Charlton Athletic Women secured a hard-fought point away to title-chasing Sheffield United at Olympic Legacy Park on Sunday, bagging their first two goals of the season in the process.
Sheffield United took an early lead, but Charlton hit back, with Ellie Dorey and Charlie Devlin sending them into the break a goal to the good.
The Blades, attempting to take advantage of FA Women’s Championship leaders Aston Villa dropping their first two points of the season, dialled up the pressure, eventually nicking a point 15 minutes from time.
Charlton made the worst possible start to the game, albeit Sheffield United benefiting from a fortuitous deflection when a Jade Pennock cross ricocheted off Katie Wilkinson and spun into the far corner to break the deadlock after just five minutes.
Just after the quarter of an hour mark Wilkinson headed a corner just over Katie Startup’s goal, with Charlton hitting back after good work from Devlin saw the striker cross for Lois Heuchan who just failed to make contact at the back post.
But on 26 minutes, the visitors were level when Devlin won a free kick and played it short to Alice Griffiths. The young Welsh midfielder floated a lovely ball over the Sheffield defence for Dorey to latch onto and the winger fired across Becky Flaherty and into the far corner.
The home side were unlucky not to hit back immediately when a Maddy Cusack cross veered goalwards and cannoned back off the crossbar with a Blades striker slamming the follow up against the post.
They were made to rue that miss just seconds before half time when Griffiths once again played an intelligent ball over the top, this time for Devlin to collect, having sprung the offside trap. The striker rounded Flaherty and slotted home from an acute angle.
Sheffield United came out pushing for an equaliser from the off, after the break, pinning Charlton back into their own half for long periods. However, proper chances were few and far between as the Addicks’ defence stood resolute.
Olivia Fergusson saw one shot well blocked, with Devlin cutting inside and shooting wide of the target on the counter attack for Charlton.
With the game approaching the final 15 minutes, the Blades upped the pressure, eventually breaking through on 76 minutes. Again, there was some fortune to the goal, with a cross being met by Fergusson just ahead of Startup and being bundled in.
Sheffield could have stolen it at the end through Wilkinson, but the forward again headed a corner over the bar and the spoils were shared.
Charlton: Startup, Newborough, Coombs, Dorey (Eggesvik 84), Devlin, Gotch, Estcourt (Kerr 54), Griffiths, Legg, Maple, Heuchan (Woodham 54). Sub (not used): Salgado.
Goals: Dorey (26), Devlin (45).
Sheffield United: Flaherty, Barker, Tierney, Hartley, Pennock, Cusack, Wilkinson, Matthews (Johnson 50), Palmer, Sarri (Fergusson 50), Paul (Fletcher 62). Sub (not used): Batty.
Goals: Wilkinson (5), Fergusson (76).
Photo: Ian Parker