Charlton edge out Crystal Palace in South London derby

Karen Hills, Manager of Charlton Athletic, looks on during a match
Karen Hills, Manager of Charlton Athletic, looks on prior to the FA Women's Continental Tyres League Cup match between West Ham United and Charlton Athletic (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

The South London derby ended in defeat for Crystal Palace. The chaotic Championship fixture saw a tight race between the two sides. Many chances were created, but Charlton’s Freda Ayisi was the one to make it count.

This weekend, the Barclays Women’s Championship featured a top of the table clash between South London rivals Crystal Palace and Charlton Athletic. The stage the VBS Community Stadium was set for an important meeting between the two sides.

Starting lineups

Crystal Palace

Lambourne; Reilly, Everett (C), Nolan, Gibbons, Potter, Hopcroft, Blanchard, Sharpe, Atkinson, Hughes.

Substitutes: Negri, Johnson, Percival, Filbey, Filbey, Guata, Sibley, Dennis, Watson.

Charlton Athletic

Rogers; McKenna, N’Dow, Johnson, Addison, Humphrey, Longhurst (C), Godfrey, Skeels, Roe, Filis.

Substitutes: Gray, Ross, Ayisi, McGowan, Green, Rutherford, Bashford, O’Rourke, Pearse.

Match officials

Referee: Ruby Sykes

Assistants: Gareth Dunn and Steven Walsh

Fourth Official: Aaron Ford

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Early opportunities for Charlton

Charlton earned two corners in quick succession during the opening minutes of the match, but the home side managed to clear the lively visitors’ early efforts.

Palace initially found it difficult to get the ball out of their own half. A free-kick taken by Molly Sharpe saw the Addicks look extremely dangerous in the box, with Demi Lambourne making an important save for the Eagles and preventing Charlton from taking an early lead.

Kaminski’s side suddenly presented a solid counter attack, but Elise Hughes’ 11th minute attempt was batted away by Sian Rogers. The game opened up as Palace soon had another chance to open the scoreline, but narrowly failed to do so. Hills’ side were once again quick to react, but chaos in front of goal saw another opportunity for the Addicks blocked.

The Eagles react

The Eagles came incredibly close to scoring the opener in the 20th minute. A neat cross from Shanade Hopcroft on the left, to new signing Isibeal Atkinson, saw the effort hit the side netting. Both sides appeared as vigorous in their defensive set-ups than they did upfront.

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Some impressive build-up play from Palace saw Rogers make another save. The strike was not enough to challenge the goalkeeper.

Lambourne also had her work cut out for her, clearing a scrappy finish from the Addicks. Both sides looked capable of scoring, but struggled to find the finishing touch. A great ball in from Melissa Johnson had no one to bring it home.

Palace found their composure after minimising the impact of a dominant start from their visitors, as Charlton’s backline remained cohesive. Bethany Roe made an impressive last-ditch tackle to deny a promising cross into the box for the home side.

The Addicks were awarded a controversial free-kick in a dangerous central area in the 36th minute, and Lambourne was called into action once again.

Play restarts

As the halfway point approached, the game saw a lengthy pause after Freya Godfrey sustained a worrying injury. Play was suspended whilst the No.14 was treated, and the clubs waited for an update on the condition of the 18-year-old.

The final minutes of the first half saw action at both ends of the pitch, with Kayleigh Green replacing Godfrey, but neither side was able to find the back of the net.

South London derby second half

It was still all to play for following an eventful first half of this South London derby. With both managers vocal on the touchline, Palace and Charlton continued to battle for a goal. A golden opportunity for Palace was missed by Atkinson as she miss-kicked and sent the ball well above the goal.

With Freda Ayisi replacing Kate Longhurst, and Mia Ross coming on for Carla Humphrey, the Addicks were determined to create more chances of value.

Palace made it increasingly difficult for the guests to do so, with a strong presence in and around the box from their defensive players. This time it was Charlton’s number 22, Roe, who sent her shot skyward.

Charlton open the scoring

The scoreline was finally opened by Charlton in the 63rd minute. Substitute Ayisi’s initial strike was denied by Lambourne, but the number nine was quick to shoot again. Her second go saw her find the back of the net. Roe showed her quality again here, working alongside Kayleigh Green to create impressively smooth build-up play despite a heavy presence from the Eagles. Green found Ayisi in the box from the right-hand side, setting her up to take the hard-fought lead.

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Kaminski made two changes to her side immediately following this setback. The head coach replaced Atkinson and Kirsten Reilly with Ria Percival and Araya Dennis.

Dennis showed a remarkable ability to get herself out of tight spaces, whilst keeping possession of the ball. The young winger looked threatening in front of goal, but Palace remained behind.

Suddenly, a brilliant ball over the top saw Lucy Watson, who was substituted on just minutes earlier, almost go one-on-one with the goalkeeper in the 86th minute. To the Eagles’ frustration, the offside flag was raised against her. They remained at a costly one-goal deficit as time started to run out.

The 89th minute saw Palace awarded a free kick not far outside of the box. Fliss Gibbons swung in a clean effort which was just off-target, landing to the right of the goalposts.

Charlton launched another dangerous counter, but Alexia Potter’s good and confident clearance kept the scoreline narrow.

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The six minutes of added time were not enough for Palace to produce a much-needed equaliser, with the stop-start nature of the game continuing to disrupt the rhythm of the home side.

This huge win for Charlton sees the club snatch the top spot from Sunderland in the league standings. The Addicks are now a point clear of their fellow title-contenders.

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