Charlton 3-1 Cardiff City
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 9:02AM UTC, Sunday, 01 October 2017
A 20-minute first-half hat trick of free kicks from Charlotte Gurr helped the Charlton women’s team prevail in a hard-fought 3-1 victory over Cardiff City at the CCB Centre for Sporting Excellence in Wales on Sunday.
The Addicks keep their five-point lead at the top of the FA Women’s Premier League South intact, despite not being at their fluent best and allowing the Welsh side back into the game just after half time and were forced to ride a wave of Cardiff attacks from then on.
Head coach Riteesh Mishra, who had recently been named as FAWPL Manager of the Month for September, elected to name an unchanged line up to the one that beat Basildon 4-1 last weekend.
Despite a slightly sluggish start after a long coach journey, they looked to have put the game to bed by the 33rd minute, thanks to a free kick masterclass from Gurr, who had been named as Player of the Match twice in the previous three matches.
The first two goals, on 14 and 21 minutes respectively, were carbon-copies, the ever-dangerous Kit Graham being fouled twice just outside the area and Gurr curling the resulting set pieces over keeper Estelle Randall on both occasions.
The third, 12 minutes later, was slightly different in that it was winger Hope Nash that was fouled; the result was the same, though, and Gurr again aimed for the roof of the net and did not miss.
Having looked fairly comfortable, the visitors were expected to kick on and put the tie further to bed in the second half. Instead, though, they seemed determined to conspire to make a game of it and the hosts had pulled a goal back within two minutes of the restart though Chloe O`Connor.
While Charlton still had chances to put gloss on the result – Randall saved well from Graham and Dorey saw a shot cleared off the line – there were a few nervy moments in defence.
However, for all of Cardiff’s attacking play, their finishing wasn’t there; though goalkeeper Katie Startup was called upon to pull off some crucial stops in the process.
Charlton are now seven-for-seven in the FAWPL South and sit five points clear of second-placed Lewes Women. Crystal Palace, sitting three points behind in third, and the visitors to Sporting Club Thamesmead on Sunday at 2pm in what promises to be a thrilling south-east London derby.
Charlton: Startup, Flack, Brunton-Wilde, Dixson, Sullivan, Dorey, Clifford, Gurr, Pepper (Coombs 54), Graham (Sherwood 79), Nash (Southgate 67)