Charlton 2-1 London Bees
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 6:53PM BST, Sunday, 31 March 2019
Goals from strikers Liz Ejupi and Kit Graham either side of half time ensured the Charlton Women saw off London Bees 2-1 at The Hive on Sunday to keep the pressure on the FA Women’s Championship leaders.
Ejupi opened the scoring just past the half-hour mark with a lob over Bees keeper Sarah Quatrill, before Graham looked to have put the game beyond the hosts with 12 minutes to play.
A stunning late volley from Pickett gave the North Londoners hope, but it turned out to be just a consolation and the Addicks ran out deserved winners.
It was the hosts who came out with the early intent, with Charlton having to withstand a bit of early pressure. Katie Wilkinson fired a free kick wide across goal and some last-ditch defending foiling Destiney Toussaint during the first five minutes.
Charlton hit back, though, with Harley Bennett pinging a cross-field ball towards Graham, but her header on the stretch was easily gathered by Sarah Quantrill.
From then on, the chances all fell to the visitors. Skipper Grace Coombs nicked the ball on the halfway line on 15 minutes, fed Graham, who drove towards goal but saw her shot palmed wide by Quantrill.
After a couple more chances that fell to Graham, Melanie Parreno-Espinosa was unfortunate to see her accurate long-ranger saved by the former Chelsea keeper.
More chances came and went for the away side before a ball found its way to Ejupi just after the half-hour mark, who ended up one-on-one with Quantrill and the striker chipped the ball home to break the deadlock.
The first period ended with Charlton still on top, with Graham having a couple of chances and Charley Clifford firing a brace of free kicks over the crossbar. London Bees came forward sporadically, but couldn’t break down a stubborn Addicks backline.
Again, Bees had the better of the opening exchanges immediately after the interval with Toussaint crashing a long-range effort against the woodwork.
A couple of minutes later it was Charlton’s turn to hit the post, with Gurr receiving the ball from her own cleared corner. The wing-back made cut inside onto her left foot and curled a wonderful effort onto the far post. Graham was then unlucky to see her close-range shot parried over the bar by Quantrill.
Up the other end, the home side had a rare foray forward with intent. Pickett advanced and spread the ball out wide to the right for McLachlan, whose cross was too high for Toussaint and too heavy for Wilkinson at the far post and the chance went.
With 12 minutes remaining, the Addicks doubled their advantage when substitute Lily Agg won the ball inside the final third and laid the ball off to Gurr. Gurr then threaded a sublime through ball for Graham to latch onto and fire across Quantrill and into the bottom far corner.
The final stages saw Quantrill keep an Amber Stobbs shot out and Agg shoot just wide. With Charlton then looking like moving back into third place ahead of Durham on goals scored, London Bees finally found a reply seemingly out of nothing as the ball dropped for Pickett 10 yards out and the former Tottenham striker volleyed home well.
In the end, though, it was not to be a nervy period of added time as Charlton saw the game out well to record their 11th win of the season.
Charlton: Startup, Kerr, Coombs, Clifford, Eggesvik, Gurr, Graham (Maple 84), Bennett, Parreno-Espinosa (Stobbs 72), West, Ejupi (Agg 72). Sub (not used): Hembrough.
London Bees: Quantrill, Johnson, Wilson, Toussaint, Wilkinson, Pickett, Rolandsen, Gibson, McLachlan (Littlejohn 78), Nunn (Dench 88), Wheeler.
Goals: Elizabeta Ejupi (33), Kit Graham (78); Lauren Pickett (90)
Yellow cards: Lilli Maple; Destiney Toussaint.