A Lois Heuchan header secured Charlton Athletic Women a hard-fought point against Crystal Palace Women at Hayes Lane on Thursday evening.
Heuchan nodded in her fourth goal of the season 18 minutes into the game before an undeserved stoppage-time own goal from Shauna Vassell cruelly denied the Addicks at the death.
It took Charlton a while to get into the game, despite winning the first corner. A whipped Ffion Morgan cross from the right caused problems for the Charlton defence early on, ricocheting wide off Grace Coombs. Siobhan Wilson then blocked a clearance and chased the ball down the left flank but Eartha Cumings was alert to claim well.
But the Addicks soon got into a rhythm, targeting the Palace left back for much of the half. Some good combination play by Elisha Sulola and Shauna Vassell led to a shot blocked by a Palace defender and the referee turned away shout for handball.
Vassell then worked hard to keep the ball alive on the right-hand byline, pulling back for Rutherford whose deep cross was headed wide across goal by Hannah Churchill.
But it took just two further minutes for the deadlock to be broken when Coombs lofted a ball over the Palace defence to win a corner off their left back. Rutherford stepped up to whip in a tempting corner for Heuchan to head home.
The hosts stepped up the pressure immediately afterwards, but could not create sufficient chances to trouble Cumings. Annabel Johnson and Kate Natkiel both shot over for the best chances.
In truth, it was the Addicks who remained on the front foot to end the first half. More good play down the right from Powell and Vassell led to a Jess King snapshot narrowly over and Rutherford crashed the woodwork from the left-hand side.
Palace came out after the interval determined to pull themselves level, but despite pressure didn’t really create much of note.
It was Rutherford who had the first good chance of the half on the hour mark when she shot straight at the defender, while Powell fired a centre across the face of goal but no-one could get on the end of it.
Amber Gaylor went closest in normal time for Palace, but could only weakly drag a shot from 20 yards well wide of goal.
The Addicks continued to go close, though, and Chloe Morgan had to be alert at the near post to stop a King shot sneaking in, while Heuchan headed wide moments later.
With four minutes of added time played and Charlton looking to have the toe wrapped up, a ball over the top saw Bianca Baptiste cross to the back post where Vassell was unfortunate to see her attempted clearance veer into the corner of the net.
Charlton: Cumings, Griffiths, Smith, Coombs, Clifford, King, Powell (Dorey 89), Rutherford, Vassell, Sulola (Sampson 76), Heuchan.
Subs (not used): Watling, Gotch, Dunbar-Bonnie, Eligon, Lumsden, Fordjour, Godden.
Goal: Heuchan 18
(Report by David Brenchley)