Report by Colin Robertson
Page last updated at 6:30PM GMT, Sunday, 15 January 2012
Braces by Athena Yennaris and Kallie Balfour and goals from Jade Keogh and Sam Rowland saw Charlton through to the final of the Kent Cup as they ran out 6-1 winners against Meridian in Chatham on Sunday.
Charlton will be in the Final to defend their title as holders of the Kent Cup after a convincing semi-final display where several young players featured including Kylie Manktelow making her first step up from the U17’s.
In bright and cold conditions on a heavy pitch Charlton broke the deadlock after 11 minutes through centre back Yennaris’s sharp finish from five yards out after the ball had not settled from a corner.
Katie Sheppard’s shot was blocked in the 23rd minute, however, Keogh made no mistake in converting the loose ball from just inside the box to make it 2-0.
Yennaris was again quickest to pick up the pieces from Stef Simmons` corner and scored a similar goal to her first to make it three nil before the break. Previously the defender had not scored for the club.
Early In the second half Rowland connected with a volley from Simmons` corner and made it four. Then Balfour added to the scoreline with a well worked individual goal cutting in from the left flank and outpacing her markers to drive home her strike high into the net.
The home side hit back just minutes later to remind the Addicks that there was still time to play. Their slight chance of a comeback was cut short when Sarah Smith was equal to a penalty, diving to her left after the referee had adjudged Emily Symonds to have pushed a player in the back.
There was time for one more as the Addicks attacked through strong forward running from Kristina Manktelow and Simmons, who battled hard with partner Sheppard in the centre until the end. Kylie Manktelow threading a neat pass from midfield to Balfour who had the turn on her marker and she ran into score one-on-one with the keeper.
Manager, Bill Long was glad to be in the final, “We put in a reasonable performance today, it was great to score six goals and nice to have so many young players getting a good run out and stepping up very well - so you have got to happy with that. Now we are looking forwards to holding on to the cup.”
Charlton Team: Smith, Symonds, Singyard (Day 60), Yennaris, Patel, Kristina Manktelow, Simmons, Sheppard, Rowland (Kylie Manktelow 60), Balfour, Keogh (Igbavboa 60).
Charlton will face Gillingham in the Final after the Gills narrowly beat Ebbsfleet 1-0 in their semi-final.