Championship: London City dash Charlton promotion hopes

Grace Moloney of London City Lionesses gestures during a match
Grace Moloney of London City Lionesses gestures during the Continental Cup Quarter Final match vs Arsenal at Princes Park (Photo by Richard Pelham/Getty Images)

Charlton had their hopes of promotion from the Championship dashed as London City struck twice late on to claim all three points at The Valley.

The first half

The Addicks started brightly and nearly took the lead in the opening minute. But Kiera Skeels saw her goalbound-header cleared off the line.

That good start was rewarded in the fifth minute as Rebecca McKenna did well to keep the ball in on the byline and teed up Melisa Filis on the edge of the box. Filis made no mistake and fired home to give Charlton the lead.

It was a bright start that the hosts couldn’t maintain. London City grew into the game, which is something manager Karen Hills acknowledged afterward.

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“There wasn’t one team that was going to be completely dominant. We always knew that London City weren’t going to roll over,” she commented.

Indeed, the Lionesses nearly equalised deep into first half stoppage time. Chantelle Boye-Hlorkah saw her curling effort come back off the post with Charlton goalkeeper Jess Gray rooted to the spot.

The second half

Early in the second half, the hosts nearly doubled their lead when Elisha N’Dow’s cross was intercepted, with Kayleigh Barton waiting to pounce.

Tegan McGowan had a great chance to wrap the game up for Charlton with 10 minutes to go when she was put through on goal. But Grace Moloney produced a fine save to keep the Lionesses in the game.

Remi Allen’s side stuck to their task diligently and got their reward when Hlorkah’s cross was headed home by Lotta Lindström in the final minute of normal time.

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Hlorkah capped an incredible turnaround with virtually the last kick of the game to give the visitors all three points.

Quick to pounce on a Charlton turnover, she raced through one on one with Gray, but looked hesitant on her shot, seemingly allowing the Addicks defence to recover.

When she eventually got her effort away, it looped high above Gray who couldn’t get a strong enough hand to it and keep the ball out.

Full-time reactions and what’s next

The late goal sparked wild scenes from London City. After the final whistle, Allen praised her players’ ‘mentality and perseverance’.

“I’m just really proud of the players. They stuck with it through the 90 minutes. I do believe we were the better side in the game.”

Charlton will look to bounce back next Sunday when fellow promotion chasers Birmingham visit The Valley. Meanwhile, the resurgent London City entertain Sheffield United.

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