Report by David Brenchley
Page last updated at 12:02AM BST, Wednesday, 17 April 2013
Gemma Shepherd believes the Charlton women’s team’s 2-1 victory over Sunderland on Sunday “put a marker down” to the rest of the FA Women’s Premier League National Division.
Shepherd bagged a brace as the Addicks ended the double reigning champions’ unbeaten league run which stretched back to October 2011.
And, after losing to a Coventry City side that they expected to beat, Shepherd feels a big triumph like this will spur her team mates on to a strong finish to the season.
She said: “We’re all absolutely delighted just to have won in the first place but to beat Sunderland; it puts a huge marker down to the other teams and puts us in a good place to finish the season strongly.
“We probably approached the game feeling like underdogs and that certainly carried over into how we started but once we got the goal we started believing we are actually good enough to beat them.
“I think then the pressure was off and anything after that would have been a bonus. The fact we scored against them was a massive lift.
“I was really impressed with the way, after we conceded the goal, we went for the win and I think we got our just deserts for that.”
Gemma, who was named PHSC plc Player of the Match, broke the deadlock a minute before half time with a lob from the right after a pinpoint Rosie Paye pass out of defence.
After Beth Mead had equalised and hit the crossbar in the second period for the visitors, and with time running out, captain Kim Dixson was brought down in the penalty area. Showing no signs of nerves, Shepherd sent goalkeeper Rachel Laws the wrong way to wrap up a special victory.
“The first one was a bit of a collectors item with my left foot! It was a bit of an intuitive one – it was a good assist from Rosie,” she added after the game.
“It was one of those, a bit like the Watford goal, where time stood still and all the elements came together. I noticed her just a step off her balance and lobbed her.
Commenting on her winning penalty Gemma said “I felt pretty calm really. I take them for the team so I didn’t feel too much pressure. I decided where I was going to put it early and just slotted it in.”
With the FA Women’s Premier League National Division down to the final four fixtures, for most clubs, Charlton are now on the road for the next two weekends, finishing with a pair of home games.
This Sunday they travel to Underhill to face basement side Barnet in a game they will expect to win after what was a disappointing 1-1 home draw with them earlier in the campaign.
“We didn’t give the best account of ourselves the first time around. I think we were the dominant team and then we got a little bit complacent after we got the goal.
“Hopefully this will straighten a few people out mentally and I’m hoping we will go there and get the win – and hopefully it will be a good win.
“It would be nice to put a few goals away and put a few more people on the scoresheet.”