Charlton 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 11:22AM BST, Friday, 18 September 2015
An 86th minute Jenny Newman winner snatched a closely fought 2-1 victory for the Charlton women’s team against Tottenham Hotspur at Cheshunt FC on Thursday evening.
The Addicks, though, had to come from behind for the second time this week, going a goal down to Bianca Baptiste’s strike just 11 minutes into the contest.
However, Gemma Shepherd followed up her weekend hat trick by hitting the equaliser 10 minutes later before Newman curled home a dramatic winner late on.
Manager Jeremy Parsons made one change from the side that defeated C&K Basildon 4-1 on Sunday, with Amy Howlett coming in for Newman, who is being eased back into action after more than a year out with a cruciate ligament injury.
Despite an even opening 10 minutes, Charlton got off to the worst possible start and were a goal down when a through ball dissected their defence. Goalkeeper Megen Lynch raced out to clear but was beaten to the punch by the ever-dangerous Baptiste, who poked over and into the far corner.
The strike was not quite as galling as Basildon’s on Sunday, a game the south-east Londoners dominated, but was a blow as they go about chasing the FA Women’s Premier League South title.
However, they quickly collected themselves and went on the offensive, trying to pull themselves back into the contest.
Left-back Stef Simmons provided a great chance with a sumptuous ball over the top of the defence for Shepherd, but the striker’s effort spun over the bar.
However, having already scored five goals in the previous four matches, Shepherd was always going to be a threat to a Spurs defence that did not impress and, in similar fashion to her goals against Basildon, it was unsurprising she was the one to restore parity.
It came from a back pass that sold goalkeeper Toni-Anne Wayne short and the alert Shepherd pounced and lashed home comprehensively to make her the Southern division’s joint leading goalscorer.
Spurs suffered an early blow when veteran striker Wendy Martin was forced off six minutes later, but they had the next chance when a cross from captain Jenna Schillaci narrowly evaded the head of an unmarked Baptiste.
It was an end-to-end encounter but few real clear-cut chances, with Kit Graham having the best before being unceremoniously taken out just outside the penalty area. The Spurs player was carded, and maybe lucky to avoid a sending off, but the free kick from Kim Dixson could only find the wall.
Charlton seemed to lose any momentum they had when the second half kicked off and looked markedly less composed in defence after the loss of former Tottenham captain Sam Pittuck to injury.
Graham had a good chance after being played through by Rosie Paye but Wayne was up to her effort before the ex-Addick also saved smartly from Nikita Whinnett.
The hosts did have the ball in the back of the net for a second time as Avilla Bergin converted after Lynch had saved, but the assistant referee’s flag went straight up for offside.
Some poor defensive distribution from the visitors kept giving their opponents chances, but they were unable to take advantage – ultimately the difference between the two sides in the end.
With the match wearing on and Tottenham tiring, Charlton improved to force a few chances; one good move culminating with Graham laying back to Shepherd whose curling effort was saved.
And, with just four minutes remaining, they struck with what turned out to be the winner through a slick counter attacking move. Shepherd this time turned supplier after latching on to a ball out of defence to create a two-on-two opportunity.
Closing down on the sole defender back, Shepherd release at just the right time, squaring for Newman, who still had work to do and curled a beauty past Wayne and into the far corner.
That set up a grandstand winner, and the home side really should have rescued themselves a point, but were left frustrated by a combination of excellent goalkeeper and profligate finishing.
Lynch was at full stretch to tip a long-range Rosie Kmita strike over, before pushing a Bergin free kick wide. A final two chances came and went for Spurs, with Kmita firing a great opportunity well wide when she should have done better.
In the end, it was Charlton who came away with the three points to leapfrog Tottenham into fourth place and sustain their unbeaten record this season going into an away match with reigning champions Portsmouth on Sunday.
Charlton: Lynch; Flack, Simmons, Paye, Pittuck (Baxter 46); Dixson, Cilfford, Howlett (Newman 56), Whinnett; Graham (Wells 90), Shepherd. Sub (not used): Parsons.