Charlton 1-1 CK Basildon
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 10:37PM BST, Sunday, 16 August 2015
The Charlton women’s team began their FA Women’s Premier League South campaign with a 1-1 draw against newly promoted C&K Basildon at Frost Financial Stadium, Canvey Island, on Sunday.
Sara Sinclair opened the scoring for the hosts on the quarter of an hour mark, slamming into an empty net, but Gemma Shepherd equalised on the stroke of half time to salvage a point for the Addicks.
Both sides had plenty of chances to take all three points throughout but a combination of off-target finishing and brilliant goalkeeping meant they had to share the spoils.
With a few players missing out through injury, Jeremy Parsons gave a debut to 17-year-old new signing Ellie Baxter, with Rosie Paye, Charley Clifford, Sam Pittuck and Amy Howlett returning after missing the final pre-season match against Stoke City last weekend.
The first real chance of the game fell to the usually prolific Kit Graham around 10 yards out and one-on-one with Basildon keeper Cherie Rowlands, but the striker could only shoot wide.
Charlton would rue that miss, as Sinclair latched onto a ball through the middle of the defence, beat Megen Lynch and acrobatically fired home to break the deadlock.
It could have been worse for the visitors shortly after, when Zoe Rushen dispossessed Rosie Paye, before cleverly flicking round the right back and sliding the ball across to Amy Nash, who blazed over the bar.
Charlton improved to carve out a few chances of their own, with Gemma Shepherd feeding a through ball to Graham, but she could only direct it straight at Rowlands. Then, from a Clifford free kick, Howlett’s side foot flew over the crossbar.
There was almost a stunning goal on 38 minutes when Maegen Doyle took advantage of some poor defensive play from Charlton and launched a 35-yard strike that beat Lynch and cannoned back off the woodwork.
Just seconds before the interval, Charlton were back on level terms as Lynch knocked a pinpoint ball forward to pick out Shepherd. The striker beat a couple of players before turning a final defender inside out and firing past Rowlands to make it 1-1.
The south-east Londoners began the second half in more positive fashion and it looked as though the next 45 minutes could be a siege on the Basildon goal.
Graham was somehow denied just moments into the period when she met a cross with a thunderous volley that was kept out by former Arsenal stopper Rowlands.
Graham probably should have given her side the lead just after that when some good build-up play set Shepherd free down the right flank. She crossed to the back post where her strike partner was waiting but slid her shot the wrong side of the post.
Basildon tried to get themselves back into the match and had a couple of really good chances. Sinclair had their first of the half, seeing her shot blocked by Katie Flack and Hannah Porter had a gilt-edged chance from a corner that she flashed across goal and wide.
After Shepherd wasted yet another chance with a rather tame flick towards goal, Charlton custodian was called into action to prove her PHSC Player of the Match credentials.
Sinclair was played through and had a one-on-one chance that she tried to dink over Lynch but the keeper stuck out a strong hand and diverted the ball away from goal.
Sinclair then turned provider, but her whipped cross just eluded the jump of Doyle. Lynch was yet again at her best to deny Sinclair with another one-on-one, pushing a shot wide before the goalscorer tried to go round the keeper but found Lynch too good once more.
Basildon also had a couple of shouts for penalties turned down and a shot hacked off the line, while Clifford saw a long-range effort fly over, but Basildon were more than happy to take their first point at this level and leave their visitors frustrated.
Charlton host Brighton & Hove Albion next Sunday (23 August) at Sporting Club Thamesmead as they try to get their first three points of the campaign. Entry is free for Charlton Athletic season ticket holders.
Charlton: Lynch; Paye, Simmons, Flack, Pittuck; Dixson, Clifford, Howlett, Baxter; Shepherd, Graham. Subs (not used): Whinnett, Russell, Wells, Pearch.