BY MITUL SAMJI
Goals from Beth Lumsden and Jess King secured Charlton a 2-1 win over Durham in the FA Women’s Championship.
The Addicks maintained their unbeaten start under new head coach Karen Hills while Durham suffered just their second league defeat of the season.
Lee Sanders’ side registered the first effort on goal when Abby Holmes’ powerful strike from the edge of the box was palmed away by Eartha Cumings.
Moments later, Beth Hepple took aim with a long-range effort which was held by the Addicks goalkeeper.
In the 24th minute, Charlton broke the deadlock after Ella Powell took advantage of Durham’s sloppiness and sent in a low cross towards King, who squared the ball to Lumsden to slot home.
The visitors could have equalised on the half-hour mark as Molly Sharpe whipped an excellent ball forward to Hepple, whose attempted chip was expertly kept out by Cumings.
Hills’ side almost doubled their lead before half-time as Alice Griffiths’ close-range effort slid narrowly wide of the post and Charlton were dominant at the start of the second half, Angie Dunbar-Bonnie, Powell and King all seeing efforts blocked by the Durham backline.
With 20 minutes remaining, the pivotal second goal arrived as Dee Barley’s short backpass gifted the ball to Shauna Vassell and she teed up King, who tapped home to make it 2-0.
Durham pulled a goal back in the 88th minute through Lauren Briggs, who lashed home following good work by Lily Crosthwaite to set up a nervy end to the game, but Charlton held firm and did enough to earn a valuable three points.
Hills said: “We were outstanding against a very good side. We knew it was going to be tough but the girls applied themselves. We rode our luck a little bit in the first 10-15 minutes but ultimately, it was a fair result.
“Durham put us under a lot of pressure and our two centre-halves had good games – they worked really well together.
“The first goal gave us a little bit of confidence and we started to become braver on the ball.
“There’s no hiding in the fact that we were defending, we couldn’t seem to get out of our defensive mode and couldn’t get the ball forward. But as the game went on in the first half, the forward players allowed us to get up the pitch more and took pressure off our backline.
“We had to keep believing in what we were trying to do. We knew that Durham had mistakes in their game if we put them under pressure at the right time.”
To follow the action and sign up for The FA Player’s live Barclays FA Women’s Super League coverage visit womenscompetitions.thefa.com
PICTURES: KEITH GILLARD
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