WOMEN'S TEAM REPORT | Charlton twice fight back to draw in Durham

Amelia Ritchie’s 84th-minute header sealed a 2-2 draw for the Charlton women’s team in a fiery encounter against high-flying Durham on Sunday afternoon.

Riteesh Mishra’s side fought valiantly against the north-east side and their efforts paid off six minutes from time when Ritchie’s looping header found the back of the net to ensure Charlton left with a share of the spoils.

It was an open game right from the off, with neither team dominating possession. Katie Startup was called into action on the 10-minute mark when she punched a dangerous-looking Durham corner away.

At the other end, Kit Graham almost opened the scoring on 15 minutes when she turned away from her marker and smashed the ball inches past the post.

Gemma Bryan then did well to pinch the ball off a Durham defender. The forward unselfishly squared the ball to strike-partner Graham whose effort was a whisker away.

It was Durham who opened the scoring in the 21st minute, though. Hepple found herself in space on the edge of the box and found the bottom corner.

One minute later, Graham equalised for the Addicks. The 22-year-old muscled off her defender and slotted the ball past Reid to make it 1-1.

Durham were back in front almost immediately, however. Charlton failed to clear the ball in the box and Roberts capitalised and curled the ball in past Startup.

The hosts continued to apply the pressure after their second goal, as they went searching of a third. On the stroke of half time, Startup made a stunning save, tipping a thunderous strike over the bar.

After the break, new Charlton signing Leigh Nicol sent a lovely ball over the top for Bryan, but it was just too fast for the striker to get a foot on.

The Addicks made three changes just after the hour mark, with Hannah Churchill, Bryan and Nicol replaced by Lily Agg, Liz Ejupi and Charley Clifford and the game started to become more and more fiery as time went on.

Charlton kept attacking Durham and with 20 minutes to go Ejupi flicked the ball on for Graham whose strike was brilliantly tipped over the bar.

A minute later, Charlton won a free-kick when Amber Stobbs was hacked down just outside the area. Agg stepped up to take it and had her shot superbly saved by Reid.

As the clock ticked closer to 90 minutes, it didn’t look like it would be Charlton’s day. Agg tried a speculative effort, which was tipped over, and Graham had a shot blocked on the line just a minute later.

Charlton’s attacking efforts finally paid off just six minutes from time when Ritchie met Charlotte Gurr’s corner and her looping header found the back of the net, giving the Addicks a well-deserved goal.

The defender was then called into action straight away as the Welsh youth international made a heroic block to prevent what would have been a certain goal scoring opportunity.

And it was the visitors who had the best chance to win it with the last kick of the game. Graham was fouled on the edge of the box and Gurr stepped up to take the free-kick. But Reid made an outstanding save to prevent Charlton from snatching a last-minute winner.

Mishra’s side face Lewes next on Sunday, September 30th (2pm) at The Oakwood, Crayford.

Charlton: Startup, Kerr, Ritchie, Coombs (c), Bryan (Ejupi, 61), Gurr, Stobbs, Graham, Nicol (Agg, 61), Churchill (Clifford, 61), Maple.

Subs (not used): Griffin.

Goals: Graham 22, Ritchie 84.

Attendance: 427

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