Second-half strikes from Jess King and Lois Heuchan secured Charlton Women a crucial three points against bottom-of-the-table Coventry United at Butts Park Arena on Sunday.
The Addicks dominated play in the first half and were unfortunate not to go in at the break several goals to the good, but they did not have to wait long for King to open the scoring four minutes into the second period, with Heuchan firing home a second, and winning, goal 18 minutes later.
The victory puts clear daylight between the two sides, with Charlton leapfrogging London Bees into ninth place in the FA Women’s Championship, three points ahead of Coventry and two clear of their London rivals, with games in hand and far superior goal difference.
Coventry seemed to start brightest, with early sighters from Fran Orthodoxou, Destiney Toussaint and Anna Wilcox failing to trouble the Charlton defence.
However, the visitors were in the ascendency for the second half of the opening 45 minutes. Sue Wood did well first off to tip an Ellie Dorey shot over before the keeper denied Emma Plewa after a smart through ball from Ella Rutherford.
Charlton, in truth, could have had as many as they wanted in the final 10 minutes of the half, with Heuchan heading wide, King poking off target, Wood saving from Elisha Sulola and a header drifting across goal and wide of the post.
With the sides going into the interval on level terms, it looked as though it might be another frustrating day for the Addicks.
However, things changed on 49 minutes when Rutherford slipped a well-weighted ball through the Coventry defence to King, who slid the ball past Wood one on one to give her side a slender advantage.
The goal sparked Coventry into life, with Helen Dermody hitting the underside of the crossbar seconds later, with Eartha Cumings being alert to smother a follow up. Ten minutes after that, Toussaint saw a glorious chance to level things go begging, as she headed a free kick wide of the near post with no defenders around her.
And the winger was soon to rue the opportunity when the referee pulled play back for a Charlton free kick despite King having a one-on-one chance at the edge of the six-yard box.
Charlton complained, but in the end it did not matter, as Rutherford set the free kick short for Heuchan to sweep home from 20 yards out and double Charlton’s lead.
Coventry tried to pile forward, but in truth Charlton defended stoutly and there were few chances for the hosts, bar one effort hitting the woodwork.
Coventry were reduced to 10 players when Wilcox was sent off following a tackle from behind on Shauna Vassell with the right back marauding forward. The south-east Londoners should have converted the resulting set piece, but ended up seeing out the win with ease.
Charlton will now hosts Lewes next weekend, knowing a second win in a row would make it difficult for the bottom two to catch them.
Charlton: Cumings, Smith, Coombs, Dorey (Sampson 71), Clifford, King (Godden 84), Rutherford (Watling 77), Vassell, Sulola, Heuchan, Plewa (Powell 71).
Subs (not used): Eligon, Griffiths, Gotch.
Goals: King 49, Heuchan 67
(Report by David Brenchley)