Charlton 1-2 West Ham - Isthmian Cup Final
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 1:36PM BST, Friday, 06 April 2018
The Charlton women’s team lost their first cup final of the season, as West Ham ran out 2-1 winners of the Goodmove.co.uk Isthmian Women’s Cup final at Aveley FC on Wednesday night.
Despite taking an early lead through Kit Graham, Charlton failed to capitalise and goals from Andrea Georgiou and Molly Clark sealed the victory for the Hammers.
Head coach Riteesh Mishra made three changes from Charlton’s 5-0 SSE FA Women’s Cup loss to Arsenal, with two new signings making their debuts.
Goalkeeper Katie Startup was unavailable due to being on international duty, so Chelsea loanee Hannah Gardner was parachuted in between the sticks. Elsewhere, Harley Bennett, returning to the club after a break from football, and skipper Kim Dixson replaced Olivia Lukasewich and Hope Nash.
After West Ham’s Rosie Kmita had clipped the crossbar within the opening couple of minutes, the Addicks made the perfect start when Charlotte Gurr found space on the left and squared for Graham to fire past Cara Connaster four minutes in.
Charlton strung together some good passing moves in a decent first half performance. On a couple of occasions the finishing products just wasn’t there, with clever through balls from Gurr and Kim Dixson just failing to find their intended targets.
A powerful long-range Graham effort stung the palms of Connaster and the striker was unfortunate to see her cross late in the half fired straight into Connaster’s arms rather than to a team mate.
A physical West ham side had plenty of chances in the opening period, too. Kelly Wealthall and Kmita had off-target efforts, while a powerful 25-yard free kick was blocked by Charley Clifford.
If there had been any pre-match nerves from 17-year-old keeper Gardner, they didn’t show during the game. The stopper looked assured claiming a few crosses and free kicks, before making a superb point-blank save to deny Zoepfl with her legs.
Zoepfl then hit the crossbar shortly before the fourth official indicated three minutes of added time to be played. Five minutes into that time, Bennett looked to have been fouled, with the referee raising his whistle to his mouth before deciding not to blow.
Seconds after the challenge, Georgiou lobbed Gardner from long range to level the scores going into the interval.
After the Hammers had dished out some wayward challenges that all went unpunished, Gurr was replaced at half time by Georgia Griffin. With their top scorer out of action, Charlton struggled to create many clear-cut chances West Ham were on top for most of the second period.
Stobbs and Clark both saw shots that failed to test Gardner, while a string of successive corners came to nothing. Up the other end, a Nicole Pepper free kick brought a smart save from Connaster.
With 20 minutes remaining, West Ham struck the fatal blow, with Clark slamming home a free kick from 20 yards out.
There was almost an immediate response from Charlton when Graham nearly caught out Connaster, but West Ham negotiated the remaining time relatively unscathed and ran out winners in the end.
Charlton: Gardner, Brunton-Wilde, Dixson (Nash 70), Coombs, Clifford, Gurr (Griffin 46), Churchill, Pittuck (Lee 80), Pepper, Graham, Bennett. Subs (not used): Monaghan, Jackson.