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Women's Football News
Charlton Athletic 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0
Charlton Athletic set up a home tie with FA WSL 2 club Reading FC Women in the FA Women's Cup Fourth Round after a 2-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Thamesmead Sports Club.
Goals immediately before and after the break saw the Addicks through against opponents who have had a difficult season in the FAWPL Northern Division but showed spirit and determination to defy the hosts, who are going well in the Southern Division. Charlton, without suspended top scorer Kit Graham, created a number of good chances, particularly in the second half, but could not find the finishing touches to some fluent approach play.
There was little to choose between the sides in a tight opening quarter of the match. Wolves defended soundly and restricted the hosts to a couple of long range efforts safely held by keeper Natalie Hall. Jade Cross won Wolves their first corner on 17 minutes but Charlton started to look more menacing as the half reached the mid-point.
Charley Clifford and Gemma Shepherd were at the heart of Charlton's most dangerous moments, Clifford firing just over and taking a corner from which Shepherd had a header cleared off the line on 23 minutes. Hall made a fine save low to her left after Shepherd had found space in front of goal. Sam Pittuck broke clear on the right and centred for Emma Harrison to lay off and Kim Dixson fired just over the bar on 33 minutes and the Addicks skipper then fired a free kick inches over from 30 yards.
Wolves had shown little going forward till the 40 minute mark but then had a real chance to take the lead. Charlotte Jones did really well to shake off two defenders and close in on Megen Lynch's goal but a fine saving tackle denied her. From the corner, a Charlton miscued clearance flew inches wide of goal.
Wolves continued to press but were caught out by a sucker punch counter to concede. A long Lynch clearance was met by an underhit backpass which Pittuck chased down. Hall made a fine save in a one-on-one but the ball fell loose for Pittuck roll a shot just beyond the Wolves' keeper's attempt to clear.
Disappointment at conceding after their best spell of the match was compounded within 90 seconds of the restart. Clifford was alert to win a challenge for a bouncing ball to the right of goal and drove a precise low finish beyond Hall from ten yards. Charlton continued to press and Katie Flack crossed from the right for Harrison to test Hall.
Jen Anslow provided a threat for the visitors with good set piece delivery and from one corner, Jenny Kilomeko rose high to drift a header just wide whilst Lynch dealt well with two other crosses.
The better chances continued to fall to Charlton as the half developed. Shepherd was denied in the act of shooting by fine tackle by Zoe Woodcock whilst two Charlton subs combined when Stef Simmons crossed invitingly for Amy Howlett to put a first time effort just wide.
Whlie Charlton were comfortable and solid in defence, any late strike from Wolves could have led to a tense finale. Despite their best efforts, the visitors could not break down the Charlton rearguard and it was Shepherd, then Pittuck who went very close to extending the lead in the final minutes, again being denied by good defence from the visiting back four and keeper.
Charlton will hope that the visit of the Royals will set up a clash as good as the last FA Cup meeting between the two, which was settled in their favour by a penalty shootout after a 2-2 draw in February 2011. Wolves will take heart from a committed and brave effort which will hopefully lead to better days in their battle to retain Northern Division status.
Charlton Athletic: Megen Lynch, Katie Flack, Kim Dixson, Rosie Paye, Grace Coombs, Charley Clifford, Sam Pittuck, Gemma Shepherd, Jordan Butler, Emma Harrison, Ruby Southgate. Subs: Amy Howlett, Katie Hardaker, Stef Simmons.
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Natalie Hall, Emma Cross, Zoe Woodcock, Natalie Widdal, Jade Cross, Dominique Luke, Anna Perks, Jenny ,Kilomeko Charlotte Jones, Natalie Dean, Jen Anslow. Subs: Jordan Pendleton, Nicole Butler, Emily North.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Natalie Hall initially saves from Sam Pittuck but the ricochet falls for the Charlton striker to score
(middle) Zoe Woodcock is challenged by Charley Clifford
(bottom) Jade Cross takes on Jordan Butler
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