoils but goals from Rachel Palmer and Hayley Fowle either side of the interval gave Chelsea the victory.
The first half was a fairly even affair and with the first real chance of the game, Chelsea broke the deadlock 14 minutes in.
A superb cross field ball found Palmer on the left wing and the defender cut into the penalty area before curling an unstoppable effort past Alex Baker and into the top far corner.
Charlton tried to hit straight back and a couple of minutes later Kris Manktelow chased a ball down the left, ran through on goal but saw her shot fly inches wide of the far post.
Kit Graham then hit a shot straight at Chelsea keeper Chloe Burr before Dixson did well to get a block tackle in on Aishah Bolasi, who was through on goal.
The final action of the half came from impressive build up play, starting from the Charlton defence, but Gibbons’ touch inside the Blues area was too strong and the ball was cleared.
On the hour mark, the visitors almost doubled their advantage when Hannah Blundell got forward from right back and rattled the crossbar while keeper Baker made an excellent stop to deny Bolasi.
Charlton then began to take the initiative and went close to the equaliser on a number of occasions. Graham collected a one-two from Gibbons on the edge of the area but the 16-year-old’s shot was too close to Burr and easy to save.
When Manktelow was sent out to the right wing, she looked lively and ran at the Chelsea left back. Her first cross of the game was headed across goal by Graham before Alice Singyard collected at the corner flag, ran into the area and sent a shot just wide of the far post.
A Manktelow corner was then headed over the bar by Megan Chandler before Graham’s shot from 20 yards out met the same fate.
Gibbons then made a smart turn on the edge of the area but could only send her effort narrowly over, with Burr scrambling to keep it out.
The game was finished with just five minutes on the clock, though, when Chelsea sub Hayley Fowle’s speculative shot took a deflection and went through Baker’s hands to give them an unassailable 2-0 lead.
Charlton: Baker, Duffy, Singyard, Yennaris, Dixson, Chandler, Long, Graham (Hyland 75), Keogh (Mulholland 60), Gibbons, Kris Manktelow (Kylie Manktelow 75).
For more match action photos see www.jamesprickett.co.uk