Charlton 4-2 Portsmouth (FAWPL Cup Round 3)
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 10:16PM GMT, Sunday, 06 November 2016
A Kit Graham hat trick led the Charlton women’s team to stage a second half comeback and storm into the quarter finals of the FA Women’s Premier League Cup with a 4-2 win over Portsmouth at Sporting Club Thamesmead on Sunday.
After a bright start, the Addicks found themselves a goal down on the half hour mark when Sammy Quayle lobbed Kelly Cooper, making her first start of the season in goal. Portsmouth held their lead until the break, but Charlton were 3-1 up within 11 minutes of the second period starting through Graham twice and Giorgia Dunne.
Graham made it four 20 minutes from time before Pompey skipper Gemma Hillier made it a nervy final 10 minutes after capitalising on a defensive lapse but the hosts held on to progress into the final eight.
Manager Paul McDonagh took the opportunity of a cup match to make a few changes, with Kelly Cooper replacing Alex Baker in goal and Giorgia Dunne coming in for Sam Pittuck in midfield. Stef Simmons made her first appearance this season in a matchday squad after recovering from an injury and Charlotte Lee, returning from a spell in Australia also made the bench.
And, despite not having played for three weeks, it was Charlton who started brightest, with Graham heading a Kim Dixson cross wide within the first minute of the match. Moments later Dunne’s effort was deflected wide and Charley Clifford headed an Avilla Bergin corner into the side netting.
Bergin and Graham then linked up as the latter headed the Northern Ireland international’s cross over on eight minutes, but that was where Charlton’s dominance ended as Pompey began to drag themselves back into the contest.
Kate Natkiel went close with two free kicks, which were fired narrowly over Cooper’s goal, while Natasha Stevens went even closer, striking the crossbar from long range.
Charlton were struggling to retain possession for long periods of time as their lack of recent matches looked to be showing and they were behind just before the half hour mark when Quayle hooked the ball high over Cooper and into the top corner of the net.
The home side should have been immediately back on level terms when Graham surged in on goal and squared for Clifford, who looked to have an open goal to find. The midfielder dallied on the ball, though, allowing Nadine Bazan to get back and block the shot when it eventually came.
They did finish the half on a high, with Graham seeing a header cleared off the line and McDonagh’s team talk paid dividends as they were on parity just 50 seconds into the second period when Graham picked the ball up 25 yards out, spun away from her marker and fired in a low effort from just outside of the area.
Bazan and Lisa Fulgence when went close for the visitors but it wasn’t long before Charlton got their noses in front, with Dunne doing well to win possession back and lay a ball forward for Graham to chase. A defensive mix-up allowed the striker the chance to nip in front of a couple of Portsmouth players and poke the ball past Trodd.
On 56 minutes, it was three when Trodd went low to collect a ball but spilled into the path of Dunne. The midfielder’s first shot was blocked but she had the wherewithal and determination to have a second attempt and made no mistake to claim her first senior goal for the club.
They had plenty of chances to extend that lead, with Jenny Newman shooting wide from a Bergin cross and Rosey Sullivan heading a Bergin corner home only to see her effort ruled out for a foul.
With 20 minutes remaining, though, Graham did make it four. Bergin crossed for the forward but she could only flick it wide. Most thought the ball was going out, but Newman was alert enough to keep play alive with a first-time cross that Graham scrambled past Trodd for seal her treble.
Grace Coombs went agonisingly close to making it five but saw her shot spin narrowly wide of the target before, with 10 minutes left, Cooper made a mistake and allowed Portsmouth captain Hillier the opportunity to pull a goal back, which she did.
But the final couple of chances fell the hosts’ way, with Simmons firing past Trodd only to be ruled offside and Graham just failing to get sufficient contact onto a Bergin cross.
In the end, it was a comfortable second half and Charlton progress into the FAWPL Cup quarter finals. They will find out their opponents at around 1pm on Monday when the draw is made, with some tasty potential ties lying in wait.
Charlton: Cooper; Southgate, Flack, Coombs, Sullivan; Dunne (Monaghan 71), Dixson, Clifford; Newman (Simmons 71), Bergin, Graham. Subs (not used): Lee, Pearch, Baker.