WOMEN'S TEAM | Addicks record fantastic victory over league-leaders Cardiff City

David Brenchley reports

A brace from Kit Graham fired the Charlton women’s team to a 2-0 victory over top of the table Cardiff City in Wales on Sunday to move them back into second place in the FA Women’s Premier League South.

They had to weather a bit of a storm as Cardiff tried to keep their unbeaten start to the season in tact, but the Addicks were resolute in defence to register their third clean sheet in four matches in 2017.

And last weekend’s woes in front of goal were quickly forgotten as Graham found the net either side of the interval to ensure her side kept the pressure on the leading contenders in the FAWPL South title race.

First team coach Riteesh Mishra chose to name an unchanged squad from last weekend’s 2-0 FA Cup defeat against Sheffield FC.

Charlton began as they meant to go on. After a couple of early sighters for each side, Graham was unfortunate to not get on the scoresheet a minute earlier than she actually did, seeing a shot beat Laura O’Sullivan in the Cardiff goal only to rebound back off the post.

However, the striker got her just rewards in the 13th minute when Northern Ireland international Avilla Bergin beat her marker on the right wing and crossed to the near post, where Graham had made a clever run and headed past O’Sullivan.

The hosts tried to restore parity soon after but were, in the main, reduced to long-range efforts, with Katie Flack blocking a Cori Williams shot and Alex Baker saving well from Hope Suominen.

On the half an hour mark, Graham had a second shot cannon back off the crossbar with O’Sullivan again well beaten. Cardiff went straight down the other end and had a great chance of their own but Laura Williams’ centre was just out of the reach of Kerry Bartlett, who had the goal at her mercy.

The second half was an end-to-end affair, with more early chances for both sides; Graham in particular was unlucky to see her poked effort with the outside of her boot saved.

Cardiff began to carve out some better opportunities with an hour on the clock. They hit the woodwork before Flack, on her 200th appearance in the red and white, headed the follow up off the line.

Baker was then called upon to foil Williams one-on-one when it looked as though she would level things up but the keeper stood tall and pushed the shot to safety. The Charlton custodian then went one better and did brilliantly to backpedal to tip a Laura Williams long-range effort over the bar.

In between those, Charley Clifford went close for the Addicks by volleying a Bergin corner just over.

With quarter of an hour on the clock, Cori Williams levelled it up in the woodwork stakes, rattling the crossbar from long range and she was made to rue that two minutes later.

Charlton countered and right-back Ruby Southgate lofted a high ball into the penalty area where substitute Gemma Shepherd was on hand to head back to Graham. The striker took a touch, beat her defender and slammed home to double her side’s advantage.

The home side stepped up their efforts to try and find a way back into the contest in the final 10 minutes, with Hannah Miles seeing a cross float goalwards but just over. In the fifth minute of added time, Daisy Monaghan made sure that Charlton made the long trip back to London with a clean sheet by hooking a shot off the line.

Charlton: Baker, Flack, Dixson, Sullivan, Coombs, Clifford, Bergin, Lee, Graham, Bottom, Southgate.

Sub (not used): Nash.

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