A Keira Skeels double fired Charlton to a 2-1 FA Women’s Continental Cup group stage victory against high-flying Bristol City at the Oakwood on Sunday.
Skeels struck either side of the interval to put her side two goals to the good, with Abi Harrison’s injury time header only a consolation for the Robins.
Both sides were well changed from the last time they met here four weeks ago. New signing Jessica Gray came in for her Charlton debut in goal, while Sophie O’ Rourke, Mary Bashford, Heidi Logan and Freda Ayisi were restored to the starting line up.
Bristol skipper Aimee Palmer whipped an early free kick into the danger zone but could only see it flash across the face of goal.
Charlton went ahead on 10 minutes when Heidi Logan did well to win a corner. Beth Roe’s delivery was outswinging and Skeels stooped low to loop a header over Olivia Clark and in.
The Addicks dominated the opening stages, pinning the visitors back in their own final third for large periods. Freda Ayisi saw a driven cross narrowly evade the head of Angela Addison and Skeels almost snagged a second when her long-range effort was tipped over the bar by Clark.
The balance of play swung around halfway through the first half as the away side probed for a way back into the clash. They created few real chances, though, with Gray dealing well with their best opening, a Shania Hayles centre.
Bashford had a couple of good chances late on for Charlton, just getting too far under the ball to scoop a Mel Johnson cross just over and then shooting wide of the near post from a tight angle.
Bristol came out after the interval intent on levelling the contest. Hayles shot wide of the target and another Palmer cross evaded everyone and missed the target early on. Their first real proper chance came when Gray snatched at a clearance that found its way only to Chloe Bull on the edge of the area, but Gray made amends falling on the resulting shot.
In between those chances, Ayisi sent a dangerous free kick goalwards that Clark did well to get down to and parry round the post.
There was little to suggest Charlton were about to double their advantage, but they did just that on the hour mark when Skeels headed home her and her side’s second of the afternoon.
Gray again saved well from Bull, this time a header from close range, while Skeels remained a menace to the visitors in both area, getting in between a striker and the goal to head away a cross.
Substitute Harrison spied Gray off her line with 15 minutes remaining but didn’t get enough on it to trouble her. Gray then made a brilliant save to deny Bull once more, backpedalling to palm it onto the crossbar.
The Addicks attempted to extend their lead more going into the final 10 minutes when Johnson’s quick feet bamboozled a couple of defenders but the shot low down was saved. Ayisi then sent a free kick from an acute angle onto the outside of the post and wide.
Bristol bagged a consolation goal in the form of a Harrison header to deny Gray a deserved debut clean sheet, but the Addicks held out to secure their first win of the Continental Cup campaign.
Charlton: Gray, N’Dow (Newborough 56), Johnson, Ayisi (Simpkins 82), Addison (Bruton 70), Logan (Follis 56), Skeels, Bashford (Rutherford 82), O’Rourke, Roe, Ross. Subs (not used): Rogers, Henson.
Bristol City: Clark, Powell (Harrison 70), Layzell, Palmer, Boddy (Hutton 70), Hayles (Ward 77), Bull, Mustaki, Bruce, Wilde (Woolley 70), Greenslade (Syme 56). Subs (not used): Bentley.
Charlton return to The Oakwood on Sunday, December 4th to take on Sheffield United in the Barclays Women's Championship click here for tickets