Parsons reflects on treble winning season
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 5:34PM UTC, Monday, 08 June 2015
Jeremy Parsons believes a successful treble-winning season shows the Charlton women’s team are capable of challenging at a higher level.
Manager Parsons says his side eclipsed all expectations set at the beginning of the season, as they captured the FA Women’s Premier League (FAWPL), Ryman and Capital Cups.
The Addicks added a third-place finish in the FAWPL South to that, an improvement on last season’s fifth, and had an impressive run to the FA Women’s Cup quarter finals, taking FA Women’s Super League (FAWSL) 2 side Everton all the way to a penalty shootout before succumbing.
And, speaking at the club’s awards night on Friday, Parsons revealed he hopes his side can now push on and challenge for the FAWPL South title and promotion to the FAWSL in 2015/16.
He said: "What we did at the beginning of the season was set the girls a target. The year before we finished fifth; the main target was to finish higher. Obviously they achieved that and could have done a little bit better if we’d started well.
“The girls have shown this season that they can compete at the top level, definitely. I think it’s about them believing in themselves and when they cast their minds back on what they have actually achieved this year, I hope that belief will be there from the start of [next] season.
“My challenge for the next season is to try and replicate what we’ve done this year. It’s going to be a big ask but we’re going to go 100% and give it a go.
“For me [the Everton match] was a massive learning curve, it showed that, as a club and the players, we can compete at that level. It would be nice for us to play [against teams] like that every week; it’s something for us to strive for.
“We’re there or thereabouts; the girls just need to believe in themselves and hopefully good things will happen.”
In the end, a challenge for the FAWPL South never really materialised, thanks to an indifferent first half of the season, with Charlton finishing eight points behind eventual champions Portsmouth.
Heavy defeats to Tottenham (5-2) and Brighton (5-1), combined with 3-3 draws against Cardiff and West Ham meant an almost-unbeaten 2015 was in vain.
However, the Addicks did find solace in the many cup competitions they entered and, although it was far from plain sailing, ended the season with a record haul of three trophies.
First came a Ryman Cup final against Spurs, who had already bested Charlton as aforementioned. A first-half Kit Graham strike looked to have won the tie for her side, but their North London opponents hit back with seconds remaining to force extra time.
Graham, who top scored for Charlton with 54 goals in all competitions, added a second to give them their first silverware of the season.
That was followed by the club's first FAWPL Cup triumph since 2006, as they overcame Sheffield FC on penalties following a goalless draw, with Sam Pittuck netting the winning spot kick.
Finally, they saved their most impressive performance until last, as goals from Charley Clifford (2), Amy Howlett, Kit Graham and Emma Harrison saw them overwhelm West Ham and run out 5-0 winners in the Capital Cup showpiece at Harrow Borough.
Parsons believes winning the first helped breed confidence within his side as they ended the season in impressive fashion.
"Once the first trophy was won, which was another hard game against Tottenham, the momentum from there led us onto the other two," he added.
"Against Sheffield I felt in 90 minutes we created enough chances to win, but once you get into a winning momentum with the first one, the timing of the second one came right.
"[Against West Ham the players] didn’t take their foot off the gas; from the minute we started the game they were completely at West Ham and West Ham just couldn’t handle the style of play we had on that night.
"We scored some good goals that night and at 2-0 up at half time I think the game was pretty much in our favour and it was a case of just pushing on again from there."