Gemma - It's great to see the goals shared around
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 1:17AM BST, Friday, 25 September 2015
The Charlton women’s team are not getting complacent, despite a “statement” win over champions Portsmouth maintaining their unbeaten start to the FA Women’s Premier League South season.
The Addicks ran out 4-1 winners at Privett Park thanks to goals from Kit Graham; Jenny Newman; Nikita Whinnett; and the division’s top goalscorer, with seven in six matches, Gemma Shepherd.
At such an early stage in the season there is still a long way to go, with Brighton also unbeaten and Pompey having only lost that one game.
And, with a tricky trip to Cardiff City next up on Sunday, Shepherd knows there is a lot still to be achieved if the club are to hit their objective of promotion to the FA Women’s Super League.
And the Addicks striker says her side are focusing on each game as it comes and keen to avoid mistakes of old.
She said: “Based on last season, I’d have [Cardiff] up there [challenging for promotion]. When they beat us quite considerably at home they put in a really good performance.
“They move the ball quickly, their wingers are very tricky, they play the ball well through midfield so we know we’re up against it.
“But after [the Portsmouth win], everyone’s riding high; we’ve got people coming back from injury, there’s competition so it’s looking positive.
“We just need to keep focused, keep our heads on the task. That season where we were unfortunate not to get our Super League position, we know we were at fault for being a tiny bit complacent.
“I think we thought ‘we’ve kept our squad together so therefore we’re going to win the league’. People said it about us and maybe we started believing it and we didn’t perform for a variety of reasons.
“But this time around, we had a great run last year, we had a brilliant time, we won the cups and that’s great, but we all know what we’re here for. All the staff are working towards it and all the players want to be there.
“All we can do is take one game at a time; we know exactly what’s in front of us.”
The Addicks have had one of the toughest sets of opening fixtures and will have played fellow title challengers Portsmouth, Brighton and Cardiff once and Tottenham twice by the start of October.
With wins or draws against all but Cardiff and Spurs at home (their next two league matches) to their name thus far, going into next month having not lost would be a great platform to build on.
And, after scoring just once in their opening two games of the season, subsequent 6-1 (v Plymouth), 4-1 (v Basildon), 2-1 (away to Spurs) and 4-1 (Portsmouth) have seen a return to their devastating goalscoring ways.
And Shepherd believes the fact everyone is now chipping in getting on the scoresheet, not one players scored more than once in the Plymouth and Pompey matches, will stand them in good stead.
“It was probably a bit of an indifferent start, but since then we’ve got better with every game. We’ve started scoring again; we’re known in the league as the team that scores a lot of goals and we’re starting to live up to that now.
“I think you’re a much healthier team if goals can come from everywhere. That was a strength of Portsmouth last year: other than Ini [Umotong] and Charley [Wilson], who are their recognised strikers, their goals come from everywhere – and that’s become a strength of our team, especially this season.
“Predominantly I like to work hard for the team and I think I do that every game. As long as I’m setting goals up and contributing that means a hell of a lot more to me and always has done than scoring goals.
“Obviously I’m chuffed; there’s no better feeling, especially being a striker, than scoring a goal, but I’d rather share the goals out and us get three points every week than us finish second and me be top scorer.”