Report by Dwayne Ellis, photos by Julian Hart
The 2013 Women’s Cup Final was a closely fought contest in wet conditions, with little to separate the teams over the whole 90 minutes. Charlton enjoyed more possession in the early stages where both teams looked to get the ball down and press play as the weather worsened.
Charlton took the lead after 30 minutes with a wonder goal by Harley Bennett. The lively central midfielder picked up a loose ball 30 yards from goal before striking a sweet half-volley into the roof of the net, drifting over the outstretched fingers of keeper Charlotte Stephens.
Gillingham fought back and pressed for an equaliser and were rewarded for their pressure on on the stroke of half time. Danielle Carlton whipped a fierce free kick into the box which found Amy Taylor who slipped her marker to poke the ball past keeper Kelly Cooper.
In the end, it took a sublime strike from former Addick Jade Keogh to decide the tie. The left-sided winger picked up the ball after a slick pass from Emma Tune, to unleash a wonderful effort. Her shot sailed into the top right hand corner leaving the Charlton keeper helpless and Gills fans celebrating.
With 30 minutes still left, there was plenty left in the tie to play for. Charlton could have taken the lead with two outstanding opportunities moments after the Gills took the lead.
As Charlton chased an equaliser, Stephens saved a powerful 30-yards effort and the rebound was scuffed wide, while Emma Wood made a vital challenge after Gemma Shepherd threaded a ball through on goal.
Charlton’s pressure was unable to bring an equaliser and the match ended with Gillingham winning 2-1. The Cup has been shared between these clubs over the last 4 seasons but this was the first time that either side has been able to retain the cup. Gillingham are now level with Millwall and Charlton on 3 Cup victories since the start of the Women’s Cup back in 2004.
Charlton Athletic Reserves 1 (Bennett)
Gillingham FC 2 (Taylor, Keogh)
Greatness Park, Sevenoaks. Attendance 371
Gillingham: Charlotte Stephens, Lauren Williams, Emma Wood, Jay Blackie, Rachel Ahern, Vicky Ashton-Jones, Natalie Crinean(c) (Deanna Cooper), Emma Tune, Amy Taylor (Nicole Pepper), Danielle Carlton, Jade Keogh
Unused Subs: Danielle Farmer, Kallie Balfour, Ruth Jackson
Charlton Athletic Res: Kelly Cooper, Louise Duffy, Stef Simmons, Alice Singyard, Attena Yennaris (c), Harley Bennet, Katie Hardaker (Gemma Shepherd), Liz Ejupi, Kylie Manktelow, Annabel Prior (Megan Chandler), Jenny Newman
Unused Subs: Courtney Shanly, Emily Symonds, Gemma Hyland