Paul's Palace Delight
Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 4:31PM GMT, Monday, 05 December 2016
Paul McDonagh was delighted with the ‘fight and desire’ shown by the Charlton women’s team on Sunday as they overturned a one-goal deficit to defeat local rivals Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in the SSE FA Women’s Cup first round
The Addicks went into the final quarter of an hour in front of a bumper crowd of 500+ 1-0 down, but as their hosts wilted from their high-tempo gameplan goals from Rosey Sullivan and Charley Clifford lifted the sizeable away support and set up a second round tie with Portsmouth at Sporting Club Thamesmead on Sunday 8 January.
And, despite not seeing his side at their best due to Palace’s relentless first-half pressure, McDonagh was happy to progress by any means necessary.
After the match, he said the match turned out exactly as he and assistant manager Riteesh Mishra predicted. “We know their style of play,” he explained. “They don’t like any teams to play against them; they’ll pressure you and try to stop you playing and to be fair to them in the first half they did.
“However, it’s tough to keep that tempo of pressing going for the whole 90 minutes and we knew that we just had to keep our shape, keep trying to do the right things and eventually they would run out of steam and we would be able to get on top of the game and I thought that was exactly what happened in the second half.
“I’d like to [have played] better football but we knew that their style was to stop us playing and it was going to be scrappy. It doesn’t matter how we got through, we got through and it was a big occasion for everyone involved.
“And it was great to get the win at such a big stadium like this and to get through to the next round – it means a bit of money as well, which is good for the club.”
The winning goal came at the opportune time, from a player in form – Clifford struck with just one minute of normal time to be played, slamming home from a Sullivan free kick. It was the midfielder’s fourth goal in the previous three matches and McDonagh paid tribute to someone he believes can be a ’10 assists and 10 goals a season’ player.
“We’re trying to give her a role where she gets into better opportunities and I’m delighted for Charley – she worked hard and we just want to keep getting her in those good positions.”
This weekend brings a different challenge, as Charlton continue in cup mode and welcome FA Women’s Premier League (FAWPL) North side West Bromwich Albion to Thamesmead for the FAWPL Cup quarter final.
Albion won the FAWPL North last term before losing out in the promotion play off to Brighton, but have had an indifferent start to this term and sit second from bottom. A 4-1 FA Cup win over big-spenders Fylde, though, shows they will be no pushovers.
McDonagh acknowledges that fact, but, with Charlton on an eight-match winning streak and unbeaten in 10, says his side are determined to continue their fine run of recent form.
“The girls want to win everything. We’re on a nice winning run and we don’t really want it to stop,” he said.
“Getting through to the next round of every cup is important. We’ve had a little look at West Brom, so we’ve got a bit of information on them. We’ll be taking that as seriously as we did yesterday – we want to win every game.
“The run we’re on, everyone would agree that winning is a habit and we want to keep winning. Playing well is great but getting results is better so we’ll be looking to push through and keep the run going regardless of whether it’s a cup or league game.”