City Ladies Beat Charlton Again

Coventry City Ladies did the double over Charlton Athletic with a comfortable 2-0 win at Thamesmead to move back to the top of the FA Women's Premier League. 

Whereas the home win over the Addicks had been a scrappy affair settled by an opportunist strike by leading scorer Maz Gauntlett, this was an altogether more polished performance from a Sky Blues side that dominated for long periods. 

Charlton had their moments, Sue Wood was forced to make a diving two handed block to save from Cori Daniels' point blank header from Beckett's corner early on and the impressive Gemma Bryan fired wide midway through the first half.

But for the most part, the home goal was subjected to a peppering from a lively Coventry attack, with Charlton's young keeper Sarah Smith tested by Saulter, Sweetman-Kirk Dermody and Bartlett long before Jade Formaston put the visitors ahead in the 17th minute.

Kerry Bartlett won the ball on the right touchline and fed Dermody who advanced toward the edge of the box before squaring left to Formaston. Formo turned inside her marker and fired spectacularly into the top left corner from 22 yards to bag her third goal in as many games.

City kept up the momentum with a lot of possession and territorial advantage while Charlton were restricted to long balls in the direction of Gemma Bryan, who began to look increasingly frustrated as the half wore on as always there was Lynch or Steele to take the ball off her.  Bryan did manage to latch on to Gibbons pass close to half time, but with Lynch again closing her down she was only able to find the side netting.

Charlton had the advantage of the slope in the second half, but from the outset it was again the visitors that took control. Bartlett, Dermody and Saulter all had shots saved by Smith before Sweetman-Kirk doubled City's lead on 54 minutes with a diving header from Dermody's whipped in free kick.

The home side went close from a right hand corner when Daniels beat Wood for the only time in the game, only to see Milly Durrant clear off the line. Durrant promptly broke out at pace and some swift interplay took the ball back to the other end where Sweetman-Kirk drew the advancing keeper before side stepping her and side footing goalwards. This time it was Daniels to the rescue as she in turn scurried back to clear off the line. 

There was to be no respite for Smith. She did superbly well to tip an audacious 30 yard pile driver from Kerry Manley over the bar. She also did well to get two hands to Katy Ward's snapshot from the edge of the box but there was very little she knew about Sweetman-Kirk's dipping shot from wide left that thundered off the underside of the bar where Bartlett looked impeded as she tried to force home.

Simpkins too fired just over as the Sky Blues cranked up the pressure.

Charlton by now looked to have lost their will to compete, but they had an opportunity for a last minute consolation when Stenning played Bryan through but she could only shoot over under Lynch's challenge.

Sky Blues' boss Paul Cudby was enthusiastic about his side's performance, saying: "I thought we were very good. We were strong defensively and were decisive going forward. A huge amount of credit to the players for all making sure they stuck to the task throughout the game even when were ahead"

"To have got 20 points at this stage in the season is a great achievement and we're all absolutely chuffed. Hopefully we can keep things going and make the most of this momentum. We face Leeds and Sunderland over the coming weeks, which certainly won't be easy."

Team: Wood, Steele (Durrant 45), Ward, Simpkins, McKenna, Lynch, Manley, Saulter (Farrow 75), Dermody, Bartlett, Sweetman-Kirk, Formaston (Barber 65)  SNU: McKenna, Morgan

The Charlton view:

Elsewhere, Sunderland beat Watford 5-0, Leeds drew 2-2 with Barnet and Reading beat Nottingham Forest 6-1.

City Ladies are at home to Leeds United next Sunday. Kick off at Bedworth United is at 2pm.

City Ladies Reserves beat Manchester City 1-0 at Westwood Heath.