Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 7:46PM BST, Friday, 20 April 2012
The Charlton women’s reserve team were unlucky to lose a close fought Kent Women’s Cup final 2-0 to Gillingham in Sevenoaks on Thursday evening.
The Addicks manager Bill Long called on two first team players, Gemma Bryan and Kim Dixson, to add a bit more experience to a starting XI containing three under-17s, with three more on the bench.
Winger Kristina Manktelow had the first chance of the game when she cut inside from the left and fired just over.
Gillingham could have given themselves an early lead when Natalie Crinean’s cross found Jay Blackie with the goal at her mercy but she could only turn the ball wide. Laura East then turned an Emma Tune corner over the bar soon after.
They did go ahead on the half hour mark, though, when a cross from the right flashed right across goal and Lauren Williams turned it in at the far post.
The goal was harsh on Charlton and they worked hard to get back into the match but their opponents took a bit of momentum forward as Crinean fired a shot wide and Alice Singyard pokes a Danielle Carlton free kick just over her own crossbar.
Striker Bryan, who worked hard leading the line all night, curled an effort just wide of the far post after she had jinked her way past three Gills defenders.
Charlton came out for the second half with purpose and a short goal kick from Toni-Anne Wayne fell straight to Manktelow but her volley went back to the keeper.
A Bryan free kick was then spilled by Wayne but, fortunately for the former Addick, there was no Charlton player on hand to take advantage.
Substitute Courteney Gibson then fired a first time effort straight at Wayne and Bryan had another good run towards goal but Manktelow was too far away to latch onto the pull back.
Against the run of play, though, Gillingham controversially doubled their advantage when a free kick found East, who looked offside, and the midfielder slotted the ball past Alex Baker in the Charlton goal with 15 minutes to play.
The Addicks had a chance to get themselves back into the game with seven minutes left when Gibson ran at Gillingham’s centre half, who brought her down but Bryan’s spot kick was well saved by Wayne.
Charlton kept pressing and Kit Graham, Bryan and Jade Keogh all went close late on but Gillingham held out to lift the trophy.
Charlton: Baker, Singyard, Flack, Patel (Graham 64), Yennaris, Chandler, Long, Dixson, Duffy (Gibson 59), Manktelow (Keogh 70), Bryan. Subs (not used): Lynch, Stenning.
For photos of the Kent Cup Final action please see
www.jamesprickett.co.uk and www.simonroephotography.co.uk