Katie looking to keep the momentum going
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 11:13PM BST, Thursday, 14 September 2017
It had been a relatively comfortable start to the 2017/18 FA Women’s Premier League season for the Charlton women’s team. Convincing 6-1 and 11-0 wins against Lewes and Swindon Town respectively sandwiched a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Gillingham. Three wins in three – all good so far.
It’s been a good, positive start and we need to keep that momentum going.
Until Sunday’s clash with Portsmouth, also yet to lose, in Havant, the women’s team’s defence had barely been tested, save the two goals conceded.
But, as predicted, Pompey was a sterner test – made all the more difficult by centre back Grace Coombs’ early red card that ensured her side would play at least 80 minutes with 10 players.
But a resolute defensive performance followed to leave Charlton going into second-half stoppage time of a then-goalless game with an eye firmly trained on a crucial away point.
That was until the ever-prolific Kit Graham popped up with a 93rd minute winner, capitalising on some sloppy defending to round keeper Michelle Beazley and slam home. The remaining three minutes were seen out and Charlton remain in second place in the FAWPL South on goal difference only.
It was certainly a hard-fought three points, goalkeeper Katie Startup in particular impressing with a penalty save and stunning point-blank stop from Shannon Albuery when the midfielder looked certain to score. The young stopper dealt with a plethora of crosses with ease.
And Startup, who is currently on a training camp with the England under 19 squad, spoke after the match of the character shown by her side. “It’s a really good result for us,” she said.
“Going down to 10 men so early is a test of character and it really did feel like we were playing against that extra man. We had a plan when we came here and we had to adapt that but everyone dug deep and it was a really good team performance.
“We had taken a lot of pressure defensively so getting that break, we knew if we were patient something would come and luckily Kit popped up and did it for us.”
It was a big win for Charlton and keeps their 100% start to the campaign going. And Startup & co will be hoping to take the momentum from that run into this weekend when they host struggling Queens Park Rangers at Sporting Club Thamesmead.
“At the end of the day it’s about grinding out results when it’s hard and the fact that we did that [against Portsmouth] is a big testament for us. It’s been a good, positive start and we need to keep that momentum going.
“We’ve had two long away days so it will be nice to get back to Thamesmead on familiar turf, even though it will only be the second time I’ve played there. The main focus is onto the next game now. [Portsmouth] is done, we’ll learn from it what we need to and now the focus is on QPR.”