Charlton 4-1 CK Basildon
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 9:53PM BST, Sunday, 13 September 2015
A Gemma Shepherd hat trick helped the Charlton women’s team come from a goal down to defeat C&K Basildon 4-1 at Sporting Club Thamesmead on Sunday.
The Addicks went behind to a 34th minute Hannah Porter strike but Shepherd equalised just before half time, capitalising on a defensive slip.
Nikita Whinnett gave the hosts the lead six minutes after the break and they never looked back, with Shepherd grabbing two more late on to take her tally for the season to five goals in four matches.
Manager Jeremy Parsons made one change to the side that hit Plymouth for six last weekend, with Kit Graham returning from injury to replace Amy Howlett.
In truth, it should have been a more comfortable afternoon for Charlton, with a glut of one-on-one chances going begging before the deadlock was broken.
The first real gilt-edged opportunity wasn’t a one-on-one, though; a whipped Stef Simmons corner found Shepherd unmarked inside the six-yard box but her header flew over the crossbar.
After Kit Graham showed strength to dispossess the Basildon right back, she threaded a sublime through ball to her strike partner, who opened her body up and looked to hit the far corner, but goalkeeper Cherie Rowlands made a smart save down low.
Basildon also had the woodwork to thank for keeping the score down, with Shepherd turning provider for defender Sam Pittuck, who beat Rowlands but was left frustrated by the crossbar.
Some nice one-touch football allowed Rowlands to make another good stop, with Rosie Paye spreading play out to Whinnet on the right wing. The Liverpool-born wide player’s cross along the floor was dummied by Graham for Shepherd, but Rowlands held the shot.
And the former Arsenal stopper was called upon again when Whinnett was freed behind the defence for a one-on-one chance that Rowlands stopped with her feet.
Against the run of play, it was the visitors that opened the scoring, as Rebecca Smith spotted Porter just inside the area and, with no one closing her down, the midfielder was allowed to pick her spot and shoot beyond Lynch into the far corner.
They were ahead for just six minutes, though, with Shepherd restoring parity five minutes before the interval. Pittuck put a searching ball through for Newman, who pressured a Basildon defender into a hurried piece of play and her back pass sold Rowlands short, with Shepherd able to nip in and slam home.
The away side almost hit back shortly before the break, but Lynch did well to push a 35-yarder from Maegen Doyle over the bar.
And Charlton were finally ahead six minutes into the second half, when Graham broke and surged down the left wing. The striker cut inside and unselfishly squared to Whinnett to slide past Rowlands.
The south-east Londoners came agonisingly close to increasing their advantage, hitting the crossbar twice in as many minutes.
Graham, who is yet to score this season, was incredibly unfortunate to see what looked like a perfectly weighted lob hit the underside of the woodwork and come down the wrong side of the goal line. Just seconds later, Shepherd was denied in similar fashion, this time from a slightly more difficult angle.
How Basildon didn’t punish their opponents for those misses is anyone’s guess, but it took some excellent, desperate defensive work to keep them out, as Lynch saved, Pittuck cleared off the line and Rosie Paye blocked three attempts in quick succession.
Shepherd was foiled again by Rowlands up the other end, as the custodian palmed away a curling effort, but it wasn’t long until the striker was back on the scoresheet anyway.
And, in a similar vain to her first strike, it was a poor back pass from former Addick Charlotte Long that led to the goal, but there was still a lot of work to be done. Shepherd raced to win a challenge with Rowlands and managed to keep the ball under control and poke home under pressure from a defender.
And, eight minutes before the final whistle, Shepherd completed her treble when Basildon skipper Claire Lacey mis-controlled an Ellie Baxter cross to allow her in.
Karissa Rodney had a late chance for the Essex side, as she poked the ball past Lynch, but the ball tricked the other side of the far post.
Substitute Amy Howlett had the ball in the back of the net again, converting another Baxter cross but the referee saw an infringement that no one else did and disallowed the goal.
The win sees the still-unbeaten Charlton leapfrog their opponents into fifth place, with the chance to climb up one more place when they travel to Cheshunt to face Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday evening - ko 745pm.
Charlton: Lynch; Flack, Simmons, Paye, Pittuck;, Dixson, Clifford, Whinnett (Baxter 82), Newman (Howlett 63); Graham (Wells 86), Shepherd.