Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 8:01PM GMT, Thursday, 14 March 2013
Stuart Weston hopes the Charlton women’s reserve team can bounce back from their heart-breaking League Cup semi-final penalty shoot out loss when they play West Ham on Sunday.
The Addicks came agonisingly close to a second final of the season, having lead for 30 minutes of the tie, but were defeated 3-1 in a shoot out by Bristol Academy.
Despite the loss, Weston was proud of his players’ performance and was boosted by league results that saw Chelsea draw 1-1 with Colchester and Arsenal lose 1-0 to Cardiff City.
That all means, league-wise, Charlton are third; two points behind Arsenal with a game in hand and four points behind Chelsea with two games in hand - giving them the advantage in the title race.
Weston said: “It’s a hard one to take but I said to the girls they played well during the game, we’ve lost it to a poor decision and not getting decisions ourselves.
“I said to the girls that they all need to get their heads up, especially the ones who took penalties – they stepped up and did it and it’s a hard, nerve-wracking thing to do.
“I said to them to hold their heads up high. We played well, we battled for the whole game against a very good side.
“We are in one final, got to another semi-final and we have a chance of winning the league. We need to be proud of ourselves and not get too disheartened so let’s put this behind us and move on.
“We have to take one game at a time. We just want to get as many points as we can on the board as we are now chasing Chelsea and Arsenal but we still have to play Arsenal again.”
Another positive is the way his cobbled-together side dealt with an FA Women’s Super League second string – only failing to beat them thanks to a questionable penalty decision.
He reserved praise for his unfamiliar central defensive partnership of Harley Bennett and Alice Singyard, a midfielder and full-back respectively, who coped well with Academy’s threat – the former even getting on the scoresheet with a bullet header.
“With the changes we have had to make through injuries and players moving up to the first team we have played Harley at centre-back and, for me, she was the best player on the field,” he added.
“Obviously she popped up with the goal but she was good at the back and was strong. And Alice usually plays at full-back and she did a good job in the middle.”