Charlton 3-2 West Ham
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 7:09PM GMT, Sunday, 16 March 2014
A last-minute Kit Graham winner saw the Charlton women’s team twice come from behind to keep their winning run going and secure a 3-2 win over West Ham United in Thurrock on Sunday.
Three goals of the highest quality from Graham (2) and Stef Simmons took the Addicks to four successive league wins and within three points of joint league leaders Cardiff City and Portsmouth.
It was by no means an easy victory, though, as former Addick Sarah McCrea gave the Hammers, who now sit in the relegation zone, the lead twice in the first half.
Infact, the left winger could have opened the scoring earlier than she did after getting the better of Leigh Houlihan but she could only shoot wide.
From that chance, Charlton goalkeeper Megen Lynch immediately found striker Sam Pittuck who, after a one-two with Charley Clifford played Eliz Ibrahim in but her volley was just over the crossbar.
Charlton were sloppy with their passing early on and a poor clearance from Lynch gave another ex-Addick Cherelle Albert a chance but she also failed to find the target.
It was on 22 minutes when McCrea did give the hosts the lead, volleying home from close range and giving Lynch no chance when free of the defence.
That lead lasted just ten minutes, though, when a long Grace Coombs free kick dropped over Graham’s shoulder and the 18 year old volleyed home on the turn for the best goal of the tie.
However, six minutes before the interval, McCrea struck again. A West Ham free kick eluded the Charlton defence, who failed to follow their runners and allowed the number 11 to convert.
Two late first-half chances came and went for Charlton as Coombs shot just over from long range and Graham wide after a surging cross-field run.
Charlton chased the game with purpose in the second period and saw Pittuck shoot just wide of the near post from a Clifford cross.
An exquisite centre from Coombs with the outside of her boot was narrowly missed by Pittuck and Hammers keeper Lauren Picton did well to push Gemma Hyland’s low shot round the post.
Lynch made an excellent save at point-blank range to deny West Ham but the away side were creating all the pressure in this half. Pittuck saw a header cleared off the line before glancing another just the wrong side of the upright.
A dangerous cross from Alice Singyard was controlled and hit on the turn by Graham but again Picton made good save to deny her.
With time running out, then, the Addicks finally made their pressure pay with two goals in the final five minutes.
First, Clifford’s short corner found West Ham napping and PHSC plc Player of the Match Simmons, spotting Picton off her line, curled an outswinging shot into the top far corner to equalise for her side.
Then, three ticks into the six minutes of added time, Graham won the game with a magnificent volley from 25 yards that sailed over the once again stranded Picton.
Charlton held on and the win takes them level on points with fourth-placed Coventry City, two behind Gillingham in third and just three away from the two leaders.
Charlton: Lynch, Houlihan (Southgate 46), Simmons, Paye (Hyland 57), Flack, Coombs, Clifford, Graham, Ibrahim (Cole 67), Singyard, Pittuck. Subs (not used): Baker.