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Lewes 2 Charlton Athletic 1
Lewes claimed their first win of the season with a 2-1 success over Charlton Athletic at the Rookettes' Dripping Pan home.
Having fallen behind early in the seond half, Lewes mounted a stirring comeback to clinch the points. A well contested and enjoyable encounter ended with the home team under pressure but they were able to see out the match for a hard earned victory in their home opener.
Lewes had gone extremely close in the first minute, Catherine O'Hagan beating a hesitant defence but lobbing wide. Jenny Newman went equally close for the visitors when a corner was only half cleared on four minutes. Naomi Cole, on her return to Lewes, was set up by a mishit clearance but lobbed a shot wide of Megen Lynch's goal on 10 minutes.
Charlton had a dominant spell midway through the half. After Katie McIntyre had denied Gemma Shepherd with a fine tackle, the ball fell to Emily Harrison whose shot was beaten away by Michelle Beazley in the home goal. Kylie Manktelow went close after another flowing move as the visitors looked dangerous.
O'Hagan was always a threat to the Charlton goal and she rounded Lynch when sent clear on the half hour, but ran out of room to turn the ball home under pressure from Harley Bennett. Rosie Paye made a good clearance to deny Cole who later sent a 35 yard effort on to the roof of the net. The final effort of an even half fell to Charlton's Katie Flack, forcing a save from Beazley.
Charlton were denied in the opening minute of the second half when Shepherd robbed McIntyre and had a free run on goal. Beazley rescued the situation with an excellent diving save from the prolific striker's low shot. There was nothing she could do. however, when Kit Graham met Newman's right wing cross with a powerful header from six yards in the 53rd minute to give Charlton the lead.
Cole was instrumental in the Lewes response. She hit the bar with an instinctive 35-yard chip on the hour, then scored the equalizer. O'Hagan had been denied by Lynch, after the keeper had misplaced a clearance but, within a minute, the lively Rookettes attacker had set up Cole for a cool chipped finish to level the score.
Sub Kelly McCullock added to the Lewes attacking threat and went close when set up by O'Hagan. Cole then won a penalty when she was challenged by Lynch, but the Charlton keeper saved Cole's spot kick low to her right on 74 minutes.
However, the home side were not to be denied. O'Hagan once again found space on the edge of the area on 84 minutes and this time her lobbed finish was perfect for the winning goal. Charlton poured forward in the final minutes but were denied by brave defending and another fine save by player of the match Beazley in added time.
Lewes will no doubt take satisfaction from defeating a team which played in a higher league last season and to have come back from conceding the opener to do so. Charlton played some fluent attacking football but were guilty of a number of defensive lapses which gave Lewes scoring opportunities.
Lewes: Michelle Beazley, Katie McIntyre, Steph Carter, Rachel Palmer, Juliette Denny, Kelly Newton, Andreia Veiga, Katie Baker, Naomi Cole, Catherine O'Hagan, Nikki Payne. Subs: Kelly McCullock, Sian Heather, Olivia Fielder, Kirstie Spice, Millie Jones.
Charlton Athletic: Megen Lynch, Katie Flack, Stef Simmons, Kim Dixson, Rosie Paye, Harley Bennett, Emma Harrison, Kit Graham, Jenny Newman, Gemma Shepherd, Kylie Manktelow. Subs: Clare Rogers, Katie Hardaker, Kylie Manktelow, Louise Duffy, Sam Pittuck.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Katie Baker in pursuit of Kit Graham
(middle) Michelle Beazley clears away from Kelly Newton and Kit Graham
(bottom) Katie Baker holds off Jenny Newman
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