Charlton 1-5 Brighton & Hove Albion
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 10:35PM GMT, Monday, 03 November 2014
The Charlton women’s team slipped to a 5-1 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion at Lancing on Sunday, ending their run of seven straight wins.
The victory was deserved for the Seagulls, but the result did not reflect the amount of chances Charlton had, particularly early in the second period.
The first 45 was closely fought, with a Felicity Gibbons strike separating the two. After the interval, Kit Graham spurned a great chance to equalise, while Sam Pittuck missed a penalty before Brighton could strike again.
Kirsty Soames doubled the hosts’ advantage on 67 minutes, the start of an onslaught of goals. Kirsty Barton and Jay Blackie made it four within eight minutes but Pittuck instantly replied with quarter of an hour on the clock.
However, with Charlton piling forward looking for a way back into the contest, substitute Charley Boswell struck a minute before time.
An injury to Ruby Southgate forced manager Stuart Weston to shuffle his pack, with Megan Mulholland in at right back and Katie Hardaker replacing Emma Harrison.
And the injury problems did not stop there for the Addicks, with forward Gemma Shepherd forced off early into the first period and centre back Grace Coombs replaced at half time.
The first half was a tense affair, with few real goalscoring chances. An early dangerous cross from Brighton’s Sophie Perry fell to Charlotte Gurr but her tame shot was comfortable for Megen Lynch.
The deadlock was broken by former Charlton winger Gibbons, as she raced clear to stroke a Gurr throughball into the corner.
The pair combined yet again shortly after but this time Gurr could not divert a Gibbons pass goalwards and the visitors broke. Harrison, who had come on early as a substitute, whipped a low cross into the six-yard box but it just eluded the onrushing Graham.
Brighton ended the period strongly, with Soames heading a corner wide and PHSC Player of the Match Hardaker blocking a Perry effort.
The contest erupted into life after the break, though, and it was the Addicks that looked the most likely to strike first.
Within a minute of the restart, Graham latched onto a Charley Clifford pass and beat keeper Faye Baker but, with three Albion defenders in the way her thunderous shot appeared to be deflected onto the crossbar and over by a defenders raised arm. Amazingly the referee took no action and Graham picked up a yellow card for her protests.
Graham then returned the favour, driving down the left flank and pulling the ball back for Clifford to flash a volley narrowly wide of the post.
Graham was creator moments later when Amy Howlett cut inside but saw her effort curl just wide of the upright.
Then came the best chance so far for Charlton. With Graham causing panic in the home defence, she managed to cut inside the box and tee the ball up for a left-footed strike before Baker clattered into her.
The keeper was fortunate to have stayed on the pitch but the referee decided a yellow card was sufficient and she was able to get up and save Pittuck’s penalty low to her left.
Three goals in just under 10 minutes then killed off the match, with Soames heading home after Gibbons’ shot was saved, Barton firing home from close range and Blackie finishing one-on-one with Lynch.
Pittuck did give her side a glimmer of hope, cutting in from the right and curling past Baker, but Boswell put the finishing touches to Brighton’s victory and moved the south coast side above their opponents by a solitary point.
Charlton: Lynch, Mulholland, Hardaker, Flack, Coombs (Paye 46), Clifford, Pittuck, Howlett, Simmons, Graham, Shepherd (Harrison 19). Subs (not used): Houlihan, Cole.