Charlton 5-1 Plymouth Argyle
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 9:10PM BST, Sunday, 17 April 2016
The Charlton women’s team eased to a 5-1 victory against Plymouth Argyle in their penultimate home game of the season at Sporting Club Thamesmead on Sunday.
Goals from Jenny Newman, Charley Clifford, Gemma Shepherd, Kit Graham and Nikita Whinnett secured a win that secures the Addicks at least a top four finish, with a win next weekend guaranteeing a third place finish at the minimum.
Manager Jeremy Parsons made five changes from the side that were defeated on penalties by Tottenham in the Ryman Cup final on Thursday, giving a long-awaited first team debut to centre back Rosey Sullivan.
Stef Simmons, Rosie Paye, Jenny Newman and Charley Clifford also came in, with Grace Coombs, Whinnett, Ellie Baxter, Graham and Ruby Southgate starting on the bench after a tough 120 minutes midweek.
Charlton began the game at a fast tempo, with Newman heading a Shepherd cross wide of the far post within the first minute.
Amy Howlett also went close, rolling the ball across goal and wide of the far post before Plymouth threatened momentarily with Mollie Taylor turning Sam Pittuck just outside the area but dragging her shot wide.
Shepherd then turned her defender having received a throw in and crossed for Newman, whose flicked effort was blocked. The striker then had a one-on-one chance but keeper Rebeckah Kyle saved.
A couple of chances came and went for the visitors, with Danielle Salt and Taylor both volleying wide, before Charlton finally broke the deadlock on 31 minutes. Shepherd fed a ball through to Newman, who this time made no mistake, firing past Kyle and into the far corner.
The match went into the break finely poised with just the one goal in it but the hosts doubled their advantage 10 minutes into the second period, with Clifford spinning the ball over Kyle and in.
Shortly after Shepherd saw a curling effort drift just wide but she was on the scoresheet 72 minutes in, turning her defender and poking a first time effort past the keeper.
Two minutes later it was 4-0 courtesy of substitute Graham, the striker taking the ball in stride and slotting home from 20 yards out.
Just a minute later out of nowhere, though, Plymouth pulled a goal back as Rebecca Atkins played sub Summer Taylor in and she finished well past Megen Lynch in the hosts’ goal.
But Charlton’s four-goal advantage was restored nine minutes from time as Whinnett saw her shot pushed into the air by the keeper and the ball flew over her and in.
The Addicks will wrap up a top three finish with victory in their last home game of the season against Forest Green Rovers. They finish their league campaign away to Coventry United the following Sunday and have the Capital Cup final against Spurs sandwiched in between.
Charlton: Lynch; Paye, Flack, Sullivan, Pittuck; Dixson, Clifford, Shepherd, Howlett (Whinnett 81), Simmons (Baxter 71); Newman (Graham 61). Subs (not used): Coombs, Southgate.