Two second half goals denied Charlton Athletic Women on Sunday as the Addicks fell to their second defeat of the season against London City Lionesses at The Oakwood.
Strikes from Florence Fyfe and Evie Clarke against the run of play, with Ellie Dorey seeing a header cleared off the line minutes before the Dartford-based side broke the deadlock.
Manager Riteesh Mishra made a pair of changes from the team that travelled up to Durham, with Charlie Estcourt and Dorey replacing Alice Griffiths and Ellie Leek.
London City started more positively, trying to pin Charlton back into their own territory for the first 10 minutes, but could never really threaten Katie Startup.
It was Charlton who had the first shot of the game on 11 minutes when Jenna Legg broke and set the ball wide for Dorey. The winger laid back for Rachel Newborough to strike across the face of goal.
The ever-dangerous Charlie Devlin then got creative, trying to set Dorey free with a lovely through ball that the alert Lucy Thomas in the Lionesses goal just collected. Devlin then set Estcourt up, but the central midfielder’s effort spun well wide.
The pendulum then swung again, this time into the visitors’ favour. Ellie Mason fired a long-range free kick wide before an excellent Leanne Cowan cross eluded everyone in the penalty area and landed just past the far post.
Some excellent defending from Charlton then kept the score goalless, with captain Grace Coombs hooking a foot around the ball as Liz Ejupi was about to go through one-on-one with Startup. A long ball over the Addicks defence looking for Ejupi once more saw Charlotte Kerr fend the striker off and calmly clear under pressure.
Charlton began the second period much better and looked certain to grab their first goal of the season with sustained attacks.
Dorey shot over early on after chasing down a long ball before Devlin won the ball high up the field, advanced on goal but took too long to pull the trigger and a Lionesses defender got back to concede the corner.
From that set piece, the ball was headed forwards for Dorey, who flicked it goalwards, only to see Poppy Wilson head off the line.
Almost immediately after that reprieve, London City went down the other end and opened the scoring, when Ejupi countered and squared for Fyfe to slam home.
Six minutes later, their advantage was doubled and the game was effectively over. Startup made an excellent initial save from an Ejupi shot, but Clarke was on hand to tap home from a couple of yards out.
The game started to open up as Charlton searched for a way back into it. Estcourt floated a cross in for Devlin inside the six-yard box, but the striker could only cushion her header narrowly over the bar. Down the other end, Startup did well to tip a Mason free kick over.
In the end, it wasn’t to be, with Charlie Devlin’s red card for two bookable offences topping off a frustrating afternoon for the Addicks.
Charlton’s return to The Oakwood on Sunday, September 22 as they face FA Women’s Super League side Brighton & Hove Albion in the Continental Cup group stage.
Charlton: Startup, Kerr, Newborough, Coombs, Dorey (Hector 79), Clifford (Heuchan 70), Devlin, Woodham, Estcourt (Griffiths 62), Legg, Maple. Subs (not used): Salgado, Phillips, Griffin, Eggesvik.
London City Lionesses: Thomas, Cowan, Wilson, Short, Ejupi (Fitzgerald 69), Kempi, Clarke (Balfour 90), Neville, Bennett, Mason, Fyfe (Susanna 69). Subs (not used): Mackie, Priest, Ayisi, Sampson.
Yellow cards: Maple, Clifford, Devlin; Wilson.
Red card: Devlin.
Goals: Fyfe (57), Clarke (63).
Photo: Keith Gillard