Charlton take 3 points from Lewes in Championship clash

On November 2, Lewes announced that a majority vote meant their directors will continue working towards a partnership with Mercury13, which would invest around £5 million in the club. This is a huge step for Lewes and for women’s football and one which was encouraged by players like Rhian Cleverly.

A day later, on November 3rd Lewes faced Charlton Athletic, who currently sit second in the league table in the Championship. Meanwhile, the Rooks are struggling in twelfth place on the table.

Starting XI: Lewes v Charlton

Lewes Starting XI: Whitehouse, Riglar, Garrad, Hamilton, Palmer, Grey, Vassell, Blades, Holding, Brasero-Carreira.

Substitutes: Moore, Cleverly, Hack, Pursey, Oakley, Mooney Farrugia.

Charlton Athletic Starting XI: Rogers, McKenna, Ross, Addison, Humphrey, Ayisi, Longhurst, Green, Skeels, O’Rourke, Roe.

Substitutes: Gray, N’Dow, Johnson, McGowan, F. Godfrey, Muya, Roche, Bashford, H. Godfrey.

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First half

The home side at The Dripping Pan started off strong, with an early chance in the first minute forcing Charlton to put lots of bodies in the box. Charlton soon did well to gain possession, and quickly created a chance of their own.

In the sixth minute, Charlton’s Kayleigh Green was pressing high, with Lewes’ defensive line struggling to keep up with her. The set pieces of Lewes looked strong, but were yet to result in a goal. There was further strong performance from Green as the first half progressed, but the Lewes defence did not make any mistakes big enough to allow her to score. Charlton did well to maintain a substantial amount of possession in the attacking half against a persistent Lewes team, as their goalkeeper Sophie Whitehouse remained calm under pressure.

By this point, many would have expected Charlton to have scored given their solid start to the season. Lewes, however, were not making it easy for them.

Following a free kick for Lewes taken by key player Palmer, in the 32nd minute, Lewes had a big chance. The box was full of players from both sides, and after a scramble for the ball in front of goal, Sian Rogers stopped it from crossing the line. Rebecca McKenna and Kiera Skeels played a vital role in blocking this attempt.

At the end of the first half, Charlton’s back line had begun to look indecisive as the threat of Lewes built.

Second half: Lewes vs Charlton

With neither side making any substitutions at the break, this tense match-up continued.

Reanna Blades, who is on loan at Lewes from Chelsea, made a great cut through the middle in the 56th minute but was prevented from going any further by Charlton’s captain, Skeels. Following this, there was once again chaos in the box as Garrad’s post-corner attempt went over the bar.

After Amelia Hazard was brought down, tensions boiled over. The confrontation following this tackle resulted in both Longhurst and Shauna Vassell being shown red cards. This left both teams with 10 players for the remainder of the game.

When the match resumed, Freya Godfrey demonstrated an admirable run, but her opportunity was denied by the Rooks. The fearless nature of Skeels’ defensive play caused trouble for Lewes, as F. Godfrey posed a threat upfront.

Lewes continued to keep up with their opponents but looked markedly less focused than in the first half. The pace of the match had picked up significantly following the two sending-offs.

Further substitutions were made, with Tegan McGowan coming on in place of Melissa Johnson for Charlton, and Kate Mooney replacing Anna Grey on Lewes’ side.

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Final minutes of the game

As the final ten minutes of the game were ticking by, Charlton and Lewes both fought for a winning goal, but to no avail. A low ball saw Charlton with a missed opportunity in the 82nd minute, and Blades continued to fight her way to the front for Lewes.

In a drastic turn of events, after a reasonable challenge by Palmer on F. Godfrey, the referee swiftly awarded a much-contested penalty to Charlton in the 88th minute. This was, at best, an extremely harsh decision which went against Lewes, who had given a strong performance thus far.

Green calmly took the penalty and scored for Charlton. This was a battle right up until the final whistle, with the final score 0-1 to Charlton. The Addicks walked away with all three points, but underdogs Lewes certainly showed their strength and had a questionable penalty not been given, this could have been a very different result.

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