Charlton 4-3 Keynsham Town
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 8:57PM GMT, Sunday, 09 March 2014
What looked at half time to be a routine day’s work for the Charlton women’s team turned into a nailbiting 4-3 victory against Keynsham Town on Sunday at Sporting Club Thamesmead.
The Addicks raced into a 4-0 lead at the interval and looked to be cruising but allowed the visitors into the match, but managed to cling on in the end.
Charlton made a flying start, with Emma Harrison winning a penalty that was converted by Stef Simmons with just two minutes played. Kit Graham then struck after taking the ball round the keeper and a Charley Clifford brace looked to have secured the three points already.
However, Keynsham staged a second-half comeback as goals from Olivera Markovic, Pilar Garcia and Leanne Lapham proved not quite enough to steal any of the spoils.
Before some spectators had taken their seats, Charlton were a goal to the good as Emma Harrison stole the ball from a defender, surged into the area and was brought down from behind. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Simmons duly broke the deadlock.
It was all Charlton in the first period, with PHSC plc Player of the Match Clifford forcing Keynsham keeper Gwyn West into a smart save just after, although Megen Lynch also had to be alert to gather an Aimee Clark free kick.
Charlton’s lead was doubled on 24 minutes: Clifford won a header in the final third, allowing Graham to take the ball round West and stroke into an empty net.
Striker Sam Pittuck went close twice, first latching onto an excellent Graham through ball and brushing the top of the crossbar and then seeing an excellent first-time strike on the turn land on top of the roof of the net.
Up the other end, Keynsham pushed for a way back into the match but another Clark free kick was headed wide by Garcia after it had eluded everyone else in the box.
Charlton doubled their advantage in the final five minutes of the first half as Clifford bagged her brace of goals. The first was beautifully executed, with Graham, who was the focal point of everything Charlton created, weaving past four defenders and laying the ball off to the midfielder, who found the bottom corner.
Clifford’s second strike of the day saw her corner kick fly over everyone and straight into the far corner of the goal.
Pittuck had two early chances after the break that both went wide but, for the rest of the half, the visitors pressured as they sought what would have been an impressive comeback.
There were a couple of warning shots fired, with Lynch doing well to save one-on-one with Markovic before Sinead Melinn fired just wide. With 20 minutes remaining, the West Country side got their first of the game through Markovic.
Clifford was agonisingly close to a hat trick, seeing a shot from inside the area cannon back off the underside of the crossbar and bounce out to safety.
With just 10 minutes left Keynsham pulled a second goal back when Markovic beat the offside trap before centring to an offside-looking Garcia to tap home.
Charlton midfielder Grace Coombs also had some great chances, and was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet. Seeing West well off her line, a curled long-range effort looked to be flying in but just cleared the crossbar. Then, after rampaging through the visiting defence, she was thwarted by a brilliant double save from West.
With the clock well into injury time, Leanne Lapham reduced the lead to one goal with a well taken goal from 30 yards on the left wing that struck the inside of the far post and nestled in the net.
However, seconds after the restart the referee brought an end to proceedings, giving Charlton their third successive win and making it five league games unbeaten.
Charlton: Lynch, Singyard, Simmons (Houlihan 75), Flack, Paye, Coombs, Clifford, Graham, Ibrahim, Harrison (Kylie Manktelow 87), Pittuck (Kris Manktelow 60). Subs (not used): Hyland.