Charlton Athletic Football Club Women
Olivia Cole who netted the Addicks goal
Charlton 1-2 Gillingham Reserves (League Cup)
Charlton 1-2 Gillingham Reserves (League Cup)
Report by Warren Clarke
Page last updated at 2:49PM UTC, Tuesday, 09 December 2014
Charlton Reserves suffered their third defeat of the season at the hands of local rivals Gillingham in a pulsating encounter at Sparrows Farm.
The Addicks determined to bounce back from their defeat last week started the half very brightly settling in possession early and creating a couple of chances but failing to convert. This became the theme of the game as Gillingham capitalised on some poor defending as Charlton failed to deal with a long ball allowing the striker to rush towards goal only to be confronted by Alex Baker as she blocked the initial shot which fell kindly to the striker as the second shot was bravely blocked by Keira Jenkings but the third shot was well placed past Sharna Giordani who was covering the goalmouth. 

With the score 1-0 after five minutes the visitors doubled their lead on the 12th minute as once again Charlton failed to deal with the aerial ball as the headed clearance lack height or distance and fell to the Gills attacker who made no mistake with a powerful strike to the right of Baker. 

The Reds with their backs against the wall started to get into the game creating a host of chances while restricting their opponents to very few. The best falling twice to Channin Smith as she latched on to a through ball but took a heavy first touch that was smothered by keeper Sophie Ledger, the second saw some neat build up play resulting in another through ball this time with Smith sliding to poke the ball wide of the goal. Olivia Cole spurned the chance to claw a goal back when her low strike went into the goalie leaving the scores 2-0 as the half ended. 

The second half sprung into life as The Addicks made two changes with Francesca Tye and Kim Dixson replacing Sophie Blowers and the injured Keira Jenkings respectively.

Dixson nearly made the dream start to her long awaited return to action as she linked up with fellow midfielder Charlotte Barnett to bypass the Gills midfield, playing a neat give and go with Tye, then another with Olivia Cole just outside the box to hit a first time effort that narrowly went wide (46mins).

Charlton looking rejuvenated pushed hard for the goal and that nearly came on the 48th minute as a corner from Dixson sailed into the box bouncing off a defender and into the path of Cole who 6 yards out placed the ball towards the far post only to have it instinctively parried by Sophie Ledger. On the 50th minute another Dixson crossed fell to Francesca Tye who timed her strike well to volley it goal bound only to have it cleared off the line. 

Chances were coming thick and fast for the hosts but had to be aware of the break as Gillingham looked to play ball into their striker or into areas behind the defence but these were defended against well by Leigh Houlihan and Sharna Giordani. Kim Dixson thought she had reduced the deficit as her shot struck the cross bar (58mins). 

On the 60th minute saw Kylie Manktelow enter the fray as she replaced Channin Smith and had an immediate impact as she raced onto a through ball but couldn`t convert as Sophie Ledger ran out to confront her. The cross bar rattled once again on the 75 minute as Tye spotted Ledger off her line and hit a 25 yard shot beating the keeper however the rebound fell behind Olivia Cole as she mistimed her run and needed an improvised strike that failed to hit the target. 

Gillingham nearly sealed the tie as they caught Charlton on the break resulting in a goal line scramble on to see the ball agonisingly cleared by Giordani (80mins).

Charlton looked to have found a way past Ledger when a cleared corner found it`s way to Daisy Monaghan on the edge of the box but the fierce strike that looked destined for the bottom corner as it whizzed through the crowd of players was met by the rock solid hand of Sophie Ledger as she produced the save of the match. 

The Reds did manage to beat the seemingly impenetrable Ledger as Charlton craved the defence open with some slick passing resulting in a close range strike from Cole making it 2-1 on the 88th minute.

With the game now into added time Kylie Manktelow looked on course to restore parity as she reached the through ball and this time when confronted by Sophie Ledger opted to knock the ball round her but then couldn`t find the finish to hit it goal bound so passed it backwards only for the ball to be cleared and with it the last chance for Charlton to drag the game into extra time. 

Manager Warren Clarke had this to say "We defended poorly to begin with but once we settled we produced possibly our best performance in terms of passing and creating chances. However we need to be more ruthless in front of goal especially after creating the number of chances we did".

Team: Baker, Jenkings (Dixson 45), Giordani, Richards, Houlihan, Blowers (Tye 45), Barnett, Monaghan, Nash, Cole, Smith (Manktelow 60)

Player of the Match: Charlotte Barnett
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