Charlton 4-0 Gillingham
Report by Sue Prior
Page last updated at 8:11PM GMT, Sunday, 07 December 2014
A Kit Graham hat-trick and a first senior goal from Dominique Harris saw the Addicks to a comfortable victory at Priestfield Stadium
Manager Stuart Weston was forced to make two changes with Charley Clifford and Ruby Southgate both on bridesmaid duty. Jordan Butler came in at the heart of the defence for her first start since her ACL injury whilst Nikita Whinnett, recently signed from Gillingham, made her Addicks debut.
The superb Priestfield Stadium playing surface suited the Addicks passing game and they were soon in their stride forcing two early corners which culminated in a powerful strike from Whinnett being blocked by a Gills defender.
A teasing cross from winger Amy Howlett was then well claimed by Gills keeper and former Addicks youth team player Courtney Shanly.
A meandering run from Kit Graham saw the striker outpace the defence only for her shot to be blocked.
A measured through ball from Sam Pittuck saw keeper Shanly claim the ball as Whinnett closed in.
Graham then threaded a ball through for Whinnett to chase which saw the forward collide with Shanly as she came out of her area to clear the ball.
The Addicks pressure finally paid off on 19 minutes when centre-back Grace Coombs played a ball into Graham who turned her marker and fired in a shot which Shanly could only help into the net.
Minutes later Graham almost added a second by was foiled by Shanly who made a brave point blank save.
Gills left-back Ellie Manning then picked up a yellow card for a late tackle on Whinnett.
After 28 minutes Charlton extended their lead as Stef Simmons free-kick from 25 yards was parried by Shanly and Graham was on hand to slam the ball into the roof of the net.
Neat passing between Graham and Pittuck then saw the latter fire a low effort wide from the edge of the area.
Graham who was a constant headache for the Kent side then cut through their defence with ease only to be halted by a challenge from Gills skipper Lauren Williams which earnt her a booking.
Another free-kick from Simmons was tipped over by Shanly and from the resulting corner Rosie Paye`s header was cleared off the line.
The last action of the first half saw a Gills counter attack from which Addicks custodian Megen Lynch made a good smothering save from the hard working Louise Lorton. As the ball was cleared it rebounded off Gills striker Lauren Phillips who was in an off-side position and looped into the goal but rightly disallowed by the referee.
Charlton forced two early corners at the start of the second half with Shanly saving Grahams header.
Natalie Crinean then made a good run at the Addicks defence only to see her shot cleared off the line.
Just past the hour mark PHSC Player of the Match Graham completed her hat-trick when she latched on to a ball from Coombs and chipped the keeper.
A long range striker from midfielder Katie Hardaker as then well held by Shanly.
Gills substitute Daniella Farmer then had a goal disallowed after firing home from an off-side position.
Charlton continued to dominate in the final stages with Whinnett and Emma Harrison firing efforts narrowly wide.
Five minutes from time the Addicks netted a well deserved fourth when a great cross from Pittuck rebounded off the crossbar for 17 year old Dominique Harris to finish from close range for her first senior goal.
With only one other league fixture taking place this week victory takes the Addicks to the top of the FA Women`s Premier League Southern Division on goal difference over Brighton.
Charlton: Lynch, Paye, Butler, Coombs, Flack, Howlett (Mulholland 69mins), Hardaker, Pittuck, Simmons (Harrison 58mins), Whinnett (Harris 79mins), Graham