Mishra delighted with opening result
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 10:46AM BST, Tuesday, 22 August 2017
The Charlton women’s team delighted head coach Riteesh Mishra after their 6-1 victory over Lewes Women to start their 2017/18 FA Women’s Premier League (FAWPL) South campaign. However, the boss admits there’s still plenty to work on, which he sees as a good thing.
“As positive as the Lewes game was, we are only one game in. Now we’ve got to take this confidence into Gillingham, which will be an equally tough test for us.
It was always going to be a tough start to the season against a team that has improved over the summer months, and so it proved as the Sussex side went a goal up after just seven minutes.
And Mishra admitted he thought his players “started a little nervy”, which “could have been expected given it was the first game back”. “We made a mistake for the goal, but in truth we made four or five similar mistakes in the opening 15-20 minutes which we could have equally been punished for,” he said.
Mishra added that his side were going into the unknown a little, as both sides had made impressive reinforcements in the off season, and, of course, Lewes “always give us a tough test”. In truth, though, Lewes’ starting line up featured just one player that wasn’t in the squad the last time the two sides met.
And after the initial new-season nerves had evaporated, the Addicks never looked back. The impressive Ellie Dorey rampaged down the left wing, cutting in at will and causing Lewes’ defence all manner of problems.
It was the former Brighton player, Mishra’s latest new signing, whose cross was converted by Charlotte Lee for the equaliser. While there was a large element of fortune about Charlton’s second goal as Charley Clifford’s long-range stunner ricocheted off the crossbar and struck the unlucky Lauren Dolbear to trickle in, the midfielder’s strike was out of the top drawer.
Dorey herself got a deserved goal just before half time to give her side a cushion at the halfway stage before substitute Kit Graham bagged a quickfire brace after the interval – not a bad replacement to have up your sleeve. Charlotte Gurr, also a debutant, put the gloss on the result in injury time and sent players, coaches and fans alike home happy.
“The important thing was to get off to a winning start,” Mishra added, “but some of the football we played was good also. I was pleased that we didn't drop our heads [after going a goal down] and we grew in to the game. Once we got one back, I felt like we had good control of the game.
“Before Christmas time, I think we'd have allowed a team to go two or three goals ahead after conceding early, but we are starting to show that we can demand more of each other, and not get phased which is going to be important this year, especially against the tough teams.
“My overall feeling is we look a lot more assured and confident on the ball. Significantly, though, we still have a lot to improve on and can do much, much better in all aspects, which I see as a good thing. As a group, we know that but we've set a brilliant foundation to now improve on.”
Next up is a local derby, with plenty of interest on both sides. Charlton travel to Gillingham FC Priestfield Stadium, Redfern Avenue, Gillingham ME7 4DD to take on Gillingham, who were also victorious on the opening day, albeit a less convincing win over West Ham thanks to a last minute Kallie Balfour winner.
And Mishra is looking forward to that, with a number of players in his squad having played for Gills, including newbies Katie Startup and Gurr; and vice versa.
Keeping the momentum and confidence up is important, he says. “As positive as the Lewes game was, we are only one game in. Now we’ve got to take this confidence into Gillingham, which will be an equally tough test for us.
“They have some strengths that we need to be mindful of, and also they’re on the back of a great campaign last year, and a good result against West Ham in their opener so it won't be easy.”