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Charlton Athletic 1 Blackburn Rovers 5
Blackburn Rovers gave a five star show to move into the quarter finals of the F.A.Women's Cup at Thamesmead, defeating hosts Charlton Athletic 5-1.
The Northern Division side hit their National Division opponents with four goals in less than ten minutes just after the break, resisted a spirited attempt to mount a miracle comeback from the Addicks and rounded of a fine afternoon's work with a superb Katie Anderton strike in stoppage time.
Charlton had been warned about Rovers' threat almost from the first whistle, the visitors having spurned two fine chances before Charlton even mounted their first proper attack. Pressing high up the pitch, repeatedly winning the ball close to the Charlton area, Blackburn's Beth Donaghue set up an open goal sliced wide by Nic Forster, then Danielle Sheen shot wide from close range. Further saves from Megen Lynch racing from her goal to smother, then head a dangerous through ball clear, showed the extent of Rovers' superiority in the first twenty minutes.
The hosts played their way back into the match firstly by using the pace, strength and control of Gemma Bryan to gain territorial advantage, then by establishing some control in midfield to force Rovers deeper and get wingers Jenny Newman and Fliss Gibbons into the game. Bryan forced couple of corners, the second of which nearly led to the opener, as the ball beat keeper Krystal Parker but was cleared off the line.
At the break both side could claim to have had good spells and there was no way of predicting the carnage to follow. On 48 minutes, not for the first time, Charlton were caught in possession from a throw out and skipper Hannah Forster cleverly lobbed Lynch from 20 yards. Nic Forster then added a stunning second from a wide angle, the cross shot hitting the far post before going in.
Donaghue got away from her marker on the right and fizzed a low centre from which Lynch made two excellent point blank saves before Hannah Forster calmly chipped the ball home. Three goals in five minutes became four in eight when Sheen latched onto a poor back pass and clipped the ball past the advancing Lynch.
With the match seemingly gone, Charlton, inspired by the introduction of Kit Graham and positional changes, suddenly looked dangerous. Bryan shot inches over, Graham forced an acrobatic parry by Parker and Emma Beckett struck the underside of the bar from a 25-yard free kick in a hectic five minute spell around the 65th minute. Blackburn still looked menacing on the break, but Bryan gave the hosts some hope on 77 minutes with a 15-yard drive when played in by Gibbons. Despite some pressure and half chances, Charlton were well held by an impressive back four display and commanding work from Northern Ireland international keeper Parker.
Blackburn's joy was complete when a clever corner routine released Anderton on the right edge of the box and a first time drive on the run from 20 yards whistled into the net for the Rovers' fifth.
To an extent, the margin of the result was slightly harsh on Charlton, but Blackburn were totally clinical after the break and defended their lead well with a great team performance. Charlton now only have the Premier League Cup to aim for to go with a very pleasing League position. Rovers look a good test for any quarter final opponent and will fancy a late tilt at regaining the National Division status they lost so narrowly on the last day of last season.
Charlton Athletic: Megen Lynch, Toni Alden, Kim Dixson, Jordan Butler, Cori Daniels, Sinead Boyer, Charley Clifford, Jenny Newman, Fliss Gibbons, Gemma Bryan, Emma Beckett. Subs: Ellie Bailes, Kit Graham, Jade Keogh.
Blackburn Rovers: Krystal Parker, Lizzie Ince, Hannah Forster, Danielle Cox, Gail Pennington, Carmel Bennett, Nic Forster, Danielle Sheen, Katie Anderton, Beth Donaghue, Kim Turner. Subs: Hannah Griffiths, Keeleigh Savage, Rachel Foxley, Gemma Jackson.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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