Charlton 2-1 QPR - Capital (London) Cup Final
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 1:07AM BST, Monday, 28 April 2014
The Charlton women’s team lifted the London FA Capital Cup on Sunday, after a hard-fought 2-1 win over Queens Park Rangers at Imber Court.
The Addicks had to come from a goal down, after Stacey Sowden had given Rangers the lead after 23 minutes, an advantage they held until half time.
Charlton came out after the interval flying, though, and were level just two minutes in through Sam Pittuck, with Kit Graham grabbing the winning goal three minutes later.
Charlton were unchanged from the side that defeated Brighton and Hove Albion by the same scoreline last weekend, and had the first chance of the tie when right-back Ruby Southgate fired well over from 25 yards.
Both teams took a while to grow in the game, with the south Londoners making most of the early running. Pittuck headed a Francesca Tye cross wide, while youngster Sophie Blowers had a couple of early chances. One of those was curled well wide, while the other was sliced into the arms of Rs keeper Jo Ayre.
The Addicks’ best chance of the first period came when Pittuck was played in on the right, cut in and shot across the face of goal, but agonisingly wide of the target. That miss would be punished shortly after when some good play from QPR saw the clinical Sowden played in for a one-on-one with Megen Lynch. The striker cleverly dinked the ball over Lynch and in to give them a one-goal lead.
Charlton kept pushing in the first half and were unfortunate on a number of occasions, particularly Player of the Match Francesca Tye. Some excellent work on the wing saw Emma Harrison shrug off the attention of her marker and cross but Tye’s volley cannoned back off the crossbar.
Ayre had to be alert on a couple of occasions, holding on to a Blowers cross that was drifting in and seeing another well-hit Tye volley stick to her hands.
QPR had another chance moments before the break when Sowden again beat he offside trap but, with winger Harrison tracking back and pressuring, her shot was weak and saved by Lynch.
If the first half had been disappointing for Charlton, the girls quickly erased those memories, and the game was turned on its head within five minutes.
Harrison jinked down the line again and floated a cross that was headed back by Tye to Graham, whose shot was blocked. The clearance only fell as far as Pittuck, who made no mistake from 12 yards out to equalise.
On 50 minutes, the Addicks took the lead as Graham showed strength to turn her defender and unleash a looping effort that was fumbled by Ayre onto the crossbar and nestled in the back of the net.
The momentum had well and truly shifted in Charlton’s favour by now and their lead could have been extended. Despite QPR trying their hardest to claw their way back into the contest, there was only ever going to be one winner on the balance of play.
Pittuck headed a free kick narrowly over, while Graham saw a long-range effort fly well over the bar. There was one moment of danger for Charlton when Rosie Paye headed a dangerous cross just over her own crossbar. From the resulting corner, captain Katie Flack headed off the line after a goalmouth scramble and Laura Cooper’s final effort was off target.
That was the closest they would come to taking the trophy from Charlton, who still had chances that fell to Blowers and Graham. Pittuck probably should have doubled her tally for the night when one-on-one with an advancing Ayre but she poked her shot wide of the post.
Despite what was a very long period of injury time, though, the Addicks managed to see the game out comfortably and retained the title they had won last season, beating Arsenal reserves by the same score.
Charlton: Lynch, Southgate, Singyard, Flack, Paye, Rogers, Tye (Hardaker 87), Harrison, Blowers (Hyland 79), Graham, Pittuck. Subs (not used): Coombs, Simmons, Clifford.