Charlton 2-0 Brighton & Hove Albion (League Cup Quarter-Final)
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 8:48PM UTC, Sunday, 01 March 2015
The Charlton women’s team set up an FA Women’s Premier League Cup semi final with Cardiff City after defeating Brighton & Hove Albion 2-0 at the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre on Sunday.
Second half strikes from Kit Graham and Rosie Paye were the difference in a closely fought encounter in a windy Lancing.
After a goalless first period, the Addicks made the perfect start to the second 45, when Graham’s sensational 30-yard effort nestled into the bottom corner of Faye Baker’s goal.
And the scoring was completed when right back Paye rose highest to power a header past Baker from a Charley Clifford corner kick.
Caretaker manager Jeremy Parsons made just one change to the team that scraped past Enfield Town in the Capital Cup last weekend, with Graham returning from a two-match suspension and Stef Simmons dropping to the bench.
The hosts made a fast start, trying to snatch some early momentum, but their finishing left a lot to be desired throughout the contest, while Charlton executed their gameplan to perfection.
Graham had the first real chance of the match when she curled a long-range effort just wide, but Brighton should have taken an early lead.
A throughball found former Addick Fliss Gibbons, despite the winger looking clearly offside, but Charlton keeper Megen Lynch stood up well and saved the one-on-one chance.
Sophie Perry then send a shot from her left flank into the side netting before Charlotte Gurr had yet another gilt-edged one-on-one chance but her tame strike was easily gathered by Lynch.
The returning Graham was a threat all match and she was denied by Baker shortly after, before firing in a low cross that narrowly eluded strike partner Sam Pittuck.
Lynch was also impressive between the sticks and, after Paye’s slip let in Perry, the Charlton custodian made a magnificent fingertip save to deny the wing back.
The first period ended with more weak finishing from the home side, with Gibbons shooting straight at Lynch and Amy Taylor and a Jay Blackie overhead kick flying harmlessly over.
Charlton made the perfect start after the interval when Clifford pounced on a defensive mistake to win possession. The midfielder laid the ball off to Graham, who struck a superb, dipping shot that beat the despairing dive of Baker.
The opening goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of Brighton and they struggled to get a foothold in the game until it was too late.
Pittuck latched onto an incisive throughball from midfield just before the hour mark and closed in on the keeper but Baker stuck a foot out and deflected the shot wide for a corner.
From the resulting set piece, Paye outjumped her marker and, although Baker got a hand to it, her header was too powerful for the home stopper and doubled Charlton’s advantage.
Brighton desperately threw players forward and tried to speed up their play but they fashioned few good chances in the face of a resilient defence.
In fact it was the away side that could have extended their lead, with Harrison narrowly failing to get on the end of a dangerous Pittuck cross and Graham and Pittuck rushing a shot each and missing the target both times.
PHSC Player of the Match Lynch was called upon one last time in the dying minutes of the game to make an excellent point blank save but her side saw the game out comfortably in the end.
Charlton will now have the chance to play for their third final of the season when they host Cardiff City, a team they have already knocked out of the FA Cup and drawn with in the league.
While a date and venue will be confirmed in due course, the winners of the semi final already know who they will face in the showpiece as holders Sheffield FC dumped out Portsmouth 2-0.
Charlton: Lynch; Paye, Flack, Butler, Coombs; Dixson, Clifford, Howlett (Whinnett 76), Harrison; Graham, Pittuck. Subs (not used): Simmons, Hardaker, Shepherd.