Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 7:00PM UTC, Friday, 05 October 2012
Both Women's teams travel to Cardiff this Sunday to play their counterparts in the league
Players to be on the coach by 8.15am
Bill Long is hoping the Charlton women’s team can take confidence from their first win of the season last weekend into this Sunday’s clash against Cardiff City.
The Addicks eased to a 7-2 victory against Portsmouth thanks to a Gemma Bryan hat trick and strikes from Gemma Shepherd, Ellie Stenning, Kim Dixson and Kris Manktelow. The triumph moved Charlton out of the relegation zone after what had been a disappointing start, with just one point from their first four games.
After the win, Long said: “It’s nice to do it so comprehensively. We made it hard work at times and when Portsmouth come back to 3-2, you have that thought; ‘oh, here we go’.
“But to be fair to the girls they upped the pace in the last half an hour and we took our chances today, which was very important. I hope that one win will lead to another and hopefully it will give the girls confidence.
“We have a good week so we can train hard and bounce into the Cardiff game next weekend. It would be good to come back from there with a win.”
Attackers Bryan and Shepherd were both rewarded for their fine form after the Pompey match, with the former winning PHSC plc’s Player of the Match award after her second treble in successive weeks. Meanwhile Shepherd was named Player of the Month for August/September for netting an impressive seven goals in her first six Charlton matches following her summer move from West Ham.
And, with Bryan quickly returning from the injury that kept her out of the first four games of the season, Long is looking forward to seeing a fruitful partnership between the pair.
“Having both Gemmas in there gives us that cutting edge and they are pushing each other, which is a really good positive for us,” he added.
“Hopefully come another three or four games into the season they will be a real formidable pair. Gemma Bryan led the line brilliantly for us [against Portsmouth] and took her chances as well.
“I think that was the difference between other games, we actually took our chances and defended a little bit better than we have done generally.”
The criticism of Long’s side before the weekend has been their defending, particularly from set pieces.
Having a week off before taking on Pompey gave them a chance to work on that and they were much improved in that department.
Long said: “Our defending improved and we didn’t seem as shaky as we have been but there were still a few issues with the goals.
“It just shows that it doesn’t matter how hard you work, you still have to put whatever you learn on the training pitch into a game and if you don’t do that it is going to cost you.
“That is something else we still have to continue to work on and get right. We will work on that more and more throughout the week. We will do different drills and different things until we get it right.
“As you can see going forward is not an issue. If we can get that defending right we will be moving up that table.”