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Oxford Utd 1 Charlton Athletic 2 (aet)
Charlton Athletic moved into the Fifth Round of the Vitality Women's FA Cup with an extra time victory by two goals to one over Oxford United.
A superb 25-yard shot by sub Katie Godden right at the end of the first period of extra time settled the tie in favour of the FA Women's Championship club but they were pushed all the way by the FAWNL Southern Division hosts who fought for every ball and matched their higher tier opponents for long periods.
Charlton started with great purpose and penned the home team back, moving the ball crisply down both flanks. They took the lead with a well constructed move, Charley Clifford releasing a pass which sent Ella Powell clear on the right. A teasing first time cross was pushed away by Oxford keeper Rose Kite at full stretch but Beth Lumsden was on hand to volley home from a tight angle on 16 minutes.
The U's were given a massive boost when Daisy McLachlan pressured the Charlton defence into an error for an equaliser on 23 minutes. This seemed to give the home team greater belief and they started to win more tackles and move the ball more rapidly through midfield to put the visiting defence under pressure. Lauren Haynes sent in a couple of dangerous corners which were well defended and honours were definitely even at the break.
Charlton started the second half as they had the first, threatening through Jess King, Powell and Eisha Sulola whilst Lois Heuchan moved forward effectively from left wing back. Several corners were forced but the Oxford defence, with Gemma Sims and Cat Beaver at its heart, were more than equal to them.
Gradually, the U's began to threaten a little more often, turning the Charlton defence with early forward passes. The Addicks defence was generally comfortable but there was one major scare on 72 minutes when another Haynes corner was helped on and King had to hook a goalbound effort off the line.
Nothing could separate the sides through the final minutes of normal time and indeed well into extra time. Both teams had used substitutes to freshen up their attacks, Taome Oliver looking dangerous for the hosts and Godden proving a lively addition to the Charlton front line.
There seemed little danger when Godden took possession moving from left to right some 30 yards from goal on 105 minutes. However, she produced a clean lofted right foot strike which flew high beyond Kite for what proved to be the winner.
Hard as the hosts tried to find an equaliser in the second period, the ball never quite ran kindly to threaten Eartha Cumings' goal and Charlton saw out the game very effectively for a hard earned victory and a fifth round tie away to Blackburn Rovers. Oxford can be proud of a highly committed display showing excellent fitness and teamwork given the circumstances of their forced absence from competition.
Oxford Utd: Rose Kite, Gemma Sims, Lauren Haynes, Cat Beaver, Kayleigh Hines, Daisy McLachlan, Carly Johns, Emily Allen, Georgia Brown, Georgia Hayes, Hannah MacKenzie. Subs: Paris Sercombe, Emily Wallace, Cheryl Williams, Sophie Baker, Taome Oliver, Lily Stevens, Brittany Jeal, Steph Bent, Billie French.
Charlton Athletic: Eartha Cumings, Alice Griffiths, Grace Coombs, Charley Clifford, Jess King, Ella Powell, Jaime Gotch, Angie Dunbar-Bonnie, Elisha Sulola, Lois Heuchan, Beth Lumsden. Subs: Olivia Smith, Ellie Dorey, Vyan Sampson, Jenna Legg, Simone Eligon, Kara Fordjour, Katie Godden.
(REPORT BY PATRICK HIGGINS)
Photos by www.jamesprickett.co.uk:
(top) Hannah McKenzie tries to keep Beth Lumsden at bay
(middle) Elisha Sulola gets past a challenge from Georgia Brown
(bottom) Lois Heuchan tries to block a shot from Billie French
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