Report by Sue Prior
Page last updated at 12:45PM BST, Thursday, 21 April 2011
The Charlton Women’s team came from a goal down to defeat local rivals Gillingham 3-1 at Lordswood FC on Wednesday evening to put them within touching distance of the Southern Division title.
Report by David Brenchley
A Gemma Bryan brace and Kim Dixson header cancelled out Dixson’s first half own goal to give the Addicks their first win against the Gills this season after two early season defeats.
And, as news of Brighton’s 5-1 victory over Portsmouth filtered through to the Chatham-based ground, it leaves Charlton a victory away from the league title.
Dixson was unfortunate to head a Lauren Phillips cross over keeper Megen Lynch’s head after 12 minutes to give the home side the lead but that served as a wake-up call for the Addicks.
Five minutes before half time Bryan controlled the ball on the left hand side of the penalty area, took a couple of touches and fired an unstoppable shot across the goalkeeper and into the net.
She then carved out another chance after 63 minutes but her cross rolled across the goalmouth to the other side of the area where Fliss Gibbons did brilliantly to cross on the turn and Dixson headed home from a couple of yards out.
Charlton were then out of sight just two minutes later when Stef Simmons looped a fantastic ball into Bryan who took a touch and then smashed the ball into the roof of the net for her 18th league goal of the season.
The visitors started the game nervy, were under the cosh fairly quickly and Leah Jones should have put Gillingham a goal ahead after seven minutes of the game.
The Gills did get the opener in the end and could have gone two goals to the good when Grace Coombs slipped to let Natalie Crinean in but Lynch came out to make a superb save.
Charlton came into the game with 25 minutes on the clock and Bryan was desperately unlucky not to have equalised with a shot on the turn that went just over.
Dixson should have scored shortly after when she connected with a Jenny Newman centre but her header went wide. The league leaders then had an excellent goal disallowed – much to the bewilderment of the majority of the crowd.
Gibbons controlled a wonderful ball with her chest, took a touch inside and fired a superb effort into the net but the linesman wrongly flagged for offside.
The consternation of the Addicks did not last long, though, as Bryan had them level three minutes later and gave them hope of turning the game on its head after the interval.
There was only really one side in it in the second period and Bryan went close a couple of times before a quick-fire double, from Dixson and Bryan, effectively ended the tie.
Gibbons almost got the goal her exceptional play deserved when she linked up with Fran Ali and substitute Ellie Bailes before curling a shot goalwards with her right foot but Katie Duffy stretched out her left arm and tipped the ball onto the upright.
After the game a delighted Paul Mortimer ran out of superlatives to describe his side’s efforts after seeing them notch their seventh successive league victory.
“The girls are showing that desire and that hunger to kill the games off and I am smiling again because they were brilliant,” he said, “I am really proud of them.
“The girls deserve to be at the top of the table, it is nothing to do with luck. The girls have worked really hard and have shown such an improvement from the first quarter of the season.
“Now we are scoring goals and not just Gemma although she was brilliant again tonight. She leads the line fantastically and I hope she gets more goals.
“Jenny and Fliss were both brilliant, how Fliss pulled that one back [for Dixson’s goal] I have no idea. Megen had very little to do in the second half as well, which is the way I like it.
“The midfield is working well, Fran is playing well and I am delighted with the team because they are playing so well that I don’t want the season to end.”
Charlton: Lynch, Flack, Simmons, Dixson, Ali, Duggan, Newman (Bailes 75), Coombs, Gibbons, Bryan, Clifford. Subs (not used): McRoberts, Chandler, Sherwood.
Click on link below to see the league table