Charlton 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 11:15AM UTC, Thursday, 01 October 2015
The Charlton women’s team edged a hard-fought London derby with Tottenham Hotspur by a single Gemma Shepherd goal at Sporting Club Thamesmead on Wednesday evening.
And it was a fine solo effort from Shepherd, her eighth in as many games this season, that clinched the three points as she nicked the ball past three defenders and slotted coolly past Toni-Anne Wayne.
Manager Jeremy Parsons made one change to the side that lost to Cardiff City on Sunday, with the fit-again Grace Coombs stepping in for Ellie Baxter with Katie Flack reverting to right back to accommodate the centre half.
But it was a struggle for Charlton, especially in the first half, as they had difficulty keeping the ball against a Spurs team that pressed constantly.
Therefore it was the visitors who created the better early chances, with the diminutive Shannon Moloney bursting through Charlton’s midfield just two minutes in. The central midfielder spread the ball out wide to Avilla Bergin, but the winger’s cross from the left just eluded the desperate dive of Rosie Kmita at the back post.
A scramble from a Bergin corner bounced around the Addicks’ penalty box, but eventually fell kindly into the hands of keeper Megen Lynch.
In between, Charlton had some half chances, with Charley Clifford shooting wide from range and Kit Graham’s cross going just behind Jenny Newman at the far post. Rosie Paye also headed a floated Kim Dixson free kick tamely at Wayne, who collected under little pressure.
Charlton’s pain was, once again, self-inflicted at times, with some lackadaisical passing in defence letting in former Addick Jennifer Moore, but Lynch did well to save at her feet.
Shepherd looked impressive as ever throughout, somehow wriggling clear of three defenders to the right of the 18-yard box, but her cross was just missed by Newman before Coombs saw a lob land on the top of Wayne’s net.
Another sloppy pass in Charlton’s defence allowed Bergin the opportunity to shoot but, fortunately for the hosts, it cannoned back off the post.
Shepherd had the ball in the back of the net earlier than her eventual winner, with seconds remaining in the half, but it was ruled out for offside.
Parsons clearly had his team talk ready, as his side was out for the second period well before their opponents, and it was a much improved Charlton performance second half, though, and they dominated until the closing moments when Spurs desperately pushed for an equaliser that never materialised.
And the home side were keen to assert their dominance on proceedings, with Shepherd flicking an early Clifford free kick goalwards, only for it to be gathered by Wayne.
Wayne, a former Charlton keeper, was called into action repeatedly early in the second half, racing off her line to beat Graham to a through ball and saving a Newman volley.
A chance each for both sides came and went before the deadlock was eventually broken, with Graham showing quick feet to set up Dixson, but her shot drifted wide. Katie O’Leary then had a long-range effort well blocked by Katie Flack.
With 65 minutes on the clock, Charlton took the lead after probably their best passage of play, with a number of players combining well before feeding Shepherd.
The striker still had a lot to do, though, 30 yards out from goal and with a plethora of white shirts standing in between her and Wayne.
But the 28-year-old breezed through pretty much the whole of Spurs’ defence, poking past each one individually before calmly slotting past the advancing keeper from 15 yards out.
The visitors could, and probably should, have been level with just over 10 minutes to play when a huge goalmouth scramble, with almost every player on the pitch involved, was eventually unceremoniously cleared by Ellie Baxter.
It was difficult to make out who had the best chance, but more than one Spurs player took a swipe at goal, and the ball appeared to strike the arm of multiple players before the danger was over.
Moore then saw a volley land on the roof of Lynch’s net as her side pushed to restore parity and both keepers were relieved to see covering defenders when they came out of their areas but fluffed their lines.
One final chance came when Shepherd beat Wayne to the ball at the halfway line but Shepherd was off balance and her curling effort with the stopper well out of her comfort zone trickled into the side netting.
In the end, Charlton got back to winning ways and leapfrogged Tottenham into third place, two points behind league leaders Brighton and Hove Albion.
Charlton: Lynch; Flack, Simmons, Coombs, Paye; Clifford, Dixson, Whinnett, Newman (Baxter 84); Shepherd, Graham (Pittuck 86). Subs (not used): Wells, Southgate, Parsons.