Charlton Athletic Women suffered a frustrating 2-0 defeat to Durham Women in their first FA Women’s Championship away game on Sunday at New Ferens Park.
First-half goals from Molly Sharpe and Lisa Robertson sunk the Addicks, with Ellie Dorey hitting the post in what was a promising performance in defeat.
It was an unsurprisingly even game throughout, with Durham’s Megan Bell and Charlton’s Alice Griffiths seeing early chances fall wide of the target.
On the quarter of an hour mark, good link-up play from Charlie Devlin and Charley Clifford saw the latter shoot from long range only to be denied by Hannah Reid in the hosts’ goal.
But it was the home side who opened the scoring, against the run of play, when Ellie Christon got free down the right and crossed deep for Sharpe arriving late and unmarked to open the scoring.
Clifford glanced a header wide from a dangerous Rachel Newborough cross as Charlton looked to hit back immediately, while the impressive Devlin saw a shot saved by Reid.
With Charlton seemingly getting up a head of steam, it was the North-East side who finished the first period stronger. A Sharpe centre just missed Robertson’s head inside the six-yard box before Startup saved from Iris Achterhof.
But it was a sucker punch that put the gloss on the day for Durham, with just seconds left on the clock. Robertson picked the ball up and sent a speculative effort on target, which was fumbled by Startup and landed in the bottom corner.
With their tails up, Durham came out after the interval looking to increase their advantage but could only put a couple of chances over the crossbar.
Charlton again grew into the game, with Griffiths dragging a long-ranger wide as they looked to pile on the pressure.
On 55 minutes, Clifford played Charlton’s first corner of the contest short to Devlin, who turned her defender easily and fired goalwards only to see Bell bat it away as far as Jenna Legg, who sent a follow-up wide.
Ten minutes later, Maple had a shot saved, before Clifford sent another over Bell’s goal.
With 12 minutes remaining, the Addicks created their best opportunity of the clash, finding substitute Dorey, who cut in off the right flank but could only watch as her shot cannoned back off the far post and out to safety.
In the end, Durham saw the game out well, and could even have extended their advantage were it not for two very good Startup saves and Beth Hepple putting a one-on-one chance wide.
Charlton: Startup, Kerr, Newborough (Phillips 79), Coombs, Clifford, Leek (Dorey 65), Devlin, Woodham, Griffiths, Legg (Estcourt 58), Maple. Subs (not used): Eggesvik, Heuchan.
Durham: Reid, Hill, Robertson, Robson, Hepple, Sharpe (Gears 60), Achterhof, Bell (Greenwood 86), Salicki, Christon, Holmes. Sub (not used): Borthwick.
Goals: Sharpe (27), Robertson (45).
Yellow Card: Holmes.
Photo: Ian Parker