Charlton 4-0 Leicester City
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 10:50AM BST, Sunday, 12 May 2019
The Charlton women’s team wrapped up a third place finish in the first ever FA Women’s Championship season with an impressive 4-0 victory over Leicester City at The Oakwood on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
With Durham losing to Tottenham, the win, their second 4-0 against the Foxes this term, cements an excellent maiden season in the second tier going into the off season.
Charlton looked determined to end their campaign on a high note and got off to the perfect start, with Kit Graham netting the opener after just 48 seconds. The first half was a even one with the Addicks having the better chances, but could not build on their advantage until after the break
It was Player of the Year Liz Ejupi who doubled her side’s advantage five minutes after the interval, leaving Graham to bag the next two to complete her first hat trick as a Championship player.
The home side set their stall out early, looking to nick an early goal and setting up to press their opponents high up the pitch and worrying Leicester into numerous mistakes in the process.
And it was less than a minute before they took the lead when a cross from the left found Graham on the penalty spot, where she swept home past Demi Lambourne.
The next 25 minutes or so was quiet for chances as Leicester tried to hit back but were well seen off by some good Charlton defending. And it was the hosts who could have doubled their advantage halfway through the first 45 as Lily Agg glanced a Charley Clifford free kick onto the outside of the post.
Just past the half hour mark, Sara Eggesvik saw a curled effort fly just wide of the far post. Agg then had a couple of chances saved by Lambourne.
The final action of the first half, though, came down the other end and looked certain that Leicester would nick an equaliser just before the interval. Sophie Domingo was played through one-on-one with Katie Startup, but the England under 19 international stood up well and pushed the shot over the bar.
And, again, it was Charlton who made the best possible start to the second period when, on 49 minutes, substitute Grace Coombs threaded a ball through to Ejupi, who took a touch past her marker, rounded Lambourne and fired home for 2-0.
Leicester, again, attempted to drag themselves back into the game immediately, with Axton seeing two free kicks cannon into the Charlton wall, before Eggesvik fed a dangerous cross into the box up the other end, but there was no-one in the middle to take advantage.
On 64 minutes it was three with a good break from Charlton ending with Ellie Dorey laying back to Graham, who volleyed low and under Lambourne’s body from 25 yards out.
While Charlton had the lion’s share of the chances, Startup had to be alert throughout and again ensured her clean sheet was left intact, clawing a Libby Smith free kick off the goal line and shortly after saving well down low from the same player.
In between, Leigh Dugmore nicked the ball off Hayley West but could only see her lob land on the roof of Startup’s net and a clever, short Graham free kick was fired tamely by Maple straight at Lambourne.
With the game nearing an end, West was sent off eight minutes from time for two bookable offences when the hauled down a Leicester attacker. Again, it was Startup to the rescue, flying across the face of her goal to parry the resulting free kick wide of the post.
But in the closing stages it was the hosts who created the better chances, even with a player fewer. Graham played through Agg one-on-one but Lambourne came out well to thwart the striker.
Into injury time, though, Graham wrapped up her hat trick after a defensive mix-up that ended with the ball at the prolific striker’s feet and she walked the ball over the line.
Charlton: Startup, Kerr (Coombs 46), Ritchie, Clifford, Eggesvik (Maple 71), Gurr, Graham, Bennett, Agg, West, Ejupi (Dorey 59).
Goals: Graham 1, 64, 90, Ejupi 49.
Yellow Card: West.
Red Card: West
Leicester: Lambourne, Franklin, Jackson, Domingo (Nymen 63), Axten (M. Johnson 63), James, Dugmore, Brown, N. Johnson, Moncaster (Jhamat 63), Smith. Subs (not used): Clarke, Morgan, Worts, Hudson.
Player of the Match: Kit Graham
Match Sponsor: Charlton Athletic Men’s Team.