Charlton 2-1 Portsmouth
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 8:50PM UTC, Sunday, 01 November 2015
The Charlton women’s team completed a league double over reigning FA Women’s Premier League South champions Portsmouth with a 2-1 win at Sporting Club Thamesmead on Sunday.
It was, as expected, a close-fought encounter, with Charlton taking a 25th minute lead through a Gemma Shepherd penalty, but Nigeria international Ini Umotong equalised for the visitors shortly after.
And it was Kit Graham who netted the winner 16 minutes from time, as Charlton survived some late pressure as Portsmouth tried in vain to get something from the match.
The victory moves the Addicks into second place in the FAWPL South, just one point behind leaders Cardiff City with half the 22-game season played.
Manager Jeremy Parsons made just one change to his side the beat Forest Green Rovers 6-0 last weekend, with Graham returning in place of defender Grace Coombs.
It was an exciting opening, with Pompey having the better of the early chances and they were unfortunate not to take the lead within the first couple of minutes as Sarah Kempson’s glancing header struck the post.
Winger Lucy Quinn then had a gilt-edged chance when put through on goal but screwed her volley well wide.
It was then Charlton’s turn to be denied by the woodwork, with Shepherd through on goal but thwarted by Michelle Beazley saving down low. The rebound fell for Kim Dixson but her effort cannoned back off the crossbar and away to safety.
Jenny Newman was unlucky with a volley that was deflected wide of goal before goalkeeper Alex Baker saved well from Kempson.
It was shortly after that Charlton opened the scoring from a move that started with Baker. The stopper’s goal kick was aimed towards the right wing and Nikita Whinnett, who looked like she had little chance of making it, chased down defender Nadine Bazan and nicked it off her.
As the winger advanced into the penalty area, Bazan pulled her back and conceded the penalty. It was top scorer Shepherd who tucked the spot kick into the corner of the goal, taking her tally for the season to 16 goals in 13 matches in all competitions.
The striker could have had her second just moments later as she dispossessed a defender and closed in on goal but, with Graham up for support, she seemed in two minds whether to shoot or pass and, in the end, slipped and allowed Beazley to save.
And, with just under 10 minutes left until the half, the away side were back on level terms as Kempson got free down the left and crossed for an unmarked Umotong five yards out. The striker had plenty of time to pick her spot and give Baker no chance.
Umotong headed a free kick over early on in the second period, shortly before Shepherd saw a snapshot fly just wide from 20 yards out.
Baker was alert yet again to deny Kempson from point-blank range before the same player shot wide from a good position having been teed up by Umotong.
Molly Clark almost took advantage of a poor pass in defence by Charley Clifford but her curled effort went wide.
Two minutes later, Charlton were back in the lead after a searching through ball from Shepherd gave Graham something to chase.
She seemed second favourite as Beazley advanced from her goal, but Graham did well to beat her to the ball and slip it under the keeper’s body. Both players stayed down after a brave challenge but were OK to continue, although Graham was withdrawn seven minutes later.
Pompey threw all they had at Charlton in the last 10 minutes, plus the seven of added time, but there were few real chances in that time, with the Addicks looking dangerous on the break.
Indeed, Whinnett could have extended her side’s advantage, shooting wide when it looked easier to score.
Despite a number of free kicks that Portsmouth cleverly won, the only real opportunity of note they had was through a Gemma Hillier free kick that skimmed the surface but Baker, watching it all the way, pushed it wide of the post.
Charlton held on in the end and they leapfrogged former league leaders Brighton & Hove Albion into second spot, with an away clash against Lewes Ladies to come this weekend.
Charlton: Baker; Flack, Simmons, Paye, Coombs; Dixson, Clifford, Newman (Baxter 59), Whinnett; Graham (Howlett 81), Shepherd. Sub (not used): Coombs.