Stuart Weston has spoken of the ďamazingĒ season the Charlton womenís reserve team have had as they look to finish it off by winning the FA Womenís Reserve Premier League Division One South.
The Addicks second string face Cardiff City at Sparrows Lane on Sunday (2pm) knowing that a victory means they win the title and a draw means Chelsea must beat Bristol Academy by four goals or more to deny them.
It has been a memorable campaign for the reserves, including two wins over Arsenal (of which one was 6-0), a narrow League Cup penalty shoot-out loss to Bristol and Kent Cup runners up medal.
Weston, who took over four games into the season, praised his team for their “great achievements” and hopes to end the season celebrating.
He said: “We’re up there at the top of the league above Chelsea, Arsenal and Bristol, whose first teams are all in the Super League so it’s a great achievement to be up there.
“If something happened and we came second, OK we wouldn’t have won the league but it would still be an amazing season.
“But I think the girls have it in them – we beat Arsenal last week, we have beaten Chelsea so I don’t see why we can’t beat Cardiff.
“The girls I have playing aren’t scared of anyone and they have the confidence. In the 17 games I have been in charge we have won 14 but I don’t see that as what I’ve done, it’s the effort the girls are putting in.”
Weston took charge of the Addicks’ first team for the first time on Wednesday, after taking over as caretaker manager.
He led them to an impressive 1-1 draw with league leaders Watford and could have taken home all three points had Harley Bennett’s volley not hit the woodwork.
Two young reserve players made their maiden league starts for the first team, Annabel Prior and Kylie Manktelow, and Weston reserved special praise for them.
“I think Annabel was a whisker away from being Player of the Match,” he added. “She bossed it in the middle, didn’t look out of place and played a fantastic ball through for the goal. And Kylie was great as well.
“I said to them when they came in, they were fantastic and even the other girls said ‘you look like you played for the first team all season’ so that’s a great testimony for them.
“[The whole team] should be so proud of themselves. OK, it’s a draw but it’s a good draw. We gave a good account of ourselves and if the ball bounces a foot the other way we go home 2-1 winners.
“We came very close to winning; we hit the crossbar from a great strike from Harley and their goalkeeper pulled off a couple of saves.
“But, equally, Megen Lynch made some amazing saves – game-savers – for us, which got her a deserved Player of the Match.
“The attitude and the effort from every single player there was amazing. It was my first time taking the first team and it was lovely to see that reaction.”