Karen Hills reflects on the Addicks’ derby day victory over Crystal Palace in the Continental Cup on Wednesday evening.
Emma Follis put Charlton ahead with a quarter of an hour remaining before U21 forward Taylor Bell put Hills side two goals to the good in additional time, extending their win streak to six wins on the bounce.
“I am really proud of them, I thought they worked so hard tonight and thoroughly deserved the win against a very good Crystal Palace team."
Hills’ named five changes to the side who beat MK Dons last Sunday, with four academy players featuring for the Addicks:
“I thought she [Taylor Bell] was excellent and set the tone with that first tackle, it showed fantastic intent and gave her the confidence to kick on and play the way she did. She thoroughly deserved that goal in the end and I couldn’t be more proud and pleased for her."
“I said in the huddle how proud I am of all of them and how together we are, how they are taking on information as players and what staff are asking them to do. Some of the patterns of play were fantastic, playing against a good Crystal Palace side. We had to work hard for it and be patient, and believe that we could go on to win the game and that is what we set out to do at the start, to come here and make The Oakwood a bit of a fortress. We have six wins on the bounce and are in a really good place."
The Head Coach was quick to highlight Jessica Gray’s performance in last night's triumph, the 21-year-old provided an impressive display in order to secure the clean sheet.
“Every time we have asked a question about her she steps up and does really well, she was calm and collected and played out from the back really well. She is a young up-and-coming goalkeeper and I thought that save she didn’t really have a lot to do and to pull that out, fair play to her I thought her concentration was spot on, a fantastic save that kept us in the game really."
In addition, an impressive display from Charlton’s first signing of the window in Alex Hennessy. The 18-year-old midfielder penned a deal in South London until the end of the season following her departure from West Ham earlier this month.
Hills said: “Alex is a young up-and-coming, talented player. We have been lucky enough to help her and support her with her development over the next six months and we were really pleased to put her in the starting lineup tonight."
"She showed her quality, having not played for a little while she had a good 60/65 minutes and that was enough for her tonight. A young player that came into the side and didn’t look out of place at all, she bossed the midfield well and is only going to get better over time."
Attention turns to the weekend as Charlton return to Barclays Women’s Championship action, as the squad prepares to travel up north to face Blackburn Rovers. The hosts currently sit in 10th place, seven points behind the Addicks as the sides prepare for the clash:
“We talk about momentum and that winning feeling, we have got that at this moment in time. A fantastic group of players that are completely together on and off the pitch, you saw the changes today and the subs. They came on and made an impact, we didn’t look out of shape at all tonight with the changes we made."
"We have got a couple of days to recover before a long trip to Blackburn, two games this week and we have been able to shuffle the pack. We will go into the game full of confidence, but we know Blackburn is a tough side."
"We know the challenges we will face and there strengths, we have done all our homework and we will go up there feeling confident in our ability and believing in our quality."