Charlton Athletic Football Club Women
Paul reflects on Coventry opener
Paul reflects on Coventry opener
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 7:59PM BST, Thursday, 23 August 2012
Paul Mortimer feels the Charlton women’s team deserved more from their season opener against Coventry City on Sunday.

A brace from striker Courtney Sweetman-Kirk downed the Addicks despite them dominating large spells of the contest, particularly at the start of the second half.

But technical director Mortimer was encouraged with the performance, saying: “I think we deserved something out of the game.

“We had a lot of possession without hurting them enough and we kept the ball well in spells. We needed a little bit more devilment in the final third but we got up there enough times.

“They were sharp up front but only really had one threat [Sweetman-Kirk] and we didn’t cope with it as well as we should have done. We gave away two poor goals, which were self-inflicted although the second one for me was offside.”

With a number of new signings on show there was always going to be a bedding in period but Mortimer had praise for Gemma Shepherd, who joined from West Ham this summer and was named PHSC plc Player of the Match on her debut.

“There were some decent performances out there,” he added. “There were some first day nerves, there was a bit of wilting physically but the girls stood up well.

“Gemma Shepherd played well up front but we isolated her – we didn’t get up there enough. I don’t think we showed enough desire to go and join her, to get on the end of things, to score goals.”

Sweetman-Kirk pounced on a defensive mistake to lob Kelly Cooper for the first goal after 26 minutes, spurring Charlton on to try and find an equaliser.

Charley Clifford went close a couple of times while Shepherd split defender and goalkeeper but her shot rolled agonisingly wide of the far post.

The extra effort of the visitors, combined with the 30 degree heat, saw fatigue set in and, shortly after hitting the crossbar, Sweetman-Kirk doubled the Sky Blues’ advantage with three minutes remaining.

Mortimer said: “We did wilt physically because we put so much energy in the first 15-20 minutes of the second half into scoring and in the end they had a couple of chances.

“Having played myself I understand the first day nerves, especially as it was 300 degrees out there. The heat plays a huge difference, adding to the nerves.

“Nervous energy burns very quickly so you do fatigue quickly. I warned the girls it was going to get tough, that is about keeping the ball and controlling the tempo of the game, which in spells we did.”

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