Gemma aiming for Ryman Success
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 2:47PM BST, Wednesday, 15 April 2015
The Charlton women’s team go into their first cup final of the season against Tottenham Hotspur at Ware FC on Thursday (ko 730pm) full of confidence
Although the Addicks suffered their first defeat in all competitions since early November on Sunday, their performance against FA Women’s Super League side Everton to lose only on penalties has given the side renewed confidence.
Charlton will also be reminded of the league meeting between them and Spurs at the same venue, where the North Londoners came out on top 5-2, so the Ryman Cup final will be the perfect opportunity to put that record right.
And striker Gemma Shepherd says she is ‘quietly confident’ her side will pick up their first silverware of the season, with the Capital Cup against West Ham United and the FA Women’s Premier League Cup against Sheffield FC to come in May.
“Because of what happened when we played Tottenham in the league it’s got that added spice to it; that’s something we definitely want to address tonight,” Shepherd said, adding: “We’ve been galvanised by recent performances and I’m quietly confident.
“You don’t want to go out and say ‘yeah, we’re definitely going to win’ and be complacent but I think if we do what we can do and what we have been doing recently then I think we should win the game.
“I think [playing at Tottenham’s home ground will have an effect] in terms of the surface because I don’t think it’s fantastic but I think in some respects it will play into our hands because of the occasion that it is.”
Those ‘galvanising’ performances includes the Everton loss, despite the defeat ending any hopes Charlton had of competing in the first ever FA Women’s Cup final at Wembley.
With some bookmakers giving odds on a Charlton win at 6/1 and the Addicks going 1-0 down after 87 minutes, the team’s character to take the Toffees all the way after a 88th minute Nikita Whinnett equaliser encouraged all, including Shepherd.
And the Charlton attacker believes it showed they can compete in the higher level, despite having just an outside chance of promotion this season.
She added: “I think the overriding emotion at the end [of the Everton game] was everyone was just proud of the performance we put in: we went toe-to-toe with them and it just served to show that we can compete at that level.
“I know from a couple of seasons ago playing in the National Division how hard it is to compete with those sorts of teams but we beat teams like Sunderland and Watford so we know we can do it. It’s one thing saying it; it’s another thing doing it and we certainly showed that.
“It’s different doing it week in, week out as opposed to a cup game but if you take into account that they’ve just come to the end of their pre-season in peak condition and we’ve been absolutely battered this month with [eight games in April] it’s an even greater achievement.”