Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 7:35PM BST, Friday, 27 April 2012
Bill Long believes the experience of playing in the Kent Cup final will benefit his young team despite their 2-0 loss to Gillingham last week.
The Charlton women’s reserves went down to the Gills first team in Sevenoaks on Thursday but bounced back well at the weekend to hammer Brighton 5-1 in the league.
The average age of the Addicks squad for the Kent Cup game was a fraction under 20 and contained 16-year-olds Charlotte Long, Alice Singyard and Kit Graham.
They were playing older and more seasoned opponents and (Bill) Long believes that will benefit the girls in their future footballing careers.
He said: “On reflection, I had six young ladies in the side that can still play under 17 football and Gillingham put their first team out.
“For those younger players, it will only enhance their ability to understand what goes on when you move up to senior level, playing senior sides.
“The other thing is losing a cup final leaves a nasty taste in your mouth so you won’t want to lose again. Hopefully that will give them that burning desire to go on and win it next time.”
Charlton had plenty of chances to pull themselves back into the game, with Gemma Bryan working as hard as ever up front on her own, and missed a penalty with seven minutes of the game to play.
Long was happy with the performance, adding: “I was pleased with performances generally. The girls dug in and they tried their damndest to win the game so we can’t ask for more than that.
“You talk about a penalty miss and it can be a game changing thing, at 2-1 you are right back in it. We missed chances but that is just football. There are a lot of positives to take away.
“The younger players held their own. They didn’t look out of it, they competed, battled, worked hard and did everything I could have asked of them.”
In addition to the cup final to the reserves’ season as a whole, which finishes on Sunday against Chelsea at Sparrows Lane, Long is pleased with how successful his team has been.
He added: “This season has been a good season for us. We have been to a semi final of one cup, lost in a final and if we can get a top three or four finish then we have had a really good season.”