The Capital Women’s Senior Cup final was played on Sunday on Bedfont Sports FC’s superb 3G surface. This trophy is competed for by teams affiliated to the Amateur Football Alliance, London, Surrey and Middlesex FAs. This year, Middlesex FA was responsible for organising this final.
Both of this season’s finalists, Charlton Athletic, the holders and Crystal Palace play in the FA Women’s Premier League. They produced a well contested and skilful match, which was a credit to both teams, especially so because of the excessively hot conditions. The goal, which gave Charlton Athletic a 2-1 victory, was scored in added time at the end of the 90 minutes.
Charlton went on the attack immediately and forced a corner in the opening minute. Palace keeper, Megen Lynch averted the danger by falling on the ball. Palace retaliated but a dangerous ball across the Charlton goal area failed to attract a touch. A shot by Charlton’s Grace Coombs, following a corner, was charged down by Palace midfielder, Ellie Bailes.
Charlton were awarded a penalty for a handball in the 9th minute. However, Megen guessed the direction of Charlotte Lee’s kick and pushed the ball onto the post, from where it was scrambled clear.
A long free kick by Charlton’s Nicole Pepper was headed wide by Charlotte Lee and at the other end, Megan Chandler’s volley was charged down.
Referee Costache allowed the first of the welcome water breaks after 24 minutes. On the resumption of play, Charlotte Lee was fouled in a wide position. The resulting free kick, taken by Charlotte Gurr didn’t attract a connection in the penalty box.
Both teams made chances as the half progressed. A free kick from out wide by Palace’s Pam McRoberts was comfortably taken by Katie Startup. Palace’s Gemma Bryan worked her way through the Charlton defence before eventually being dispossessed by Chloe Brunton-Wilde. Megen Lynch beat Charlton’s Georgia Griffin to a dangerous through ball.
Lilli Maple fed Gemma Bryan but the Palace striker was foiled at close range by keeper Katie Startup.
The last action before the interval centred around a free kick awarded to Palace, around 10 yards outside the Charlton box, after Ellie Bailes had been brought down. Ciara Sherwood’s fierce shot cleared the cross bar, however.
Half time score: Charlton Athletic 0 Crystal Palace 0
Crystal Palace forced a corner immediately after half time. Katie Startup did well to punch Pam McRoberts’ well flighted effort away. Pam then tried a long shot which flew over the bar.
However, Palace took the lead in the 56th minute. Ellie Bailes was brought down by Nicole Pepper, just outside the Charlton penalty area. After a lengthy period of treatment for Ellie, Gemma Bryan planted a brilliant free kick over the defensive wall into the net.
The Palace lead only lasted for 6 minutes. Charlton substitute Kit Graham received the ball from Georgia Griffin, worked her way through the defence and finished with a low shot.
Katie Startup made a very good double save. She stopped Megan Chandler’s fiercely struck long shot, which bounced away from her. Pam McRoberts tried to force the rebound home but was foiled by Katie’s brave dive at her feet.
A long free kick by Megan Chandler found Ellie Bailes in the Charlton box but the latter’s back header went wide. Katie Startup pushed a low cross shot, from newly introduced substitute Stef Simmons, for a corner. At the other end, good work by Kit Graham released Georgia Griffin, whose screaming shot passed narrowly wide.
The winning goal was scored in the 1st minute of the 9 minutes added time, which was due to injury stoppages (the bravery shown by both goalkeepers meant that they both needed treatment) and water breaks.
A corner, taken by Nicole Pepper, produced a scramble in the Palace goalmouth. The ball eventually went out to Olivia Lukasewich, whose well struck shot through the mass of players, from around 25 yards, took a deflection on its way into the net.
A diving Megen Lynch prevented Kit Graham increasing Charlton’s lead, after she had been put through by Charlotte Gurr. Pam McRoberts was cautioned for tripping Kit Graham, who was cutting in and was just short of the Palace penalty area.
The last action of the game was a long range shot, made in desperation by the hard working Pam, which flew far too high.
Result: Charlton Athletic 2 Crystal Palace 1
Referee Fernando Costache controlled the match very well. He was ably assisted by his 3 colleagues.
The Joint Guests of Honour, John Taylor the Middlesex FA Chairman, and Keith Boanas an Honorary Member of Surrey FA, presented the cup and medals after the game.
Our thanks are given to Bedfont Sports FC for allowing us the use of their fine facilities and for their superb hospitality. The attendance was 193.
CHARLTON ATHLETIC WOMEN: Katie Startup, Chloe Brunton-Wilde, Kim Dixson (capt) (Hannah Churchill 76), Olivia Lukasewich, Grace Coombs, Charley Clifford, Charlotte Gurr, Hope Nash, Nicole Pepper, Charlotte Lee (Kit Graham 50) and Georgia Griffin (Daisy Monaghan 98).
Unused substitutes: Flo Jackson and Georgia Pearch
Head Coach: Riteesh Mishra Coach: James Marrs Assistant Coach: Josh Oathman.
CRYSTAL PALACE LADIES: Megen Lynch, Pam McRoberts, Tia Foreman, Ellie Bailes, Freya Holdaway (capt) (Stef Simmons 76), Ciara Sherwood (Ellie Stenning 88), Sarah Jones, Gemma Bryan, Lilli Maple (Jade Davenport 88), Ria Collins and Megan Chandler.
Unused substitutes: Rosie Paye, Mary Robinson.
Manager: Dean Davenport Assistant Manager: Richie Callaghan Coach: Kirk Stoneham.
REFEREE: Fernando Lucian Costache ASSISTANT REFEREES: Mark Jacob and Paul Mitchell FOURTH OFFICIAL: Daniel Maragh. All of the officials were from Middlesex FA.
Photos from the game are available below courtesy of Middlesex FA's matchday photographer, Chris Benn: