Charlton 0 Lewes 0
FA Women’s Championship
Sunday 25th August 2019
Lewes left Oakwood with a hard-earned point after an enthralling contest that saw plenty of heat if ultimately no goals.
Fran Alonso’s side will look back on a five-minute spell at the start of the second half when they rattled Katie Startup’s crossbar twice in quick succession.
Charlton struggled to find their rhythm early in their first competitive match of the season. The Rooks took full advantage, running the game through Jones, Noble and Ness with Charley Boswell the busiest player on the park in the first half.
For the home side new signing Charlie Devlin posed the main threat, with Sammy Quayle coming out on top of their first-half duel. When Charlton did get away down the centre, they found Caitlin Hayes waiting for them. Once again, the centre back had an assured 45, carrying the ball out of defence and finding her teammates with unerring accuracy.
Hayes it was who had the first clear chance, rising high to meet Ellie Noble’s corner only for Charlotte Kerr to clear off the line. Minutes later Katie Rood cut through but Startup was alert, getting down quickly at her near post to push Roodie’s low strike away. Rood attacked again, this time with a blocked shot that fell to Jess King, her clean strike glancing inches wide off an outstretched defensive leg.
On 25 minutes the home side fashioned a good chance of their own. Devlin set up Lily Woodham on the right of the D, her first-time strike arcing perfectly into the top right corner, only for Faye Baker to fly across her goal and make a wonderful two-handed save at the junction of post and bar.
The inevitable water break gave both sides a chance to adjust. After Devlin sent a free kick sailing into the car park, Lewes reasserted control. Noble shot wide after a sharp run, Hayes headed just over from one of a series of free kicks before Zoe Ness was inches from scoring with a fine, glancing header from Emma Jones’s in-swinging corner.
After the break Lewes continued to dominate, seeing those two efforts cannon off the woodwork in a five-minute spell. Another superb Noble free kick was met by Dani Lane 12 yards out. Her header beat Startup but not the bar. Next it was King’s turn to rattle the frame, her fine strike ending a flowing move featuring a sublime lay-off by Ness after Ellie Dorey had her pocket picked by Lane on halfway.
Hayes released Rood with the pass of the match, all of 40 yards. Rood took the ball down, flicked it over the stranded left-back only to see her cross blocked for a corner.
Devlin, getting no change from Quayle, tried her luck against Boswell but found Charley in equally mean mood. Just shy of the hour Charlton boss Riteesh Mishra rang the changes, bringing former Shegull Jenna Legg and Ellie Leek on for Eggesvik and Phillips.
Legg almost had the dream start, racing onto a smart Devlin through-ball only to toe-poke her effort straight at Baker. Devlin, finding more space centrally, stole the ball, ran wide and sent in a low cross that Charlie Estcourt somehow managed to turn over Baker’s bar from eight yards out.
Devlin and Legg combined once more, the latter sending in a fierce shot in from wide right, Baker making a fine stop low to her left. Lewes brought on Emily Donovan for Noble, the Lewes 16 straight into the action in front of her back four to break up the increasing home threat.
With Charlton in the ascendancy Lewes, now counterattacking, had their moments. Emma Jones fired a hammer-blow from the left that beat Startup before smashing into the advertising board behind the right post. Jones again, still full of running, burst through a flagging Charlton back line to fire low, Startup making a fine one-handed save to keep her side level.
With ten minutes to go and the heat taking its toll Charlton brought Rene Hector on (for Dorey) as Lewes traded Amy Taylor and Emily Jones for King and Ness. Taylor took up a deep midfield role, making a superb block within a minute. Jones, making her senior competitive Lewes debut, flew straight into action, making a fine break after a Charlton attack had fizzled out.
By now the game had opened up with both sides profligate in possession. Dani Lane, up and down the pitch all afternoon, made a terrific tackle on Devlin only to see the otherwise excellent Ceri Williams award a free kick. Moments later Hayes suffered a similar fate, Emma Jones booked for offering her opinion on what looked like two poor decisions against her side.
Charlton failed to capitalise on their good fortune. They had one last chance when a Lewes attack broke down, racing away three on three, only to find Rhian Cleverly, cool as you like, perfectly positioned to intercept. FT 0-0.
Both managers will feel their sides could have won the game, with their ‘keepers made exceptional saves. Lewes had the edge in the first hour but Charlton had the better of things after that double change. Honours even, then, and a fair result.
Lewes are third in the table after two rounds on 4 points.
Next match: HOME to Crystal Palace, Sunday 8th September
FA Women’s Championship, Kick off 2pm
Tickets available online here
Charlton’s Grace Coombes spoke to the FA after the match
“It was hard in these conditions. It is never easy for any player. You try to prepare but you can never really prepare for that heat.
“I think we managed it quite well and at the end of the game we were still working as hard as we were in the first minute.
“We were the ones pushing at the end for a goal and we seemed to have more energy that they did at the end which is a credit to the work everyone has done in pre-season.
“Sometimes you have to weather storm and credit to them they got some shots away but when you get that luck when it hits the bar and comes out that gave us confidence to push on and we are disappointed to get that goal as we had some good opportunities to do that.”
Fran Alonso shared his thoughts immediately after the game
“We are happy with the performance but not with the result. We hit the woodwork a couple of times. I think at half-time we should have been ahead, and they did not really create anything in that time.”
“In the second half we were expecting to be on the counter-attack, as we knew they have got good players and they had a few chances and it was a little bit more even.
“I fell overall we deserved a little bit more but the fact that we can compete and even dominate for a long part of the game, Charlton finished third last season, so we are happy, and I think we are going in the right direction.
“We have recruited very well and worked on how we want to play so the girls tactically are very aware of what we want them to do and that is a big advantage because we save legs, we save energy.”
Lewes: Faye Baker; Charley Boswell, Rhian Cleverly, Caitlin Hayes, Sammy Quayle; Danni Lane; Emma Jones, Ellie Noble; Jess King; Zoe Ness, Katie Rood.
Substitutions: Emily Donovan for Noble 69, Amy Taylor for King, Emily Jones for Ness 85
Substitutes not used: Katie McIntyre, Issy Foster, Molly Peters.
Bookings: Boswell 42, Jones 90
Referee: Ceri Williams