Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 11:20PM GMT, Tuesday, 29 January 2013
Manager Bill Long hailed Gemma Shepherd after the strikerís 119th minute wonder goal sunk Watford on Sunday, sending the Charlton womenís team into the FA Womenís Premier League quarter final.
The hard-fought second round tie in Berkhamsted looked destined for a penalty shootout before Shepherd intercepted a clearance from Watford keeper Lauren Davey with one minute remaining.
Steadying herself quickly, the striker proceeded to curl a peach into the top right corner of the goal from all of 35 yards out before being smothered by red shirts in celebration.
And after the game Long heaped praise on his number nine, who has now netted an impressive 23 goals in just 14 matches so far this season.
He said: “It was a fantastic finish. To clip a ball in from 35 or 40 yards and manage to get it in the top corner is absolutely quality.
“But to be fair Gemma is quality. She has something a little bit special about her and I think that just proved it at the end.
“It was a fantastic game. It’s fantastic to be back playing competitive football – and it was competitive with a big ‘C’.
“We were amazed the game was on but the surface was fantastic and all due respect to both sides, they battled really hard. For us, we battled right to the end and we got our deserved result.”
After six weeks on the side-lines due to a combination of the weather and Christmas break this was the Addicks’ first competitive action of 2013.
With such a long wait it was always going to be a test of the girls’ fitness to last a full 90, let alone 120 minutes of gruelling cup action.
The caretaker manager was also pleased with how hard his players worked right until the final whistle blew, before praising the two youngsters
“Some of the girls were going down with cramp and you could see at the death we were struggling,” he added.
“But to be fair to all the girls they rolled their sleeves up, got on with it, got right through the 120 minutes and got their just rewards.
“Young Rosie Paye was different class and Charlotte [Long] was fantastic, I take my hat off to both. They have got through it, didn’t look out of their depth and it’s fantastic for the club for years to come.”
The next round sees a repeat of last season’s quarter final clash, with a trip to Leeds United on the horizon.
Last term the Yorkshire side defeated the Addicks 5-2 at Bayliss Avenue on their way to a runner up berth in the competition.
Long is looking forward to yet another tough challenge and hopes to progress into their second semi- final of this campaign, after doing the same in the London Cup.
“We look forward to a trip away. Leeds are another very good side but, like Watford, they are there to be beaten.
“I am hoping we go to Leeds with a real positive attitude and believe we can do anything now.”