Kit - No Pressure on us in FA Cup
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 7:55PM GMT, Saturday, 21 March 2015
Kit Graham believes the pressure is off the Charlton women’s team this weekend and that they go into their FA Women’s Cup fifth round clash with Coventry City on Sunday as the underdogs.
The two sides vie for a spot in the quarter finals in Bedworth with the knowledge that they could be the only FA Women’s Premier League (FAWPL) in the last eight.
And, despite a 14-match unbeaten run that stretches back to November, Graham believes the Sky Blues have the edge due to previous results between the pair.
Charlton have never beaten their forthcoming opponents in six meetings, with their only goal scored and point earned coming last season.
An 87th minute Eliz Ibrahim opener looked to have secured the win for the Addicks until a Maz Gauntlett equaliser three minutes into injury time meant the sides shared the spoils.
Coventry went on to win the FAWPL South that season and are currently second to Sheffield FC only on goal difference in the Northern Division currently.
Graham believes a win in the west Midlands would be a bonus for Charlton, as they look to move closer to a place in the FA Cup final, to take place at Wembley on 1 August.
She said: “I think we’ve exceeded all expectations already so we’re just playing for ourselves now. We’ve just got to give it our all.
“We’re going in there as the underdogs, not beating them in the last six games, and I don’t think it helps that we don’t play them anymore so we don’t really know much about them.
“I remember them as being strong in the middle of the field, their centre backs are strong as well so it will be an interesting game.
“I think we deserved to beat them last time and they scored a late equaliser but we’ll have to take it as it comes.”
“With the run we’re on at the minute, though, there’s no reason why we can’t win it. We’ve done well to get this draw rather than a Super League team so maybe we can get even further.”
Despite not having played a league game in three months, Charlton have won every match they have played in 2015, including two wins at home to Cardiff City and a victory away to Brighton & Hove Albion. They have also squeezed in a friendly win against Super League side Oxford United, a team Coventry knocked out of the FA Cup.
Their last match at They Valley ended with a 2-0 win against Cardiff City in the FAWPL Cup semi final after the Welsh side defeated Coventry in the previous round.
The Bluebirds were unfortunate not to have opened the scoring last weekend, with plenty of pressure put on an Addicks defence that held out for an impressive clean sheet.
Graham believes that shows a new resilience that may not have been there before, and that will help her side throughout the rest of the campaign.
“We’re on a good run at the moment and on Sunday we proved we can soak up pressure that maybe we weren’t used to doing last season and at the beginning of the season,” she added.
“Before we’ve gone down 2-0 in both the games we’ve played [Cardiff] and as soon as we got to half time and it was still 0-0, we knew we have goals in our team so we could go out there and show them what we’ve got, same with the Brighton game really.”
“I think we’ve only lost three all season. We’ve improved so much from last season, defensively and attacking-wise.”