Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 6:59PM UTC, Sunday, 02 September 2012
The Charlton women’s team gained their first win of the season, defeating Gillingham 4-1 in Chatham in the FA Women’s Premier League Cup on Sunday.
A brace from Gemma Shepherd and a header apiece from Ellie Stenning and Kit Graham got the Addicks’ cup campaign off to the perfect start, with Anelle Massey equalising for the Gills.
Charlton made just one change to their starting line up with Harley Bennett missing out due to an illness, with Stenning coming in for her after impressing on her return from injury against Manchester City.
Gemma Bryan returned from injury to take a place on the bench alongside Jenny Newman and new signings Cherrelle Albert and Annabel Prior.
The Addicks started brightly and Shepherd could have put them ahead on 12 minutes after some good build up saw Kim Dixson play her in over the top but, with the goalkeeper advancing, she could only poke wide.
A couple of minutes later the ball was in the hosts’ net after Cori Daniels headed goalwards and Stenning used her strength to power the ball in but the referee decided her challenge was unfair and disallowed the goal.
The deadlock was broken by the visitors in the 25th minute, Shepherd started off a counter attack, playing a one-two with Courteney Gibson to keep the ball moving up the field.
She took it in her stride on the return on the right hand corner of the box and, seeing the keeper off her line, cleverly chipped it over her and into the top far corner.
Nicole Pepper then went close for Gillingham but her shot was off target before Daniels headed a Sinead Boyer free kick narrowly over.
Despite all Charlton’s early pressure, the home side were able to level the tie up when a ball was played over the top of the defence and Massey floated the ball over the advancing Cooper.
Stenning should have put Charlton straight back into the lead when Shepherd squared into the six yard area but the striker’s shot was saved by keeper Ruth Jackson.
A long range drive was then well saved by Jackson as she flew to her right to push it round the post for a corner, which was headed wide by Daniels.
With half time looming, though, the Addicks were back in the lead. Dixson played the ball into Shepherd whose volley on the turn was sublime and flew over Jackson’s despairing dive and into the same corner as her first.
And the third goal was not long in coming after the interval. A cross from the right came in and Stenning powered a header into the far corner.
Boyer then had a couple of mazy runs forward from right back and her second ended in a shot from 20 yards which was parried acrobatically by Jackson.
The fourth and final Charlton goal came on 55 minutes when Gibson whipped in a deep cross to the far post where Graham stooped low to head home from an almost impossible angle.
Striker Bryan got an important 20 minute run out and could have scored herself, shooting just over from long range before a good block from a Gillingham defender denied her later on.
After a few injuries to Gills players, there was plenty of time for Charlton to extend their lead and substitute Cherrelle Albert should have opened her Addicks account when Gibson squared but she could only divert the ball wide of the top corner.
Charlton: Cooper, Boyer, Flack, Daniels, Jones, Dixson, Chandler (Albert 70), Shepherd, Gibson, Graham (Newman 55), Stenning (Bryan 70). Sub (not used): Prior.