Charlton Athletic 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur - It's a tough one to take losing on penalties, admits Charlton Athletic boss Jeremy Parsons

Thursday 14th April 2016
Charlton Athletic 0 – 0 Tottenham Hotspur
Location Cheshunt Stadium, Theobalds Lane, Cheshunt, Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire EN8 8RU
Kickoff 14/04/2016 19:30

(after extra time – Tottenham Hotspur win 4-3 on penalties)
Ryman Women’s Cup Final Sponsored by Boux Avenue
Thursday 14th April 2016
Stephen McCartney reports from Theobalds Lane

CHARLTON ATHLETIC manager Jeremy Parsons says he will be looking for revenge over Tottenham Hotspur after losing their grip on the Ryman Women’s Cup after losing a penalty-shoot out at the end of an uninspiring 120 minutes of football.

Kim Dixson and Gemma Shepherd both missed from the spot as Tottenham Hotspur deservedly claimed the silverware for the first time after winning 4-3 after 10 penalties.

“There’s a lot to come out of it,” said Parsons after the game as the rain fell down on Tottenham’s parade.

“It’s obviously a tough one to take losing on penalties but at the end of the day it’s a lottery. Someone’s got to win it. It happens, that’s what happens in football.

“We knew it was always going to be (tight). I thought we finished stronger in extra-time if I’m honest.

“We had a chance right at the end but yes, it’s two good sides going at it, playing decent football, it’s good to see.”

Charlton Athletic arrived in Cheshunt sitting in second-place in The FA Women’s Premier League Southern Division on 43 points, 12 points clear of sixth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, having completed the double over their rivals.

Charlton Athletic won the competition at the first attempt by beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 after extra time at Ware last season.

Both sides comfortably reached the final by scoring a bag full of goals with The Addicks breezing past Billericay Town (11-4), Harlow Town (10-0) and Herne Bay 9-0) to defend their trophy while Tottenham Hotspur, who were watched by club former player Gary Mabbutt, now 54, defeated Enfield Town (4-1), Gillingham (5-3) and West Ham United (5-0), but neither side could find a clinical finish as both defences dominated a poor game.

A large crowd of 635 made it feel like a home game for Tottenham Hotspur, who play their home game at Cheshunt’s Theobalds Lane.

It took Tottenham Hotspur fourteen minutes to create the first chance of the game when Dixson lost possession and winger Bianca Baptiste’s right-footed drive from 30-yards was comfortably caught by Megen Lynch.

A dinked pass from Josie Green released Tottenham Hotspur striker Wendy Martin through on goal down the middle but the striker sliced her shot wide from 25-yards.

Charlton Athletic created their first opening after 22 minutes, forcing a fine save from Toni Anne Wayne.

Winger Nikita Whinnett released striker Kit Graham down the right and she swept in a cross into the penalty area. Ellie Baxter, with her back to goal, laid the ball back for Gemma Shepherd to hit a looping shot towards goal from 15-yards, which was pushed over the crossbar by the keeper’s outstretched left-hand.

“It’s about taking chances, everyone knows what it’s about football, it’s about taking chances,” said Parsons.

“We hit the target, the keeper’s made a good save. Fair play, she’s made a good save.”

Whinnett tried her luck with a right-footed drive from 25-yards, which bounced into the hands of Wayne, as clear cut chances were rare.

Graham went in search of her 27th goal of the season when she danced past two Tottenham players inside the box but her dink was easily collected by Wayne.

Tottenham Hotspur went close to breaking the stalemate in the 35th minute.

A poor clearance from Lynch towards her central defender Grace Coombs was intercepted by Martin, who laid the ball out to an unmarked Rianna-Devi Soobadoo, whose angled drive was headed off the line by quick thinking Sam Pittuck.

“I saw that she could’ve so easily saved that with her hands but I’m glad she didn’t,” admitted Parsons.

“She’s sensible, she’s used her head. It’s a defender’s thing, they guard the goal and she’s done her job.”

Graham struck a deep cross into the Tottenham box where Whinnett looped her right-footed shot past the right-hand post from 17-yards.

Charlton Athletic received a huge slice of luck inside the final five minutes of the first half when the crossbar came to their rescue.

Jenna Schillachi swung in the first corner of the game from the right and Martin rose to loop her header which caressed the top of the crossbar from six-yards and the ball was scrambled behind for a goal-kick.

“We know what her dangers are, obviously she’s quite tall, she’s a tall girl, one of her biggest assets is her heading,” Parsons said of striker Martin.

“We tried to mark her as close as we could but it’s very difficult to mark. She’s very good with her head in the air.”

Both sets of supporters hoped for vast improvement for the second half.

When asked what he told his players, Parsons replied: “Just to look after the ball a bit better really, step up to the mark.

“I can’t give away too much because we’re playing them again in a couple of weeks!”

Tottenham Hotspur created the first opening of the second half inside the opening three minutes when substitute Katie O’Leary cut the ball back for Kmita to whip in a cross from the left and all Soobadoo could do was loop the ball into Lynch’s hands.

Whinnett was released down the right and cracked her right-footed angled drive over the crossbar at the other end, as supporters hoped for a goal.

Tottenham Hotspur probed in the 50th minute through Green’s long ball down the line put through Baptiste, who watched her shot trickle across the keeper and past the far post.

Schillachi’s near post corner from the right wasn’t punched clear by Lynch and this allowed O’Leary to nip in bravely to direct her header harmlessly past the near post.

Charlton Athletic created their next chance in the 66th minute but Dixon picked up a loose ball to crack her shot on the turn which screamed just wide of the far post from 30-yards.

Parsons added: “Second half, we did what we did. We did what we had to do.  Again I thought we had a couple of good chances and also they did as well.

“I know what it was going to be like. It’s whoever takes their chances to be fair.”

Charlton Athletic keeper Lynch pulled off a vital save to deny Tottenham Hotspur the lead they deserved.

Baptiste swept a free-kick into the penalty area, Martin rose to flick the ball on for Schillachi’s header to be clawed to safety by Lynch, stretching high to her left.

“From where I looked from the side I called her to come and collect the cross to be fair, but she decided not to. She’s reacted to it. Yes, it was a good save,” added Parsons.

Tottenham skipper Schillachi swung in their seventh corner from the right and Martin, who was a threat in the air, planted her free header just over the crossbar from ten-yards in what was a great chance to smash the deadlock.

But Charlton Athletic almost completed a smash and grab raid when Graham broke free from her marker to stroke her left-footed drive towards the left-hand corner from 30-yards, Wayne diving to her right to push around the post.

“For me, I think they man-marked our best player on the pitch over the season (Kit Graham),” said Parsons.

“It was very difficult to get away from that. I thought Kit was man-marked all over the pitch if I’m honest but they’ve done their homework, we’ve did our homework. We nullified their wingers. Our wingers worked hard. I thought our defence played really well tonight as a unit.

“It was a tiring game as well. Legs are tired after 81 minutes at least she’s hit the target at the end of the day and the keeper’s saved it so she’s done her job, all but score!”

Tottenham Hotspur created a couple of chances to deservedly claim victory at the end of normal time.

O’Leary whipped in a deep cross from the right towards Kmita who slid in at the far post and her shot trickled agonisingly along the goal-line towards the foot of the far post but substitute defender Rosie Paye showed enough desire to get back to scoop the ball off the line.

Parsons said: “The ball came from Bianca down the right hand side, obviously she’s quick.  Even at that late stage she’s still quick and I just don’t think the Tottenham players could keep up with her pace.”

Lynch back-peddled to punch away a curling corner from the left from Baptiste as the ball was dipping towards the roof of the net.

Charlton Athletic finally broke free from their shackles and were the better side during the first period of extra-time.

“Before extra-time it gets close to 90 minutes you look at it, you’ve got another half-an-hour. Luckily I only made one sub so I was able to freshen it up a little bit with penalties in mind as well. That’s what I have to do.”

Their best chance of the entire game came 105 seconds into the first period.

Coombs clipped a sublime defence splitting pass out of defence that split open Schillachi and Alex Keown to put Graham through on goal.

She swept the ball out to Shepherd, who slotted her shot past the keeper.  Whinnett raised her hands to start celebrating, expecting the ball to nestle inside the bottom far corner, only for a lightening bolt of bad luck to strike Charlton as the ball crept agonisingly past the foot of the far post.

“I thought we finished stronger in extra-time,” added Parsons.

The impressive Martin played the ball out to winger Kmita, who struck the top of the near post as she attempted to whip the ball in from the right by-line.

Charlton Athletic played a slick triangular passing move down the left which involved Dixson and Shepherd and Baxter’s angled drive bounced into Wayne’s hands for a comfortable save.

Tottenham sub O’Leary opted against shooting first time and decided to cut across the penalty area and her only option was to cut the ball back to an advancing Green, who leaned back and skied her shot from the right-hand side of the box.

The crossbar saved Charlton for a second time towards the end of the first period.

Ertha Pond delivered Tottenham’s ninth corner of the game from the left and Martin ghosted in to plant another free header against the crossbar from eight-yards.

Parsons said: “That’s what she’s good at. You can’t foul her inside the box, you can’t give away a free-kick inside the box, it’s a penalty.”

Lynch made a comfortable save inside the opening four minutes of the second half from O’Leary’s shot on the turn after Tottenham stopped Graham in her tracks at the other end of the pitch and right-back Sophie McClean hit a long ball forward which was put into the box by Baptiste.

Charlton Athletic substitute Charley Clifford had a couple of late chances to snatch victory for the Thamesmead-based side.

Firstly, she failed to keep her shot down after Graham cut the ball back to her and then her shot beat Wayne only for McLean to save the day for Tottenham Hotspur by making a last-ditch goal-line block.

“I think Charley had one as well at the end,” said Parsons.

“There was a strike she had when she was inside the penalty area, on a different day yes (she scores), but it happens, it’s football.”

Referee Ioana Muzuran, like the rest of the crowd, had seen enough and blew for full-time twenty seconds early.

Charlton Athletic woefully missed their first two penalties as Tottenham Hotspur scored four of their five spot kicks.

Charlton Athletic skipper Dixson stepped up first and summed up the game by blazing her right-footed attempt high over the crossbar to the delight of the high number of Spurs fans behind the goal who screamed “who are ya?!” before she took her attempt.

Martin capped off an impressive display by stroking her right-footed penalty straight down the middle.

Shepherd, with 33 goals to her name this season, produced a woeful penalty too, by placing her right-footed penalty embarrassingly wide of the left-hand post.

Tottenham Hotspur had one hand on the trophy when McLean drilled her right-footed penalty into the bottom left-hand corner.

Graham, who has 26 goals this season, led by example by driving her left-footed penalty straight down the middle, with the keeper diving to her left.

Tottenham skipper Schillachi proved that left-footed players can’t take penalties as Lynch dived low to her right to make the save.

Clifford stepped up and found the bottom left-hand corner with her right-footed penalty, with Wayne diving the same way.

Tottenham winger Baptiste made it 3-2 when she sent Lynch the wrong way with her right-footed penalty, again, finding the bottom left hand corner.

A lot of pressure was on right-back Ruby Southgate when she stepped up to take Charlton’s last penalty, calmly lifting her right-footed penalty above the diving keeper, who guessed the right way.

But Tottenham Hotspur were celebrating when O’Leary lashed in the match clincher, high over the diving goalkeeper’s left shoulder.
Parsons, naturally, refused to blame Dixson and Shepherd for failing to score from 12-yards.

He said: “They’re key players in our team, they’re experienced players. I’m sure they’ll dust themselves down. I’ve spoken to them already and they are key players in the team.

“I’ll take my hat off, they won, that’s it, fair enough. I can’t do no more. We’ve done everything that we can. Good luck to Tottenham, fair play.”

Charlton Athletic return to league action when bottom-of-the-table side Plymouth Argyle visit Bayliss Avenue (Thamesmead Town FC) on Sunday, before hosting second-from-bottom side Forest Green Rovers (24 April) and a trip to third-placed Coventry United on 1 May.

“Brighton have won the league, our ambition is to finish as high as we can so we’re looking for second. We’re looking to get three points out of that game,” said Parsons.

“Some of the ones that never featured tonight might play, I’ll look at that but I want to get the three points on Sunday.

“Listen don’t get me wrong I’m not disappointed because I thought both teams played well. I thought our girls battled really well as did they.

“There’s no shame in losing on penalties but someone has to lose. It’s one of those things. It won’t affect us what we’re doing. My girls are still happy and we’ll move on from it, we’ll learn from it.”

These two sides lock horns again at Wingate & Finchley’s ground in the Capital Women’s Cup Final on Wednesday 27 April.

“There’s a couple of things that we’re going to put right on that game. They say revenge is sweeter so that’s what I’m looking for,” added Parsons.

Charlton Athletic: Megen Lynch, Ruby Southgate, Katie Flack, Kim Dixson, Sam Puttuck (Rosie Paye 52), Grace Coombs, Amy Howlett, Ellie Baxter (Charley Clifford 116), Kit Graham, Gemma Shepherd, Nikita Whinnett (Jenny Newman 106).
Subs: Stef Simmons, Lauren Parsons

Booked: Megan Lynch 69

Tottenham Hotspur: Toni Anne Wayne, Sophie McClean, Mayo Vio (Katie O’Leary 46), Josie Green, Jenna Schillachi, Alex Keown, Bianca Baptiste, Rianna-Devi Soobadoo (Shannon Moloney 98), Rosie Kmita (Ertha Pond 98), Wendy Martin, Leah Rawle.
Subs: Chloe Morgan, Mollie Kmita

Attendance: 635
Referee: Ms Ioana Muzuran
Assistants: Ms Clare March & Ms Amy Nettleship
Fourth Official: Ms Sue Newton