Charlton 2-0 West Ham
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 8:43PM BST, Sunday, 02 October 2016
A Kit Graham brace helped Paul McDonagh mark his first match as first team manager of the Charlton women’s team with a comfortable 2-0 victory against West Ham United Ladies at Ship Lane, Thurrock, on Sunday.
Graham bagged a strike either side of half time, with both assists coming from Avilla Bergin crosses, as the Addicks move into a share of the lead of the FA Women’s Premier League South, joint on 13 points with Coventry United and Tottenham Hotspur.
McDonagh made just one change after a shock 5-1 loss to Coventry last weekend, with Rosey Sullivan replacing Rosie Paye at centre back.
Having kicked the first period off, Graham had a chance after just 46 seconds, which she headed wide and Charlton continued searching for an early goal to get them on their way.
Captain Kim Dixson then sent a speculative lob goalwards but Aditi Chauhan backtracked and gathered in the Hammers’ goal.
Graham had a big shout for a penalty waved away by the referee shortly after when her shot seemed to strike a defender’s hand but the striker didn’t have long to wait for her first goal of the game as she powered a header past Chauhan from 12 yards out after an inch-perfect centre from Northern Ireland international Bergin.
The hosts mustered few chances, their best of the first half coming from their most dangerous-looking attacker, Whitney Locke, but her weak shot was easily saved by Alex Baker.
Chauhan was then called into action to make a routine stop from Charley Clifford and a smarter save to push Graham’s shot on the turn round the post.
The first period almost ended with a second for the visitors but Jenny Newman was unfortunate to see her fine strike from 25 yards out strike the crossbar and fall to safety.
After Locke saw yet another chance come and go, this time failing to hit the target, Graham saw her flicked header from a Dixson cross held by Chauhan before latching onto Bergin’s clever reverse pass only to see Amy Cooper recover to make a timely intervention as Graham was about to pull the trigger.
With 67 minutes played, Clifford saw a shot blocked behind for a corner, which West Ham cleared and broke on the counter. However, Clifford raced back to break the attack up and played a pinpoint ball out to the right wing where Bergin collected and centred for Graham, who met with a sweet strike five yards out and slammed past Chauhan to double her side’s advantage.
Sullivan, facing her old side for the first time since making the move to south-east London a couple of years ago, almost marked her return to Ship Lane with a goal but the ball just wouldn’t fall for her from a Bergin corner and she volleyed over.
West Ham finished the game with as close to a flourish as they could get with a couple of efforts that flew well off target but Charlton held out to take the three points, giving them the perfect platform to build on.
They will be looking for revenge on local rivals Crystal Palace on Thursday having surrendered a three-goal lead to them a few weeks back when the fourth-placed Eagles visit Sporting Club Thamesmead.
Charlton: Baker; Southgate, Flack, Coombs, Sullivan; Dixson, Clifford, Baxter (Giordani 71); Bergin, Newman, Graham. Subs (not used): Paye, Nash.