Charlton 2-2 Cardiff City
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 3:26PM BST, Monday, 26 May 2014
The Charlton women’s team finished their season with a hard-fought 2-2 draw with Cardiff City at the University of Glamorgan on Sunday.
With changes enforced due to unavailability, manager Stuart Weston fielded a young squad that contained two debutants, Alex Baker in goal and defender Georgia Richards.
Despite this, they acquitted themselves well and nicked a point that secured the Addicks a top-half finish in the FA Women’s Premier League South.
Cardiff, who had all but wrapped up third place, made all the running in the first half and deservedly took a 1-0 lead into half time thanks to a 10th minute Nicola Cousins header.
However, Kit Graham latched onto a poor clearance to equalise just three minutes into the second period before a lapse in concentration allowed Michelle Green to put the hosts back into the lead.
Graham then won a penalty with 13 minutes remaining, after what looked like a shoulder-to-shoulder challenge, that Sam Pittuck tucked home to restore parity.
On her bow for the first team, Baker impressed, particularly in the opening half. The stopper was called upon just five minutes in when left back Lauren Townsend launched an accurate long-range effort goalwards but Baker did well to tip over the bar.
She could do little about the opening goal, though, that came from a Townsend free kick. The Charlton defence seems to switch off and allowed Cousins a free header that nestled into the corner of the net.
It looked like the home side had doubled their advantage shortly after but they were thwarted by a further brilliant piece of keeping from Baker. Townsend whipped another cross into the area, which was met by the head of centre forward Zoe Atkins. The ball looked destined for the goal but Baker reached out a hand and tipped it round the post.
Despiter Cardiff’s dominance, their profligacy allowed Charlton the opportunity to regroup at the interval and press for an equaliser. That came on 48 minutes when goalkeeper Sophie Dando shanked her clearance right into Graham’s midriff. Graham made no mistake, floating the ball over Dando for her 10th League goal of the season.
Level terms didn’t last long, though – six minutes to be precise – and Cardiff took advantage of a Katie Flack slip to fashion an opening. Baker made yet another excellent stop initially but the ball fell kindly for the Welsh side and a cross was turned home by Green to restore their lead.
The visitors, with a bare bench, brought on goalkeeper Megen Lynch, who was sent on to lead the line. The custodian, who has waited for 126 matches to play outfield, made a nuisance of herself and her introduction coincided with the second equaliser.
The ball was pumped forward for Graham to latch onto but she was floored by a challenge in the penalty area and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot – although it was harsh on Cardiff.
Pittuck stepped up and sent Dando the wrong way, securing her side a share of the points from what was a long trip to end the season.
Charlton: Baker, Richards, Singyard, Flack, Paye, Coombs, Tye, Ibrahim, Blowers, Graham, Pittuck.