Charlton 6-1 Lewes
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 9:38PM UTC, Sunday, 20 August 2017
After an early scare, the Charlton women’s team made a dream start to the FA Women’s Premier League season, thrashing Lewes Women 6-1 at Sporting Club Thamesmead on Sunday.
And they had to come from a goal down, after Katie McIntyre had put the visitors ahead after just seven minutes. The response came from Charlotte Lee, set up by new signing Ellie Dorey before an own goal and one from Dorey herself put Charlton two goals to the good at the interval.
Second half sub Kit Graham bagged a brace, while Charlotte Gurr, another new signing, put the gloss on the result in added-on time.
It was, as predicted, a much-changed starting 11 for Charlton, with a quartet of debutants in Dorey, Gurr, goalkeeper Katie Startup and Chloe Brunton-Wilde making their bows.
While it was the Addicks who had the first chance of the match, with Lewes keeper Lauren Dolbear saving easily from Charley Clifford’s snap shot, Charlton were made to pay for some early loose passing.
McIntyre did well in the end to nick the ball 20 yards out and fire an effort goalwards that Startup got something on but could not keep out.
Lee then twice went close to an equaliser as the hosts improved while Dorey was also unfortunate not to get on the scoresheet earlier than she did.
But there were plenty of signs of worry at the back for Charlton, with all three defenders contriving to give away possession in dangerous positions more than once. They had Startup to thank once, making an excellent stop after a Lewes attacker had won possession just outside the Addicks’ penalty area.
But it was a wonderful move that culminated in the eventual leveller, with Dorey collecting the ball from Flack on acres of space on the left. The winger used that space to drive at the Lewes defence and send in a wicked low cross that Lee was on hand to sweep home from five yards out.
With scores finally back at parity, Charlton slowly but surely began improving in possession and finding their passing range. Dixson wasted one chance shooting well wide from long range while Dorey, in the thick of the action more than most, shot into the side netting.
Still, Lewes posed plenty of threats – a more clinical side would probably have punished Charlton. McIntyre in truth was very unlucky to see one shot hit the post, with Grace Coombs on hand and alert to poke the ball out for a corner, and Lane blasted over after latching onto another poor pass when well placed to score.
That allowed Charlton to gain even more confidence and nudge themselves in front when Charley Clifford took range from 30 yards out. Normally deadly from even that position, the midfielder was desperately unfortunate to see her drive cannon back off the crossbar; Dolbear, though, was even more unlucky as the ball ricocheted off her back as she fell to the floor and into the net.
Four minutes later, and just before the half time whistle went, it was 3-1. Gurr slid a sublime through ball to Dorey, who cut in from the left flank, advanced on Dolbear and finished well.
The final action of the first 45 saw Dolbear pull off an excellent stop to deny Lee a second goal, tipping the ball over the bar.
The second period started off a cagey affair, with few early chances, the first of which saw Dorey flash one narrowly over.
Graham was introduced on the hour mark and, as ever, made an instant impact, setting Dorey free for the winger to unselfishly square for Clifford to send a tame effort into the keeper’s grateful arms.
Clifford saw a strike ruled out for offside after Dolbear head saved a Dorey shot well, but it was eventually four on 73 minutes, and it was an inevitable goal from the ever-dangerous Graham.
Brunton-Wilde fed the striker with a perfectly weighted through ball and Graham stroked home with the outside of her boot. 10 minutes later she had her second, firing into the corner of the goal from 25 yards out.
And Graham was left to assist the final goal, sending Gurr through one-on-one with Dolbear. It was a brave finish from Gurr, nipping under the Lewes custodian and taking a big knock for her troubles.
But it ended the perfect start for the south-east Londoners, though sends them just third, after big victories for Crystal Palace and Coventry, 9-0 and 8-0 respectively.
Charlton are next in action on Sunday 27 August as they take on local rivals Gillingham at K Sports FC, Aylesford. The Gills left it late to defeat West Ham United 1-0 on Sunday.
Charlton: Startup, Flack, Brunton-Wilde, Dixson, Coombs, Dorey, Clifford, Gurr, Pepper (Bottom 83), Lee (Graham 61), Nash (Sullivan 79). Subs (not used): Southgate, Weller.