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Charlton Athletic 1 Queen's Park Rangers 0
Charlton Athletic were promoted to the National Division of the Premier League after a 1-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers at Thamesmead on Tuesday evening.
Barring freak results, they are also champions of the Southern Division after a run of eight wins in nine matches. Only Cardiff City can overtake them and the Welsh team would need to improve their goal difference by seventeen in two matches.
After a nervy first half in which Rangers, who needed the points to complete their escape from relegation, had gone close several times, a penalty converted by Gemma Bryan gave Charlton some breathing space on 46 minutes and the Addicks saw the match out, despite a couple of late scares.
Charlton nearly got an early breakthrough, but Rangers goalkeeper Emily Bourne made a good block to deny Bryan's shot on the turn from close in. Rangers immediately went very close, Carla Williams lobbing inches wide after being played in by Cherrelle Albert.
Bryan hit the side netting on 11 minutes but the match settled into a stalemate with defences on top. Grace Coombs hit a long range effort just wide for Charlton while Sophie Fogerty went close for Rangers.
On 41 minutes, a fine save by Megen Lynch prevented Rangers from taking the lead. Albert won a free kick 30 yards from goal and Beth Curtis took a quick shot bound for the far corner until the Charlton keeper fingertipped away at full stretch.
A penalty just over a minute after the break eased Charlton nerves somewhat. Fliss Gibbons won the ball cleverly on the left of the Rangers penalty area but was facing away from goal as she was bundled to the ground. Bryan scored then nearly added to her penalty conversion two minutes later but was foiled by a brave Bourne save at her feet.
Charlton were confined to long range efforts after that by a resolute Rangers back four but the West Londoners were unable to offer much in attack themselves until the final minute when two Curtis corners nearly brought a dramatic end to the match. Tammy Scrivens' header was scrambled away, then Curtis drove in a low ball which stuck the outside of the post.
The final whistle brought on lengthy and deserved celebrations for a promotion well earned by a very young squad. Only twelve goals conceded in eighteen games, unbeaten away from home with just three goals conceded and with the division's top scorer in Gemma Bryan, it is little wonder that Charlton have come out on top in this very tight division. Rangers, who pushed them all the way in this match, must wait till Sunday to see if they are safe or will need to go through the play-offs.
Charlton Athletic: Megen Lynch, Katie Flack, Stef Simmons, Kim Dixson, Francesca Ali, Becky Duggan, Jenny Newman, Grace Coombs, Fliss Gibbons, Gemma Bryan, Charley Clifford. Subs: Ciara Sherwood, Ellie Bailes, Pam McRoberts, Elizabeta Ejupi, Clare Goldsmith.
Queen's Park Rangers: Emily Bourne, Mel Bidewell, Seun Odeniyi, Tammy Scrivens, Nav Boparai, Hannah Curnow, Elly Maggs, Carla Williams, Cherrelle Albert, Beth Curtis, Sophie Fogarty. Subs: Louise Naylor, Jess Devoti, Vanessa Oppong, Rosie Kinvig, Tara O'Brien.
(Report by Patrick Higgins)
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