Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 9:05PM UTC, Sunday, 19 August 2012
The Charlton women’s team were unfortunate to lose their opening game of the 2012/13 season 2-0 away to Coventry City in scorching conditions.
Injuries and unavailability limited technical director Paul Mortimer’s attacking options, with Gemma Bryan, Fliss Gibbons, Ellie Stenning, Jenny Newman and Courteney Gibson all missing the clash.
It was a game of few chances and, ultimately, the home side, in particular goalscorer Courtney Sweetman-Kirk, were the more clinical, meaning they went away with the three points.
Coventry had the first opportunity of the game ten minutes in when a defensive mistake let Sweetman-Kirk in but Kelly Cooper made an acrobatic save on her second debut for Charlton.
The Addicks’ first chance of the new season was a difficult one for makeshift winger Kit Graham who could only volley wide after a looping cross from Sinead Boyer.
Helen Dermody and Sweetman-Kirk then put efforts wide before, in the 26th minute, the deadlock was broken.
Harley Bennett slipped in the middle of the pitch and, with no help forthcoming from her fellow midfielders, could only watch as the Sky Blues broke and Sweetman-Kirk lobbed Cooper.
Five minutes later Danni Saulter was well foiled by Cooper and the keeper launched a counter attack that ended with PHSC plc Player of the Match Gemma Shepherd skipping past two defenders but shooting straight at Coventry stopper Sue Wood.
Wood then had to be alert in injury time to claw a Stef Simmons corner out from underneath her crossbar.
The Addicks continued to grow in the second period, with Megan Chandler replacing Cherrelle Albert at the break and Charley Clifford pushed wide right.
Clifford had the first two chances of the second period, poking one at Wood after a surging run and then blasting over shortly after.
Shepherd then almost bagged an equaliser on her Charlton debut when she nipped in between Wood and skipper Natasha Lynch but her shot trickled agonisingly wide.
On the hour mark a one-two between Shepherd and Bennett saw the latter narrowly fire wide and Kim Dixson’s half volley was held by Wood.
Another dangerous Simmons corner ended in a goalmouth scramble, which should have been put into the Coventry net but the hosts somehow managed to clear their lines.
Coventry, who had soaked up plenty of pressure from the visitors, then almost doubled their advantage when Sweetman-Kirk beat the offside trap and chipped Cooper but her effort cannoned back off the woodwork.
They did get a second in the 87th minute, though, on the counter attack; the ball was centred to Sweetman-Kirk, who seemed in an offside position this time, but the linesman kept his flag down again and she finished coolly.
That ended up as the final attack of the match as Coventry saw out their victory well in the closing stages.
Charlton: Cooper, Boyer, Simmons (Alden 75), Daniels, Jones, Dixson, Clifford, Bennett, Albert (Chandler 46), Graham (Keogh 87), Shepherd. Subs (not used): Lynch, Sherwood.