Charlton 2-1 Lewes
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 7:41PM UTC, Sunday, 03 April 2016
The Charlton women’s team snatched a dramatic last-minute winner courtesy of Grace Coombs to overcome a stubborn, 10-man Lewes Ladies at Sporting Club Thamesmead 2-1 on Sunday.
The Addicks had made the worst possible start, seeing Lewes’s Sian Heather open the scoring after just two minutes, latching onto a long ball through the middle.
Kit Graham, though, equalised on the stroke of half time and Charlton pushed to get a second goal that looked unlikely to materialise.
The visitors had to play the final 15 minutes with 10 players after Paige Walder pushed Grace Coombs and received a straight red card, but they defended well throughout.
It took Charlton until five minutes into stoppage time to grab the winning goal, with Ruby Southgate playing an inch-perfect ball to the back post, where Coombs controlled well and dinked over stand in goalkeeper Katie Burr.
Manager Jeremy Parsons made three changes, two enforced, from the side that drew with Coventry United a fortnight ago, with Sam Pittuck and captain Kim Dixson missing out through illness and injury. Nikita Whinnett also made way, with Southgate, Stef Simmons and Jenny Newman their replacements.
Charlton started on the front foot, with Charley Clifford seeing an early shot blocked for a corner. From the resulting set piece, though, Lewes cleared their lines with a ball that cleared the Charlton defence and saw Megen Lynch make an initial save before Heather tapped home from a couple of yards out.
Gemma Shepherd had a decent chance when through on goal but her curled effort was easily saved by Burr, while Danni Lane shot over and Kelly Newton narrowly failed to get her head on a free kick for the visitors.
The Sussex side then went agonisingly close to a second just after the half hour mark, with left back Natasha Wells lifting a long ranger onto the top of the crossbar.
And, with time in the first period running out, a cross from the right was spilled by Burr and Graham was on hand to tap home and send the two sides into the interval on level terms.
Having come on to replace Simmons early in the second half, Whinnett was agonisingly close to latching onto a deep Graham cross at the far post but just couldn’t stretch herself enough to make contact.
Shepherd, with no defender around or in front of her, then shot just over and Rosie Paye and Graham saw efforts blocked as Charlton ramped up the pressure.
Coombs then flashed a volley wide of the target before Shepherd tried to poke past Burr one on one, but the stopper made a smart stop.
With quarter of an hour remaining, the complexion of the contest changed, with Walder being dismissed for an off-the-ball incident, allegedly shoving her marker after a challenge.
Charlton went for the kill after that but failed to create many real clear-cut opportunities, until the very end.
With five minutes of injury time played, Southgate, who was pushed forward into midfield as her side tried to make their numerical advantage count, hung a ball up to the back of the area.
The ball picked out Coombs and the centre back controlled well and knocked past the onrushing Burr to give her side the victory and keep them in second position in the FA Women’s Premier League.
Charlton: Lynch, Southgate, Flack, Paye, Coombs, Clifford, Baxter, Newman (Howlett 56), Simmons (Whinnett 51), Shepherd, Graham. Subs (not used): Dixson, Sullivan, Parsons.