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Charlton Athletic Res 0 Chelsea Res 2
Charlton Athletic were able to defy the elements and play their final Premier League Reserve match of the season on Sunday afternoon.
An exceptional playing surface at the club's Sparrows Lane training ground appeared almost unaffected by the prolonged wet spell and allowed the host club and Chelsea Reserves to produce a skilful and enjoyable contest. The rain stopped just before kick off and the match took place under largely sunny skies.
Charlton were not rewarded for their efforts in getting the match played as the Blues came away with a 2-0 win which secured third place in Southern Division One at their hosts' expense, behind champions Arsenal and Bristol Academy.
Chelsea played a similar team to that which won the Surrey FA Cup at the end of March and lifted the Reserves Subsidiary Cup last week. Charlton were Kent Cup finalists themselves and almost certain to finish the highest placed Premier League reserve team in the Southern Division.
Clear cut chances were few in the opening half and it took an exceptional solo goal from Rachel Palmer to separate the teams.The Blues' left back did well to control a lofted pass, a touch taking out the covering defender and a 20-yard strike into the top corner giving Charlton keeper Alex Baker no chance on 15 minutes.
Chelsea's Nicole Matthews and Aishah Bolasi combined well for the latter to shoot just wide whilst Charlton got into promising positions several times but were unable to trouble Chloe Burr.
The visitors continued to create the better chances at the start of the second half, Baker saving smartly from Bolasi and Hannah Blundell hitting the bar. Charlton moved Fliss Gibbons into a more central striking role and immediately looked more threatening. The England Under-19 international combined well with Kit Graham who had a fierce low shot well held by Burr. Gibbons then turned quickly and fired inches over from 25 yards on 78 minutes as Charlton dominated.
Two minutes later, the match was settled by a Blues goal from sub Hayley Fowle, albeit with a slight deflection off a Kim Dixson challenge. Chelsea saw out the match comfortably after this to secure third place in the League and end a very successful season on a high note.
Credit goes to both sets of players for open, attractive football which was helped by a surface which was amazingly good in the circumstances.
Charlton Athletic Res: Alex Baker, Louise Duffy, Alice Singyard, Athena Yennaris, Kim Dixson, Megan Chandler, Charlotte Long, Kit Gaham, Jade Keogh, Kristina Manktelow, Fliss Gibbons. Subs: Megan Mulholland, Kylie Manktelow, Gemma Hyland.
Chelsea Res: Chloe Burr, Hannah Blundell, Rachel Palmer, Steph Anes, Mel Leonida, Chloe Dale, Toni Rigby, Megan Bradley, Nicole Matthews, Aishah Bolasi, Lauren Mills. Subs: Eve McGill, Hayle Fowle, Steph Abbott.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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