Charlton 3-3 Crystal Palace
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 12:35AM BST, Thursday, 15 September 2016
The Charlton women’s team threw away a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 with Crystal Palace at Hayes Lane, Bromley on Wednesday evening.
The Addicks went into the interval two goals to the good and cruising along comfortably, thanks to two goals from Kit Graham. Gemma Shepherd then added to their tally 10 minutes after the break.
However, the visitors kindly let their hosts back into the game, with Rochelle Shakes and Gemma Bryan reducing that deficit to just one goal within 10 minutes of Charlton’s third. And the comeback was completed 10 minutes from time when Sarah Jones slammed home a free kick that Charlton had failed to defend properly.
Manager Jeremy Parsons made two changes to the side that had hammered Shanklin in the FA Women’s Premier League Cup 10 days previously, with Charley Clifford and Ruby Southgate restored to the starting eleven in place of Ellie Baxter and Rosie Paye.
The Addicks once again came out of the blocks quickest, registering early efforts through Graham and Shepherd with both saved and held by Chanell Yardley.
And it wasn’t long before they opened the scoring, with Shepherd playing captain Kim Dixson in. Her shot was saved once again by Yardley on six minutes; however, this time the rebound fell kindly for Graham, who made no mistake in slamming emphatically past the keeper to break the deadlock.
Avilla Bergin then tested Yardley further but again the Palace stopper was equal; up the other end, former Addick Bryan had two speculative efforts that were never close to troubling Alex Baker in the Charlton goal.
The visitors’ second came just after the half an hour mark when Shepherd fed Graham. The striker cleverly turned her defender once, before doing so again to take the ball onto her favoured left foot before firing home from close range.
The hosts could no nothing other than start to push forward to find a way back into the game and Bryan had their best effort of the first period, shooting low across goal and forcing Baker to make a smart stop.
They then had another chance as the ball fell to Alma Donohoe on the left of the area, but she decided to pass instead of shooting and the chance went as Grace Coombs cleared.
Bergin’s delivery was excellent throughout the match but both Graham and Shepherd found a couple of particularly dangerous crosses just inches out of their reach.
The second half looked as though it was going to be a repeat of the first, with Graham seeing a powerful snap shot saved by the impressive Yardley and Newman curling wide from another Bergin centre.
Their persistence was rewarded further when Graham surged her way through the heart of the Palace defence, despite being fouled early in in the move. The referee did well to play advantage and the hat-trick seeker unselfishly played in her strike partner Shepherd to stroke the ball past Yardley. The goal looked likely to, and should, have put the game to bed.
Palace, though made a sub after the goal, bringing on Shakes, and she made an immediate impact after a poorly weighted back pass from Rosey Sullivan put her goalkeeper Baker in trouble and the replacement was on hand to pull one back.
Just five minutes after that, they were within one goal and had built up plenty of momentum as Bryan chased down a through ball, powered past a non-existent defence and slid under Baker.
Graham went close as the Addicks looked to reinstate their two-goal advantage and they thought they had momentarily when Graham curled the ball into the far corner but the linesman belatedly raised his flag for offside.
Palace were back on level terms four minutes from the end when the referee surprisingly pulled play back to give the home side a free kick despite them having a clear advantage. The decision worked well for Palace, though, as the delivery was headed up into the air by Coombs, flapped at under pressure by Baker and fell kindly for Jones to slam home.
Charley Clifford went closest for Charlton as they pushed forward for a late winner but it was not to be and saw them drop their first points of the season.
Charlton travel to Wiltshire to face Swindon Town on Sunday, as they look to complete a quickfire season double over the newly promoted side.
Charlton: Baker, Flack, Southgate, Dixson, Coombs, Newman, Clifford, Shepherd (Baxter 81), Bergin, Sullivan, Graham. Subs (not used): Pittuck, Paye, Dunne, Nash.