Charlton 2-1 Gillingham Reserves
Report by Warren Clarke
Page last updated at 11:02AM UTC, Monday, 02 February 2015
Gillingham hosted Charlton Athletic Reserves at Chatham Town FC where the Addicks were hoping to close the gap on league leaders Brighton.
The visitors got off to a flying start as Olivia Cole played a through ball which Francesca Tye latched onto and powerfully dispatched after 3 minutes. Gillingham were unable to fashion any clear cut chances but striker Georgia Philbeam was keeping the Charlton defence busy with some clever runs and neat link up play.
However the visitors created a flurry of chances as a goal kick fell to Clare Rogers who then played the ball into Emma Harrison as she was unable to find the target with her shot (18mins). Then Francesca Tye dispossessed the full back to drive into the final third and found Emma Harrison who cut the ball back for Georgia Richards to be crowded out by a swarm of defenders to prevent the shot (19mins).
With the game settling down both teams were playing some good passing football as The Gills forced Hope Nash into action on a few occasions as she made some vital challenges to prevent attacks developing further. Leigh Houlihan was the main outlet for The Reds as she looked to link play and get the attackers into the game but it was Gillingham who nearly had the last say of the half as a free kick was placed into the box as Jordan Butler rose to head clear but this fell to a Gillingham player who fired a low strike towards the bottom corner until Alex Baker reacted quickly to divert the ball as the half ended 1-0.
The second half was underway and Gillingham took the initiative as they started fast looking to get the equaliser as quick as possible. With Charlton looking behind the pace the host found themselves with three goal scoring opportunities but failed to covent. However the breakthrough came on the 60th minute as a misplaced pass was intercepted on the wing and crossed to the I makes striker who finished centrally.
The Addicks looked to restore their one goal lead on the 66th minute as Clare Rogers free kick crashed against the cross bar.
Gillingham nearly took the lead as Baker was once again called into action as she produced a fine low diving save to deny the host after 83 minutes. Charlton appeared to have missed their opportunity to bag all three points as Sharna Giordani was played in on goal but failed to take the shot early as the defender was able to clear.
However there was time for one final twist in the tale as both teams were pushing for the win it was Charlton that scored the winner as Emma Harrison raced onto a ball down the left flank to cross the ball into the box as it found Giordani lurking at the back post as she controlled the ball and made no mistake as she smashed the ball past keeper Imogen Alabaster on the the 87th minute.
The Reds were able to hold onto the lead for the remainder of the game as the referee blew for full time.
Manager Warren Clarke had this to say about the game " Today highlights the fine margins in our league they (Gillingham) are fighting for survival and we`re fighting for the league yet they pushed us till the end. It was a hard fought game with a decent performance and good result placing us well for our next game".
This means that Charlton are now second on goal difference to Brighton ahead of their home clash next week.
Squad: Baker, Nash, Butler, Houlihan, Cole (Russell 60), Blowers (Campbell 70), Rogers, Monaghan (Giordani 45), Tye, Harrison
Player of The Match: Alex Baker