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Charlton Athletic 1 (Aluko 57)
att: 8,567; at West Ham United F.C.
It was a case of 'third time lucky' for Charlton Athletic as they won the F.A.Women's Cup for the first time, thanks to a second half strike from Eniola Aluko to settle a tense match played in very warm conditions and on a superb playing surface at Upton Park.
Charlton had been dealt a blow before the game as key midfielder Katie Chapman was ruled out with a broken hand, meaning that Jess Smith partnered Sian Williams in midfield. Everton employed talented youngster Chantelle Parry as a lone striker with Kelly McDougall playing just behind.
It took three minutes for the first shot on goal, Jess Smith, shooting over at full stretch from around ten yards. At the other end, Everton produced a good move with Fara Williams finding Amy Kane on the left, her cross was headed away from danger by Emma Coss.
Rachel Unitt was just off target with a header from a Williams free kick but opportunities for either team remained scarce in the opening stages until the 22nd minute. Becky Easton had momentarily left the pitch with a head injury and it took a great tackle from Lindsay Johnson to foil Eniola Aluko as she sped into the area. Charlton quickly won back possession and Jo Broadhurst fed Aluko, who was tackled by Johnson but the ball ran loose to Ann-Marie Heatherson whose left foot shot came back off the inside of the post.
Charlton continued to look the more likely to break the deadlock and it took a good double save from Danielle Hill to keep Everton on level terms. The England under-19 goalkeeper slid out to block from Aluko before getting up to save the rebound from Heatherson.
Heatherson should have put Charlton in front in the 34th minute, heading wide from point blank range when unmarked after a great run and cross from Aluko. However at the other end it took a great piece of defending from Karen Hills to deny Kane the opening goal from a Chantelle Parry cross, a goalline clearance foiling the Everton midfielder.
Parry tested Pauline Cope from 20 yards as Everton began to enjoy their best spell of the half but the first end was to end goalless, with Charlton the more frustrated of the two sides.
The desperately unlucky Heatherson struck the woodwork once again within a minute of the restart, this time a firm header from a Danielle Murphy cross came back off the post. Everton hit back almost straightaway, Parry threading a neat ball inside the full back and into the path of Kane but Cope came off her line to smother well.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 57th minute and it was the moment that Charlton had waited for. Emma Coss clipped the ball over the Everton defence and Aluko burst into the area, Hill momentarily hesitated when coming off her line and the Charlton striker tucked the ball past her to give her side the lead.
A great piece of skill from Parry led to a glorious chance for Everton to reply quickly. The young striker turned and beat Hills before speeding into the area, her shot was blocked and fell for Jody Handley but the ball would not sit right for the England winger and Cope came out to block, Parry putting the loose ball wide.
Cope saved from Kelly McDougall as Everton continued their good response to going behind but it was Charlton who were to pass up the chance to double their lead as Aluko sidefooted wide after good work from Jodian Clarke.
Dominique Sinclair-Chambers blocked a well struck Handley shot from a corner as Everton tried to force Charlton back but the Addicks always looked dangerous on the break, Aluko shooting over from distance after racing onto a clearance.
Everton brought on Jenny Jones as a late substitute and pushed Handley up front and she forced a save from Cope with a right foot effort. Cope also palmed a Williams free kick over the bar but more Aluko trickery at the other end saw her get to the line and cross for Clarke, Unitt intercepted with a fine tackle and the ball ran loose for Broadhurst whose shot was superbly saved at full stretch by Hill.
In the dying minutes, Murphy dragged an effort wide after being set up by Clarke but Charlton successfully closed the game out to earn their deserved victory.
Charlton: Pauline Cope, Casey Stoney, Dominique Sinclair-Chambers, Emma Coss, Karen Hills, Sian Williams, Danielle Murphy, Jess Smith, Ann-Marie Heatherson, Jo Broadhurst, Eniola Aluko. Subs: Jodian Clarke (for Heatherson 68 mins), Alexa Hunn, Ebony Cabey-Gooden, Leanne Reidy, Sarah Snare.
Everton: Danielle Hill, Becky Easton, Rachel Unitt, Fara Williams, Sammy Britton, Lindsay Johnson, Jody Handley, Leanne Duffy, Chantelle Parry, Kelly McDougall, Amy Kane. Subs: Michelle Evans (for Duffy 65 mins), Jenny Jones (for Kane 85 mins), Jayne Eadie, Cathy Jones, Tammy Byrne.
Photo - Empics
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