Playing in less than ideal conditions, Charlton Athletic Women were denied a win against FA Women’s Super League side Brighton at The Oakwood on Sunday during their first FA Continental Cup group stage game.
Charlton impressed for the most part, looking confident on the ball and holding their full-time opponents almost until half time, but fitness told in the end as Brighton ran out comfortable 3-0 winners, thanks in part to two second-half penalties.
An early foul from Brighton’s Maya Le Tissier, bundling over Charlotte Kerr, gave Charlton a chance to dominate with a free-kick and some promising early attempts at getting past Brighton’s keeper Sophie Harris.
In the opposite goal, Shanell Salgado, making her Charlton debut, was tested multiple times in the first half by a forceful Brighton attack.
Their first attempt came quarter of an hour in from a dangerous header from Ini Umotong, which Salgado brilliantly tipped over, and then a blistering second attempt moments later that cleared the crossbar.
Brighton continued to rack up the chances as some great play by Amanda Nilden around the half-hour mark was flicked over by Kayleigh Green, closely followed up by another attempt from Green which Salgado effortlessly saved.
Nearing the end of the second half, Charlton created an excellent chance when Rachel Newborough sent in a low cross that was just too far in front Jenna Legg.
But almost immediately after that chance, Brighton finally broke the deadlock as Kate Natkiel’s corner was headed in by Umotong.
Coming into the second half Charlton looked to be putting on the pressure, but the absence of striker Charlie Devlin was felt when Charlton approached the final third. A couple of early second-half free kicks from Sara Eggesvik and Lois Heuchan tried to get the game back on track for the Addicks but were defended well by a Brighton.
A foul by Newborough on 66 minutes led to the first penalty of the game, which Green converted.
A yellow card was rightly shown to Brighton’s Danique Kerkdijk when she pulled down Charlton captain Lilli Maple during a clear run.
Brighton continued to pile on some late pressure as the hosts tired, as a Natkiel strike 10 minutes from time looked goal bound but just cleared the bar.
Charlton’s Renee Hector helped to keep Brighton at bay during the final few minutes, on numerous occasions clearing the ball during some testing Brighton passing. She helped create a good chance which fell to Newborough at 84 minutes, but was collected by Brighton who got in front of Clifford during a crucial attempt.
On 88 minutes Brighton were awarded a second penalty after Salgado ran into Brighton’s Green when the ball had gone out of play. Green powered in her second penalty of the game giving Brighton a clear win.
Charlton are next in action away at Blackburn Rovers on Sunday 29 September.
Charlton: Salgado, Kerr, Newborough, Hector, Estcourt, Griffin (Wilson 67), Eggesvik (Clifford 79), Legg, Maple, Heuchan, Casley (Phillips 75). Subs (not used): Startup, Coombs, Dorey, Griffiths.
Brighton: Harris, Gibbons, F. Whelan (Williams 56), Barton, Umotong (Whelan 74), Natkiel, Nilden, Kerkdijk, Green, Simpkins, Le Tissier (Le Garrec 88). Subs (not used): Walsh, Lundorf, Connolly, Brazil.
Goals: Umotong (44), Green (66, 88).
Yellow cards: Le Tissier, Kerkdijk.
Photo: Geoff Penn