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Women's Football News
Charlton Athletic 3 Cardiff City Ladies 2 (after extra time)
Charlton Athletic progressed to the Third Round of the FA Women's Cup with a remarkable comeback victory over fellow Premier League Southern Division title chasers Cardiff City at Thamesmead Sports Club.
Trailing by two goals just after the hour mark, Charlton levelled with seven minutes remaining then clinched the tie with a Kim Dixson penalty early in the second period of extra time. A player from each team was sent off in a highly competitive and intense encounter where the visitors dominated the first hour with excellent football but were pegged back by display of real determination from the hosts.
Cardiff came flying out of the blocks and forced home keeper Megen Lynch into two fine saves in the opening two minutes, turning away a Cori Williams shot then blocking a Michelle Green effort at her near post. In between these chances Stef Simmons had cleared a miscued clearance off the line in a hectic opening.
Charlton did not threaten till the 22nd minute when an Emma Harrison cross flew across Alesha McGlynn's goal area. Cardiff were far more dangerous, Kelly Aldridge bursting clear, only to be denied by a fine tackle from Grace Coombs. However, the opener was not long delayed, Laura Williams finding a perfect cross from the left for Cori Williams to guide a downward header past Lynch on 31 minutes.
Naomi Clipston headed over from a right wing cross and sub Shanelle Edwards netted right on the half time whistle from an offside position as Cardiff ended the half as strongly as they had started it.
Little changed on the resumption as the lively visiting attackers continued to find dangerous positions in front of Lynch's goal. Clipston had a shot saved, Edwards' effort from close range was turned away by Lynch and despite some increased threat at the other end from Kit Graham and Harrison, it was Aldridge who doubled the Bluebirds' lead with a fine right foot shot across the keeper when sent clear of the defence just after the hour.
Charlton needed a quick response to gain a foothold in the match and Dixson gave them just that, latching on to a dropping ball to drive a fine finish past McGlynn on 66 minutes. Encouraged by this, the hosts started to win more of the challenges in midfield to give Harrison and Amy Howlett in wide areas more of the ball. Even so, Cardiff continued to threaten, Cori Williams driving a dangerous ball across the six yard box just before Charlton drew level on 83 minutes, a right wing corner being bundled home off a defender at the far post.
Edwards had a great chance to win the match for Cardiff but, having outpaced the defence, she sent her shot just wide of goal under pressure from the advancing Lynch and an absorbing battle ended all square. Charlton's Charley Clifford was dismissed early on in extra time and both sides had claims for penalties turned down in the first period.
The crucial moment came when Graham and Cardiff defender Kayleigh Green contested a bouncing ball in the area. Both players went down and the referee pointed to the spot on 108 minutes. Dixson converted the penalty with an emphatic finish high to McGlynn's right to complete the turnaround.
Cardiff exerted considerable pressure, despite going down to ten after Chloe Tucker was dismissed, as the tie reached towards 120 minutes. Lynch made another good save from Edwards and the final chance came with a free kick on the edge of the area. Charlton were delighted when Lauren Townsend's effort flew over the bar, followed by the final whistle.
The teams had provided an enthralling match for the spectators but it was the home fans who were the happier after Charlton found the edge they needed to battle back and overcome their talented visitors to take their place in Monday's draw. Skipper Kim Dixson's two goals and overall leadership were especially praiseworthy in only her second match back after an absence of over a year through injury.
Charlton Athletic: Megen Lynch, Katie Flack, Stef Simmons, Kim Dixson, Rosie Paye, Grace Coombs, Charley Clifford, Sam Pittuck, Kit Graham, Amy Howlett, Emma Harrison. Subs: Katie Hardaker, Alex Baker, Gemma Shepherd, Ruby Southgate.
Cardiff City Ladies: Alesha McGlynn, Abbie Britton, Lauren Townsend, Kayleigh Green, Laura Williams, Kelly Isaac, Michelle Green, Bethan Lloyd, Naomi Clipston, Cori Williams, Kelly Aldridge. Subs: Shanelle Edwards, Zoe Atkins, Chloe Tucker.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk
(top) Cori Williams under pressure from Charley Clifford
(middle) Abbie Britton tries to hold off Kit Graham
(bottom) Kayleigh Green shields the ball from Emma Harrison
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