Charlton 7-5 Crystal Palace (FA Womens Cup 4th Round)
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 8:37PM GMT, Sunday, 08 March 2015
The Charlton women’s team scraped into the FA Women’s Cup fifth round after a 4-2 penalty shootout victory over Crystal Palace at Sporting Club Thamesmead on Sunday.
The south-east London rivals played out an enthralling 3-3 draw after 120 minutes, with the Eagles twice coming from behind to take the clash all the way.
The Addicks went into the interval two goals up thanks to goals from Amy Howlett and Kit Graham. However, Palace pegged them back to 2-2 after 63 minutes through a Rochelle Shakes double.
Graham bagged her second of the match with 14 minutes remaining but former Millwall midfielder Angela Kiobel sent the game into extra time with a strike three minutes from the end.
After Graham had hit the crossbar early on, the added half an hour produced no goals and it was left up to Charlton keeper Megen Lynch to save one and score one from the spot and Sam Pittuck to send her side through to the next round, where they could face the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool.
Charlton made a nervy start to the tie, with Palace, who play one league below their opponents, hassling and creating the better early opportunities. Shakes had the ball in the net just five minutes in but the assistant referee’s flag was up early for offside.
The hosts looked unfortunate not to win a penalty shortly after when Graham’s powerful strike seemed to strike the hand of a Palace defender, but the referee waved away the appeals.
It didn’t take long for Charlton to open the scoring, though, and it came in the 12th minute from a slick, one-touch passing move between the front four.
Graham played the ball into Gemma Shepherd, who tried to slip Emma Harrison in on goal. The ball looked like it had run slightly too far but Harrison retrieved and crossed along the goal line for the onrushing Howlett to slam home from a yard out.
Once the home side had found their range, it looked like they would be out of sight pretty quickly and Howlett could have had a second when she latched onto a mis-hit Charley Clifford shot but the winger could only put it into the side netting from an acute angle.
Charlton doubled their advantage on 25 minutes, with Rosie Paye, a goalscorer last Sunday against Brighton, turning supplier as her well-weighted ball forward found Graham in the area. The prolific youngster took a touch and volley over Palace goalkeeper Sam Saint.
The final chance of the first period went to Charlton when Saint spilled Shepherd’s dangerous free kick but the ball ran just out of Graham’s reach.
With Charlton seemingly in control, they were taken by surprise when Palace pulled a goal back just a minute after the restart. A long ball into the box saw Howlett somehow one-on-one with Shakes in the penalty area and the striker eased her off the ball and fired over Lynch.
Paye headed a Clifford corner just wide for Charlton but they struggled to get into the match in the second half and found themselves back on level terms just after the hour mark when Grace Coombs had her hands all over Shakes and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Shakes dusted herself down and converted to restore parity.
Graham had her side ahead again on 76 minutes: Shepherd did well to escape from her marker on the left-hand side of goal and whip a cross over that Graham hooked home for her 36th goal of the season.
The drama didn’t end there, though, and Kiobel forced extra time with another equaliser on 87 minutes. The midfielder’s initial touch looked to have taken her off balance just inside the 18-yard box but she managed to loop the ball over Lynch and into the top corner with her second touch.
There were few chances for either side in overtime, with the best coming just 30 seconds into the period when Graham powered a volley goalwards but it struck the woodwork.
Shakes’ and Dixson both had chances either side of half time but both were easily saved by the respective keepers and the game went to penalties.
Shepherd converted the first of the shootout and, after an impressive performance for 120 minutes, it was rather a surprise to see Shakes’ spot kick hit the crossbar to give Charlton an early advantage.
That did not last for long, though, as captain Dixson’s next effort was saved by Saint. However, Lynch pushed Freya Holdaway’s penalty to safety to keep her side a goal in front. The custodian then stepped up and confidently stroked home her kick into the corner.
And the rest of the penalties, from Nikita Whinnett for Charlton and Nicha Dyett and Mary Oninawa for Palace were scored, leaving Pittuck the chance to win it with Charlton’s fifth, which she did.
The draw for the FA Women’s Cup fifth round takes place at lunchtime on Monday.
Charlton: Lynch; Paye, Flack, Coombs, Butler; Dixson, Clifford (Pittuck 85), Howlett (Whinnett 67), Harrison; Graham, Shepherd. Subs (not used): Southgate, Hardaker.