A narrow defeat for the Addicks as Watford secured a 3-2 win in SE7.
Second-half strikes from Carla Humphrey and Angela Addison weren't enough for Hills’ side as Charlton attempted to overturn a three-goal deficit at the half-time interval despite a spirited second half performance.
The visitors took the lead within the opening two minutes. Sian Rogers was caught out at the back by Carly Johns after she applied an immense amount of pressure on the keeper. Rogers’ attempted pass was intercepted by Johns who slipped the ball across for McLean to fire into an empty net to put Watford ahead.
Charlton received their first real opportunity to draw level in the 25th minute. The ball fell to Mia Ross on the edge of the box who swung a cross towards the back post for Johnson, the forward controlled the ball well however she was unable to get her shot away.
Another opportunity came for Hills’ side to grab an equaliser in the 34th minute as Johnson’s effort was parried into the path of Karin Muya. The 28-year-old sent an effort goalwards from six yards out before Corinne Henson made an all-important last-ditch block to maintain the away side’s lead.
Sian Rogers was called into action in the 37th minute following an impressive passage of play from Watford. The ball fell to Georgiou on the edge of the box who thundered an effort across goal, Rogers made the save but was forced into substitution after sustaining an injury with Jess Gray replacing her between the sticks.
Just moments after the change, the visitors doubled their lead in additional time. Carly Johns yet again caused problems in the final third as she latched onto a loose ball in the box and comfortably converted from close range.
Watford extended their lead to three on the stroke of half-time. McLean was slipped in on goal and calmly slotted her strike through the legs of Gray in the Charlton sticks.
The Addicks came out after the interval strong and came close to pulling an early goal back. Half-time substitute Freya Godfrey collected the ball in the opposition’s 18-yard box before her near-post strike was saved by Clark in the Watford net.
Charlton received their reward just moments before the hour mark, a sensational free-kick from Carla Humphrey sailed into the top corner from a distance to pull one back for the Addicks.
Just two minutes later, Humphrey came close to netting her brace. A superb delivery was lofted into the box from the right wing, the midfielder surged into the box but was unable to make clean contact with the ball and her header dragged wide.
With 11 minutes remaining of the ninety, Charlton pulled a second back through Addison. Some neat passing play eventually saw Ayisi spread the ball wide to Addison in the Watford penalty box, the winger’s initial effort was blocked before she volleyed the follow-up into the top corner to shorten the margin.
Despite a hard-working second-half performance, the Addicks were unable to retrieve a point from the fixture and suffered a narrow defeat to newly-promoted Watford.
Charlton: Rogers (Gray 41), McKenna, Ross (O’Rourke 71), Johnson, Addison, Humphrey, Longhurst (Ayisi 45), Muya (Godfrey 45), Skeels ©, Roche (N’Dow 45), Roe
Goals: Humphrey 57, Addison 79
Watford: Clark, Leon (Head 82), Lafayette (Fife 63), McLean, Johns (Baptiste 76), Bennett, Georgiou (Palisch 63), Harbert, Haines, Reid, Henson
Goals: McLean 2, 45+7, Johns 45+3