Charlton Athletic 9-0 Herne Bay - Conceding nine in a game is heartbreaking, says Herne Bay boss Anthony Deer

Wednesday 27th January 2016
Charlton Athletic 9 – 0 Herne Bay
Location Bayliss Avenue, Thamesmead, London SE28 8NJ
Kickoff 27/01/2016 19:45

Ryman Women’s Cup Sponsored by Boux Semi-Final
Wednesday 27th January 2016
Stephen McCartney reports from Bayliss Avenue

CHARLTON ATHLETIC manager Jeremy Parsons says he’s expecting another good Ryman Women’s Cup Final against Tottenham Hotspur – a repeat of last year’s Final.

The holders booked their place in the Final after outclassing a Herne Bay side that play two levels lower.

Charlton Athletic went into the game sitting in third-place in The FA Women’s Premier League Southern Division, having won 10, drawn two and lost a couple of their league games.

Herne Bay sit in fourth-place in the London & South East Regional Women’s Football League and have collected seven wins and four draws and are 22 points adrift of unbeaten league leaders AFC Wimbledon.

Charlton Athletic have eased their way to the Final, having beaten Billericay Town (11-4) and Harlow Town (10-0), while Herne Bay defeated Carshalton Athletic (4-0) to reach this stage of the competition.

The gulf in class was clearly evident as Charlton Athletic romped to a 9-0 victory in front of 71 fans at Bayliss Avenue.

It took the Addicks 21 minutes to open the floodgates through left-back Katie Flack, but the impressive Gemma Shepherd and Kit Graham added goals before half-time.

Charlton Athletic’s far superior fitness and quality told in the second half as the hosts rattled in another six goals.

It took Stefanie Simmons only 25 seconds to add the fourth goal of the game before Graham – who scored a club record 54 goals last season – added her second of the night, her 18th goal of the season.

Shepherd scored her second just before the hour-mark, taking her tally to 21 for the season, before Jenny Newman came off the bench to add a couple, sandwiched by another goal by another substitute in the shape of Nikita Whinnett.

“The scoreline flatters us, there’s quite a difference between our level and Herne Bay,” said Parsons afterwards.

“Fair play to Herne Bay, they carried on going. They didn’t just give up. I felt that we did score some good goals that we worked on in training. The targets were set to play that way and the scoreline shows you the success really.

“Fair play to Herne Bay, they’ve travelled up to us as well. The fitness levels you could tell straight away, after the first half that they were going to show but I’m sure they’ll do quite well in their respective league but yes it was a game that we have to play.”

Herne Bay manager Anthony Deer admitted he was expecting a tough night in Thamesmead.

“Obviously being two leagues below Charlton was always going to be difficult,” he said.

“We’ve played Gillingham in this competition in the last three seasons and it was always going to be difficult.

“We knew we weren’t expecting to win. We didn’t play particularly well.  We kept giving the ball away cheaply. A lot of the goals came from us giving the bad possession away but we worked hard.  They’re a lot fitter than us but they play at a high level.”

It took The Addicks just 120 seconds to register their first shot on target.

Shepherd stroked her right-footed free-kick straight into Herne Bay keeper Sarah Cooper from 30-yards, a comfortable save by Herne Bay’s best player on the night.

Herne Bay were gifted a rare opportunity inside seven minutes when Charlton Athletic defender Rosie Paye played a poor ball out of defence straight into Danni Farmer, who took a touch before hitting her right-footed shot over the crossbar from 25-yards.

“Games like this we’re not going to get many chances, we knew it’s going to be backs to the wall,” admitted Deer, who has led the four-year-old team to six trophies in three seasons.

“The game plan was to try to frustrate them and we did that for the first 15 minutes and then we conceded the first goal.”

Farmer has arrived at Herne Bay from Gillingham, who now play just one level above the Winch’s Field based outfit.

“We’re very lucky this year, she couldn’t commit to Gillingham’s training three or four nights a week,” explained Deer.

“Having her is a bonus. She can’t play every weekend, she’s not available this weekend, but Danni is a good signing when she’s fit but she’s not fit. She can do 50 minutes and then struggles. She’s just been out of the game a long time.”

Flack cut the ball onto her right foot and her pass was flicked on by Shepherd’s feet inside the box and Kimberley Dixson was denied by Cooper, who smothered the ball low to her right.

Central midfielder Ellie Baxter played the ball into Shepherd, who clipped her right-footed shot into Cooper’s gloves from 25-yards.

Shepherd was certainly Charlton’s most impressive player during the first half and she hit a speculative drive from 25-yards, which was comfortably caught by the visiting keeper.

Cooper pulled off a fine diving save as her defence went missing, following Shepherd’s sublime defensive splitting pass.

Left-winger Simmons was in acres of space on the left-hand side of the box and her left-footed drive, which was heading towards the far corner, was palmed away by the diving goalkeeper’s left-hand.

Sadly for Cooper and Herne Bay, Charlton Athletic opened the floodgates with their first goal timed at 20:32.

Shepherd was once again the architect as her shot from inside the penalty area was blocked and the ball fell nicely to Flack, who found the bottom left-hand corner.

“Unusual really that she was that high up the pitch because she’s our left-back,” said Parsons.

“Fair play to her. When she gets in front of goal, even in training, she does normally finish so yes well done Katie and getting up there.”

Deer added: “Basic errors, a lack of communication cost us pretty much nine goals. 

“There were some great finishes, don’t get me wrong and some great football that Charlton played in the second half but two of the first three goals, we’ve given them.

“They’ve (their nine goals) all come from us giving the ball away in cheap areas and that’s the difference.

“Charlton kept hold of the ball. We didn’t really make them work hard to get the ball back. We gifted them the goal but that’s the difference in level and quality.”

Baxter played the ball up into Shepherd, whose right-footed chip looped past the right-hand post, before Cooper pulled off her second fine save.

An unmarked Shepherd cracked a stunning shot on the turn from within the left-hand side of the penalty area, which was destined to scream into the far corner – before Cooper dived to her left to push the ball away towards safety.

Charlton Athletic didn’t miss many sitters during the game but they squandered a great chance on the half-hour mark.

Right-back Ruby Southgate played a lovely pass down the touchline to winger Amy Howlett, who whipped in a great cross towards the near post, only for Shepherd to plant her free header over the bar from six-yards.

But Shepherd was to score with her next headed chance, as Charlton Athletic raced into a 3-0 lead inside 36 minutes.

Flack played a short pass inside to Simmons as the pair linked up well down the left.

Simmons was given time and space to float over a deep cross towards the far post for striker Shepherd to direct her downward header into the bottom near corner from six-yards.

“We ask Stef to deliver balls into the box early aiming for the far post so it’s just nice for someone to get on the end of it,” said Parsons.

Deer added: “The second goal was from a cross, a header at the far post.  Defenders or the goalkeeper didn’t talk, didn’t shout, scream, whatever.”

Herne Bay created an opening for themselves in the 35th minute but Farmer sliced her 30-yard free-kick past the right-hand post.

Good link up play down the right involving Southgate and Howlett saw the ball come in low but Baxter’s flicked shot was gobbled up by Cooper as the ball trickled towards the bottom far corner.

Shepherd’s right-footed shot on the turn from 22-yards brought a comfortable save from the Herne Bay keeper.

A good turn and run by Graham saw her tee up a chance for Dixson, who poked her shot harmlessly past the right-hand post, before Charlton Athletic scored their third goal after 41 minutes.

It was a good run from skipper Graham who cut inside and drilled her left-footed shot underneath Cooper, who got something to the powerful shot but was unable to deny the striker from 12-yards.

“It was a good ball into Kit, a nice weighted pass into her, enabled her to get her turning. The momentum of the turn took her on, set her up and she struck that with some power as well – so good goal really,” said Parsons.

Deer briefly added: “Third goal we’ve given the ball away.  The defender turned her back, she’s cut in and that’s what happens.”

Cooper pulled off her best save of the night just before half-time.

Baxter released Howlett down the right, but a poor initial touch should have been cleared by the Herne Bay defence. The winger managed to get the ball into the box and Shepherd shrugged off Bethany Nugent and powered her shot towards the top near corner, only for Cooper to stand tall and beat the ball away.

The goalkeeper earnt praise from both mangers for her immense first half performance.

Deer said: “Outstanding! She’s been outstanding all season. Defensively we’re not used to letting nine goals in. I think we’ve conceded 13 goals in the league all season so conceding nine in a game is heartbreaking.”

Parsons added: “To be fair, their keeper pulled off some really good saves. It could’ve been a lot more. She kept the scoreline down so I’ll take my hat off to them, all 11 of them didn’t give up. They carried on, they pressed us, they made it hard for us at times.”

Charlton Athletic went in with a three-goal lead and both managers were asked their thoughts at the break.

“Basically, we just went over the things that we worked on, on the training ground (at Sparrows Lane) the night before,” said Parsons.

“I felt we were forcing it a few times so basically I wanted them to look after the ball a bit better in certain areas and it seemed to happen for them.”

Deer added: “I was a little bit harsh on them because I know how well they can actually play!

“We’ve had four really good seasons. We’re in our fourth year. We had glimpses of what we could do. We kept the ball a couple of times with three or four passes. We looked good and we got into the final third but we just didn’t do it enough today so it’s just frustrating.

“The different levels were a big factor tonight.”

Herne Bay got off to the worst possible start, leaking the fifth goal after only 25 seconds.

Shepherd released Howlett down the right and she whipped in a low cross which flashed across the face of goal for Simmons to ghost in before slamming the ball into the back of the net.

Parsons said: “We’ve been working with Stef quite a bit on forward play to actually make the box when the ball’s on the opposite side and she done quite well tonight. I was pleased for her, pleased with her goal.”

Deer admitted: “They might’ve taken my team talk at half-time to heart and wasn’t really concentrating and was moaning and complaining about what I said. I’ m only harsh on them because I know how well they can actually play!”

Dixson played Shepherd in behind the Herne Bay defence, but a well-timed tackle from behind by central defender Debbie Foster ensured the ball trickled behind for a corner – Charlton Athletic were to win the corner count by 14-0 in the end.

Charlton Athletic made it five in the 51st minute, as signs that Herne Bay were now really struggling came to light.

Dixson clipped a ball over the top, which should have been headed away by Herne Bay skipper Rachel Tracy inside the box, but Graham latched onto the chance like a predator, cut inside and placed her left-footed shot past the advancing keeper into the net from 10-yards.

“Anything in between penalty spot and the goal-line I expect kit to hit the target and if not maybe score. That’s from her record from last year (scoring 54 goals),” said Parsons.

Deer said: “A lot of goals were scored so it’s very hard to go through each one of them!

“The tiredness. The last 20-25 minutes you are always going to struggle. We’ve struggled in the past against big teams like Gillingham because of our fitness levels.”

Nugent powered a free-kick towards the Charlton Athletic penalty area from the half-way line and the ball was cleared out to Kate Foster, who sliced her first time shot harmlessly wide of the goal from 25-yards.

But Herne Bay were facing up to the reality that they were 6-0 down with 57 minutes gone.

If this was a boxing fight referee Antony Andrews would have stopped it at this point as Herne Bay were completely out of their depth.

Flack clipped a lovely ball over the top to put Shepherd through on goal and she cut into the penalty area and drilled her low right-footed shot across the keeper, the ball nestling inside the bottom far corner.

“Gem’s quite deadly one-on-one’s if I’m honest,” hailed Parsons.

“If she has a little bit of time to think about it then yes, she does what comes naturally to goalscorers in front and then she’ll find the corners, which she did. A good goal, a good finish.”

Deer said: “It was a great strike. The last three goals were very well-worked goals,” before adding, “The last four or five goals were well-worked goals.

“If we were a little bit fitter we might’ve been able to deal with them but that’s how it goes.”

Substitute Newman scored the goal of the game when she bagged the seventh goal of the night in the 65th minute.

She latched onto a pass and danced her way past three Herne Bay defenders to reach the penalty area and drilled her right-footed rasping drive high over the keeper’s right shoulder into the top far corner of the net from 15-yards.

Parsons said: “I think with Jenny up top, she’s intelligent with her runs puts her in those positions.

“She does make some really good runs and tonight she did as well. A good confidence boost for her obviously to score a goal like that. It was a good finish.”

“Another great strike, not much I can say. They’ve been shooting on target, Sarah can only do so much in goal,” came Deer’s response.

Three Herne Bay players (Amber Guyatt, Carly Farrow and Debbie Foster) went down with knocks during the last 20 minutes as Charlton Athletic continued to impress with right-winger Howlett putting in some lovely crosses.

Newman played Howlett in behind the Herne Bay defence but the winger sliced her shot wide.

Shepherd then turned provider for Newman, whose left-footed shot forced Cooper to dive low to her left to make the save.

Southgate’s dinked pass put Newman through on goal but Cooper came off her line to smother the ball at the striker’s feet as the ball rolled behind for a corner.

Untroubled at the back throughout, central defender Grace Coombs ventured forward in the last 14 minutes to hit a first time 25-yarder which was caught by Cooper.

Charlton Athletic produced a fine move to make it a great eight with 79 minutes on the clock.

Substitute Samantha Pittuck fed the ball to Baxter who released Howlett, who whipped in a deep cross towards the far post which was headed home by substitute Whinnett from six-yards, her ninth goal of the campaign.

“Again Nikita’s playing on the wrong side, she normally plays on the right hand side but again we’ve asked her, whoever goes down which side to make sure someone’s on the far stick to actually put the ball in,” said Parsons.

Deer said: “Tiredness towards the end. It’s difficult. It’s one of those ones where it’s only a matter of when are they going to score another goal?”

Referee Anthony Andrews blew the final whistle a second after Herne Bay kicked off after conceding the ninth goal at the death.

Southgate played Howlett in behind the defence down the right and she centred for Newman to notch her ninth goal of the season, poking the ball into the bottom far corner of the net despite Kate Foster sliding in, in her attempt to make a last-ditch block.

Parsons was full of praise for Howlett and the quality of her crossing.

“That’s a thing we have been working on,” Parsons said.

“A lot of what you saw tonight was what’s been done on the training ground, just things that we thought we were lacking in the team.

“Even first half I thought Amy worked hard and put a load of balls in but her crosses into the box second half were a lot better.”

Reflecting on Newman’s finish, Parsons added: “She will get on things if you put them in the box for her. Also with the confidence of the first goal it gives you that to push on and try to get a second and a third.”

Deer was just glad to hear the final whistle.

“We always concede in the last minute against the stronger teams because our legs have given up,” admitted the Bay boss.

“I’ve made the three subs, people are struggling because of the pace of the game.

“She thought it was an own-goal but she’s adamant she didn’t touch it. So there you go, nine goals, some of them could’ve been avoided.  I think three or four of them we’ve given the ball away so we’ve gifted them the goal.  Upon reflection it could’ve probably been that scoreline, if it wasn’t for Sarah in goal.

“Tonight was pretty much a training session for the girls, a fitness session and football rolled in one.”

Deer takes his side to play third-from-bottom Aylesford in the league on Sunday.

“Aylesford are no mugs, they’re going to be strong. We’ve got to make sure we bounce back from this. This (defeat) doesn’t bother the girls too much because it’s not a competition we’re likely to win,” admitted Deer.

“The competitions that you’ve got a chance of winning like the Kent Cup (playing league rivals London Corinthians at Maidstone United on Friday 1 April 2015) or the League Cup or anything like that in the past.  They’re the ones that matter, they’re the ones that hurt if you lose.

“When you’re playing these big teams with plenty of experience, we’ve seen how far we’ve gone as a club.  We’ve only been a club for four years. Charlton have been around for a very long time and they’re always going to attract players around this area.  We’re getting there, we’re slowly going in the right direction. It’s going to take a little bit of time to reach these sorts of levels of fitness and things like that.”

Charlton Athletic, meanwhile, are 12 points adrift of leaders Brighton & Hove Albion although Parson’s side have four games in hand.

They can leapfrog over second-placed Cardiff City with a home win on Sunday.

“Cardiff are a good footballing side – so are we – so it’s going to be two good teams going at it. I’ll be looking to pick up three points,” said Parsons.

“The league, at the moment as we haven’t played league games, is a little bit false because Brighton have played four more than us I believe so they’re 12 points in front but that’s what happens.

“We’ve got to catch up to do and we’ve got to make sure we collect three points every time we play in the league to stay with them.”

Tottenham Hotspur, meanwhile, have beaten Enfield Town (4-1), Gillingham (5-3) and West Ham United (5-0) to reach the Ryman Women’s Cup Final for the second successive season.

Parsons said: “Tottenham have been strengthening the last three or four weeks. We get on quite well with Tottenham. We know what to expect so really it should be another good Cup Final.”

Charlton Athletic: Megen Lynch, Ruby Southgate, Katie Flack, Kimberley Dixson (Samantha Pittuck 58), Rosie Paye, Grace Coombs, Amy Howlett, Ellie Baxter, Kit Graham (Jenny Newman 52), Gemma Shepherd, Stefanie Simmons (Nikita Whinnett 63).
Subs: Charlie Clifford, Alex Baker

Goals: Katie Flack 21, Gemma Shepherd 36, 57, Kit Graham 41, 51, Stefanie Simmons 46, Jenny Newman 65, 90, Nikita Whinnett 79

Herne Bay: Sarah Cooper, Emma Brown, Alex Roy, Bethany Nugent (Emily Brown 63), Debbie Foster, Kate Foster, Carly Farrow, Harriett Chapman, Amber Guyatt, Danni Farmer (Mollie Proctor 60), Rachel Tracy (Rebecca Longley 52).

Attendance: 71
Referee: Mr Anthony Andrews (Erith)
Assistants: Mr Silvester Aina (West Drayton, Middlesex) & Mr Alan Escudier (Belvedere)