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Charlton Athletic 6 Lewes 1
Charlton Athletic started their FAWPL Southern Division campaign with a sparkling 6-1 win over Lewes at Sporting Club Thamesmead.
Three goals in each half saw off the Rookettes, who had taken the lead and created several more opportunities in a thrilling first half. Ultimately the variety and invention of the home team play, with several fine debut performances, created enough chances for a convincing win.
Lewes started very well and were able to disrupt Charlton's attempts to play out from the back. Katie McIntyre opened the scoring after winning possession then quickly lofting a 25-yard lob over keeper Katie Startup and in off the underside of the bar. Charlotte Lee went close to levelling with a drive just over but Startup was twice forced into good saves from Amy Taylor after Lewes had again won the ball deep in Charlton territory.
Charlton's equaliser on 24 minutes was set up by Ellie Dorey's run and perfect low cross, turned home from close range by Lee. Back came Lewes with McIntyre hitting a low shot which hit the inside of the post and rolled across goal before Grace Coombs cleared for a corner.
Two goals in four minutes late in the half turned the contest in Charlton's favour. Charley Clifford struck a 25-yard effort on 38 minutes which rebounded down off the bar to hit keeper Lauren Dolbear and drop into the net. Soon after, Charlotte Gurr chipped a pass to release Dorey who finished past the advancing keeper. Dolbear then prevented further damage with a fine tip over from a Lee shot as Charlton finished the half well on top.
The second half was initially rather more cautious, with both teams more solid in defence. The arrival of prolific goalscorer Kit Graham off the bench just after the hour changed the game again. A neat Graham finish after outpacing the defence to a Chloe Brunton-Wilde through pass brought the fourth and the fifth was a gem. Keeper Startup played a neat pass under pressure from her area out to Kim Dixson, one touch interchanges between Gurr, Clifford and Dixson then released Graham, who drove home a precise low effort from distance into the bottom right corner.
Gurr marked her Charlton debut with the sixth in the 89th minute, just beating the advancing keeper to a right wing cross. Lewes had continued to test the Charlton defence at times, Taylor going close and Georgia Bridges drawing another good save from Startup , but by then the outcome was clear.
The merging of established players and new blood for Charlton looked an exciting mix at this early stage of the campaign. Lewes showed promising signs as well at times but will hope to tighten their defence in the coming matches.
Katie Startup, Katie Flack, Chloe Brunton-Wilde, Kim Dixson, Grace Coombs, Ellie Dorey, Charley Clifford, Charlotte Gurr, Nicole Pepper, Charlotte Lee, Hope Nash. Subs: Kit Graham, Katie Bottom, Rosey Sullivan, Ruby Southgate, Bethany Weller.
Lauren Dolbear, Rachel Palmer, Rebecca Thompson-Agbro, Kelly Newton, Katie McIntyre, Leeta Rutherford, Georgia Bridges, Danielle Lane, Rebecca Carter, Amy Taylor, Sian Heather. Subs: Leah Samain, Kellie Larkin, Fliss Love, Charlotte Owen.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photo - Ellie Dorey is under pressure from Georgia Bridges (Keith Gillard).
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