REPORT | Birmingham 0 Charlton 1

REPORT | Birmingham 0 Charlton 1

A Kayleigh Green penalty and Jess Gray goalkeeping masterclass ensured the Addicks secured their first win of the season against Birmingham City at St Andrews. 

Gray was called into action a couple of times in the early stages. The Addicks stopper first stuck out a good hand to palm an Ivana Fuso shot wide, then collected well under pressure after Kate Longhurst had deflected a Martha Harris centre into the air. 

Charlton took a while to work their way into the game, with Kayleigh Green having the first real chance when pouncing on a loose defensive pass but shooting wide on the turn. Libby Smith then fired what looked like a cross into the area that ended up landing on the top of the goal. 

The south-east Londoners managed to ramp up the pressure as the half wore on to a close, getting a lot of success by pressing the Birmingham back-line. Lucy Thomas handled a Keira Skeels cross well, while the hosts managed to head away a dangerous Carla Humphrey free kick. 

Bashford then did well to intercept a pass in midfield before curling an effort just wide. 

A counter-attack from Birmingham then looked like it could lead to the opening goal of the game, with a two-on-two break. Fuso did well to square for Smith, but Gray made a superb save to deny the striker, sticking out a hand to palm it round the post for a corner. 

The final attack before the interval fell to the visitors, with a defender diving to head a Green cross out for a corner. 

Charlton started the second half as they finished the first – on top. They came out flying, pressing the hosts into mistakes. Melissa Johnson was the first to go for goal, firing low from a tight angle with Thomas saving. 

Both sides then traded chances, with Angela Addison for Charlton and Neve Herron for Birmingham both off target. 

It was on the stroke of the hour mark that the breakthrough came when Green chased down a loose pass in the Birmingham defence, rounded Thomas and was then brought down by the Birmingham keeper from behind and the referee had no choice but to point to the penalty spot. Green dusted herself down and slammed the spot kick into the top of the net to break the deadlock. 

Birmingham quickly got frustrated and Jade Pennock was sent off three minutes after the goal for a second yellow card after a foul. 

Gray was on hand to make another stunning save to keep the score level with quarter of an hour remaining, pushing a Mason shot over the bar. 

Substitute Freya Godfrey almost doubled Charlton’s lead moments after coming on when she drove towards goal and fired over. 

As the game was winding down, Birmingham launched an aerial attack on the Addicks’ defence, but each time Charlton stood strong and cleared their lines. In truth, it was the visitors who came the closest to scoring with Rebecca McKenna seeing a shot blocked before Freda Ayisi hit the post and Godfrey put the ball wide from the rebound.  

Birmingham: Thomas, Herron, Louise Quinn, Mason, Harris (Finn 81), Moore, Allen (Harrison-Murray 81), Lucy Quinn (Devlin 71), Fuso (Agg 71), Pennock, Smith (Walker 87). Subs (not used): Clarke, Lawley. 

Charlton: Gray, McKenna, Johnson (Ayisi 54), Addison (F. Godfrey 75), Humphrey, Longhurst (Roche 81), Green, Skeels, Bashford (Ross 54), O’Rourke, Roe. Subs (unused): Rogers, Bell, H. Godfrey.

Goal: Green 60.

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