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Charlton Athletic 1 Lewes 2 (aet)
Lewes became the first team to reach the semi final stage of the 2017-18 FA Women's Premier League Cup after a fine away victory over 2014-15 winners and last season's finalists Charlton Athletic.
Two Sarah Kempson strikes saw the Rookettes claim victory after a hard fought, intense contest, the winning goal coming in the second period of extra time.
The opening twenty minutes saw Kylie McCarthy head over from a Katie McIntyre corner for Lewes on four minutes but the two sides generally cancelled each other out until Kempson struck the opener on 21 minutes, a superb left foot effort beyond keeper Katie Startup from 20 yards as she cut inside from the wing.
Charlton had their best spell in the last third of the opening 45 minutes. Charley Clifford sent a powerful effort just over the bar, then Lewes keeper Faye Baker turned away another shot from Graham on 36 minutes. Claire Johnson cleared a shot off the line for Lewes as the pressure mounted.
It was Graham found the equaliser with a sharp finish when Grace Coombs headed down a Nicole Pepper corner on 38 minutes, but Kempson nearly restored the visitors' lead before the break with another long range shot which took a deflection before being tipped acrobatically on to the bar by Startup at full stretch.
The Charlton keeper also had to be alert to turn over a powerful effort from Amy Taylor on 54 minutes as Lewes started the second half with good possession, restricting Charlton to more isolated breaks which were well contained by a resolute defence. Neither team could find a clear opening as the match moved towards the final quarter with both teams bringing on fresh legs and extra time was the inevitable outcome from an even encounter of good quality.
A moment of magic from Graham on 92 minutes saw her wriggle clear of challenges to go through on Baker's goal but the Lewes keeper was equal to her attempted lobbed finish, catching impressively at full stretch. Ex-Addick Avilla Bergin went close twice for Lewes early in the second period but it was Kempson who struck the crucial goal on 110 minutes, firing in a low shot from a similar distance to her first, the ball bouncing awkwardly in front of the diving keeper.
Lewes saw out the match with few alarms and had been impressive throughout the 120 minutes in both work rate and organisation to largely stifle Charlton, whilst offering pace and threat in attack at times. Ultimately, though, Kempson's opportunist strikes were the difference between two strong sides who both now turn their attention to the Fifth Round of the SSE FA Women's Cup next weekend.
Katie Startup, Kim Dixson, Olivia Lukasewich, Grace Coombs, Charley Clifford, Charlotte Gurr, Hannah Churchill, Sam Pittuck, Nicole Pepper, Charlotte Lee, Kit Graham. Subs: Chloe Brunton-Wilde, Georgia Griffin, Kerry Walklett.
Faye Baker, Claire Johnson, Rebecca Thompson, Kylie McCarthy, Natasha Wells, Katie McIntyre, Leeta Rutherford, Sarah Kempson, Avilla Bergin, Danni Lane, Amy Taylor. Subs: Rebecca Carter, Vicky Carleton, Darcey James, Georgia Bridges, Charlotte Owen.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Nicole Pepper tries to prevent Avilla Bergin from getting in a shot
(middle) Charlotte Gurr is challenged by Kylie McCarthy
(bottom) Charlotte Gurr under pressure from Rebecca Thompson
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