West Ham United 0-5 Charlton Athletic - It's a fantastic effort from all the players, hails treble winning boss Jeremy Parsons

Tuesday 05th May 2015
West Ham United 0 – 5 Charlton Athletic
Location Earlsmead Stadium, Carlyon Avenue, Harrow, Middlesex HA2 8SS
Kickoff 06/05/2015 19:30

Capital Women’s Cup Final
Wednesday 6th May 2015
Stephen McCartney reports from Earlsmead Stadium

CHARLTON ATHLETIC manager Jeremy Parsons hailed his players’ fantastic effort after securing their Cup treble in style.

The south-east London outfit won the inaugural Capital Women’s Cup by beating lower-league Queens Park Rangers 2-1 in last years’ final at Metropolitan Police’s Imber Court ground.

TREBLE: Charlton Athletic add the Capital Women's Cup to the Ryman Women's Cup and FA Women's Premier League Cup to their trophy cabinet

They retained the silverware by outclassing their FA Women’s Premier League Southern Division rivals West Ham United at Harrow Borough’s Earlsmead Stadium tonight.

Charlton Athletic defeated hosts Tottenham Hotspur to win the Ryman Women’s Cup at Ware - and needed penalties to beat Sheffield to land The FA Women’s Premier League Cup on Sunday, after a goal-less draw in Nuneaton.

Charley Clifford got the ball rolling tonight by heading home an early opener, before West Ham United keeper Nikki Duncan set the tone for the start of their capitulation four minutes before the break by clawing the ball into her own net with her left hand.

Charlton Athletic then produced champagne football by scoring three goals during a devastating seven minutes.

Official player-of-the-match Kit Graham netted her 52nd goal of the season after chipping home following a long ball over the top, before Emma Harrison poked home from close range before Clifford curled home her second of the game from just inside the corner of the box.

The humiliation left West Ham United’s manager Julian Dicks, 46, who made 262 appearances for the main club during two spells, hurt and embarrassed.

He said: “Listen, I mean Charlton are a good side. They’ve got some good players.

“Going in at 2-0 down, two soft goals and I just said to them, I just need players with a bit of character and I didn’t get that! I got it from two players, one was Danica (Revelle) and Stacey (Little).  Other than that, the rest weren’t good enough!

“We started off well for 20 minutes but football’s not about 20 minutes, it’s about 90 but it’s also doing the right thing and like I said having a bit of character and there was no character out there apart from a couple of people.”

Charlton Athletic boss Jeremy Parsons, meanwhile, spoke of his delight to lead the club to a fantastic cup treble.

“Happy for the girls to be honest. They put in a shift in the second half. Third goal is obviously important. It killed the game off, shortened the game up a little bit and got the result.

“A good hard season, we’ve worked hard. They deserve everything that they get.  It’s a fantastic effort from all the players, the starting 11 and the subs as well. 

“It sets them a target for next year now, but well pleased for them really!”

There was a pre-match minute’s applause as both club’s paid tribute to their former player, Katie Sheppard, who tragically passed away at the age of 20 last summer.

Both clubs walked out holding a shirt bearing her name before both captains laid them down in the middle of the pitch and Charlton’s players wore black armbands.

West Ham United, who defeated Tottenham Hotspur (5-3 on penalties, after the game finished 4-4 after extra time); Haringey Borough (2-0) and Queens Park Rangers (2-0), to reach the Final, started the game well.

But the east London outfit’s final ball in the final third lacked quality and Charlton Athletic soon started to dominate.

The Addicks, only had to win two games to reach the Final, beating Old Actonians (2-1) and Enfield Town (1-0), and they should have opened the floodgates inside seven minutes, hitting their opponents on the break.

Gemma Shepherd was released down the right and she cut inside to play the ball inside to Graham, who teed up Harrison, but her shot was saved low down by Duncan.

Defender Rosie Paye - whose dad Michael coaches the side after moving upstairs at Ryman League Division One North side Cray Wanderers - played the ball over the top to release Graham, who cut into the box before dragging her shot past the near post.

But Charlton Athletic opened the scoring with 12:19 on the clock through Clifford’s first goal of the night.

Skipper Kim Dixson drilled a right-footed free-kick off the wall from 25-yards and the ball looped up to an unmarked Clifford, who comfortably headed the ball past Duncan from six-yards.

Parsons said: “It’s not a set-piece that you can work on. It’s about having the desire to follow the ball and getting on the end of pieces.

“She’s put her head in where there’s challenges flying in.  She deserves the goal, deserves credit, well done Charley!”

Dicks admitted his players’ failed to show the same amount of desire on more than one occasion tonight.

“Even before that there’s players not marking players and stuff like that!

“If you leave players alone in the box they’re going to cause you problems and they did!

“Yes it got a lucky deflection but listen, the people marking and doing their jobs, it wouldn’t have got to the player!”

Charlton Athletic were playing some slick attacking football and Clifford played the ball into Graham, whose left-footed shot on the turn from sixteen-yards screamed just over the bar.

West Ham United’s first opening arrived in the 28th minute when a cushioned header by striker Emma Sherwood played in winger Kelley Blanchflower, who steered her left-footed angled drive towards the bottom corner, which Megen Lynch gathered at the second attempt.

Dominant Charlton Athletic went close to increasing their lead when Shepherd linked up well with left-back Katie Flack, who whipped in a great cross towards the far post but Dixon glanced her header just around the far post.

“The style of play that we’ve adapted, there’s going to be chances,” explained Parsons.

“We try to convert as many as possible, you just have to keep going in this League and Cup. It’s about taking your chances and if you take your chances it gives you a bit of leeway.”

West Ham United weathered the storm but they gifted Charlton Athletic a second goal in the 41st minute.

The Addicks played the ball out to Ipswich-based winger Amy Howlett, who clipped her left-footed ball in which should have been caught comfortably by Duncan, who inexplicably clawed the ball into the near corner of her net with her left hand.

A seething Dicks said: “She’s on her line and she’s got to it from on the line! Again, it’s not acceptable, it’s not right!”

Parsons added: “I spoke to Amy. I think she deserves to claim it. She played quite well tonight so I’ll give her the goal!

“Anytime is a good time to score but to get that one sort of killed them really.”

When asked what was said at half-time, Dicks believed his side could fight their way back into the game.

“I just said to them, if you get the next goal we’re still in this but you’re not going to get it if you don’t do the right thing.

“We kept getting the ball and we kept giving it away. You can’t do that against teams like that - they’re going to cause you problem and they did!”

Parsons added: “Going against the wind it was quite difficult, it slows the game up.

“We spoke about it at half-time about playing through the thirds of the pitch and get the ball down and pass and then we’ll see what happened.

“They’re a funny side at the moment. They’ve picked up some really good results against some of the top sides. I was quite surprised.  We’ve played them twice already in the league (drawing 3-3 and 0-0) and the Ryman Cup (where we won 3-1).

“I think their game plan was to get at us in the first 20 minutes and because it never happened we got the first goal and I think it stopped them in their tracks.”

West Ham United were dead and buried after clinical Charlton Athletic scored three times in the space of 370 seconds.

Stef Simmons came off the bench at the half-time interval to slot in at left-back (while Flack moved across to right-back) and she pinged a sublime ball over the top of the West Ham United defence to put Graham through on goal down the middle.

Hammers’ defender Ruby Baxter was chasing shadows as Graham kept her composure and as Duncan advanced off her line she sent her left-footed chip into the top left-hand corner of an empty goal after 50 minutes to score an impressive 52nd goal of the season.

“She’s having a good season with her goalscoring record,” said Parsons.

“She’s still learning a couple of positions we’re working with her.  It’s a fantastic season for her. I just hope she can continue it next year!”

Dicks only wanted to reflect on the third goal.

“Listen, the third one is just one long ball over the top. When they’ve got quick enough players you have to be on your toes and we wasn’t.

“It wasn’t a great deal with can say about it. We were poor. Yes, Charlton are a good side and they’ve got some good players but as I said there’ a way to lose games and unfortunately today we didn’t do that!”

Lynch was called into action to make a low save as West Ham skipper Stacey Little hit an angled drive from 30-yards towards the Charlton goal.

But Charlton raced into a 4-0 lead with 07:33 on the clock.

Howlett got her power behind a cross from the right flank and Clifford’s header was blocked low down by Duncan and Harrison stabbed her shot into the bottom left-hand corner from close range.

“Again, it’s about desire to having to finish it off when the second ball’s bouncing around,” added Parsons.

Charlton Athletic completed their scoring as early as the 57th minute, leaving Dicks shell-shocked.

Midfielder Clifford unleashed a right-footed curler from the right-hand corner of the penalty area from 17-yards, which curled past the goalkeeper’s outstretched right-arm to find the far corner. It was her fourteenth goal of the season.

“Charley’s been doing things like that ever since I’ve known her,” said Parsons.

“Nine times out of ten she hits the target or makes the goalie work. She’s a good finisher!

“Once we got up to two or three the girls expressed themselves. They enjoyed their football. We settled down a bit.”

Charlton Athletic threatened to add to their impressive score line with wave-after-wave of attacks against a side that went into the game in sixth-place in their division.

Flack launched a long throw towards the edge of the Hammers’ box but Graham’s shot on the turn drew a decent close-range save from Duncan.

West Ham United squandered a chance to restore some pride at the halfway point of the second half.

Little played a lovely ball along the deck to release Blanchflower through on goal down the left and the winger cut into the penalty area but dragged her right-footed shot across goal and Charlton defender Sam Pittuck got back to blast the ball high over her own crossbar – although the ball was destined to roll out for a goal-kick.

A stoppage for an injury to Clifford gave West Ham’s battered players’ time to huddle on the edge of their penalty area to work out what went so badly wrong for them and to restore some pride during the final ten minutes.

Parsons said: “Take nothing away from West Ham, they still worked hard. They’ve got some good players in that team. I think tonight was not their night.”

Little jumped up and lost out on a header and this gave Graham a chance to steer her shot on the turn past the post from 25-yards.

West Ham’s brightest moment arrived inside the final three minutes when Blanchflower cut the ball back to substitute Adele Sale, who drilled a right-footed angled drive from 30-yards, which forced Lynch to dive full-length to her right to tip the ball around the post.

Parsons said: “There was a long range shot that she tipped it around the post.

“It weren’t too bad! Megen been doing alright in the last couple of months. She’s got a lot of clean sheets this year, more than she ever had so it tells me that the back four is also working well with her.”

“It’s football, you have to take your chances when you get your opportunities and tonight that was probably the difference.”

Dicks said: “Listen, again, we had two or three chances in the whole game. We were never in the game and I told the girls’ that. We didn’t deserve nothing out of it so I have no qualms about that.

“But again, there’s a way to lose and we didn’t do it the right way today!

Untroubled central defender Grace Coombs clipped a free kick into West Ham’s box and substitute Nikita Whinnett’s right-footed shot forced Dillon to make a low save to her left at the death.

Dicks demands a positive reaction from the Hammers for their trip to leaders Portsmouth on Sunday, their last game of the season.

He said: “People have to look at themselves, even after the 5-0 drubbing. It’s embarrassing! Yes it hurts. You have to go away from there and take a look at themselves!  I said did they do enough? Some of the players are not like that. They’ll go away and they won’t care and that’s it!

“We had two or three chances. When you’re giving goals away, not goals away but you’ve conceded five goals, you ain’t going to win games!

“It was embarrassing to do it in a final. Let alone any other game but in a final!”

While Dixson lifted up the silverware, the Hammers trudged off the pitch far from happy.

Dicks said: “I could have gone in there and ranted and raved at them. It just shows just how far you have to go. Charlton are a good side, they have some good players. We don’t do enough as a team. We haven’t got enough work rate, we don’t have enough team spirit but listen that’s down to the players. There’s nothing I can do about that!”

Parsons, meanwhile, admitted he was pleased that his players finished off the job in style inside 90 minutes after being taken all the way by Sheffield three days earlier.

“I think coming here after our game on Sunday with extra-time and not playing extra-time tonight has pleased me but I just think the difference between the two, the League Cup is quite a massive competition. This one is a good competiotion to win.  I think the girls’ turned up in the right frame of mind and got the job done.”

The game was run jointly by the London FA, Middlesex FA and Amateur Football Alliance but only 222 fans made the trip to Harrow to watch this game where as a larger crowd would have watched this final had the venue been a lot closer to home.

“There’s players’ in our squad who come from all directions as far as Ipswich, down on the coast as well so credit to them girls for making the effort to keep us rolling,” said Parsons.”

Third-placed Charlton Athletic complete their league campaign with games against Cardiff City (Sunday) and Plymouth Argyle (17 May) – both at Thamesmead Town’s Bayliss Avenue.

Tonight’s win was their sixth on the bounce and Parsons is keen to continue that run.

“They’re both tough games. They have to travel to us. We’re playing both games at home, which is nice to finish the season off.

“I’m confident with whatever side we put out to play those people I will look for maximum points obviously, that’s what we do and then see where we go from there.

“I think (the treble) speaks for itself really. I think the girls’ and everyone have been fantastic. The work ethic amongst the team has been 100% every week, even when we have gone behind in a couple of games 2-0, they’ve fought back from 2-0 and it just shows the character, strength and work rate from the team.”

West Ham United: Nikki Duncan, Vicky King, Katie Bottom, April Bowers (Adele Sale 82), Ruby Baxter, Danica Revell, Lily Mellors (Jade Smith 60), Stacey Little, Emma Sherwood (Kayleigh Xidhas 72), Vicky Kinsman, Kelley Blanchflower.
Sub: Kerry Stimson

Charlton Athletic: Megen Lynch, Rosie Paye (Stef Simmons 46), Katie Flack, Kim Dixson, Sam Pittuck, Grace Coombs, Emma Harrison, Charley Clifford (Nikita Whinnett 79), Kit Graham, Gemma Shepherd (Katie Hardaker 59), Amy Howlett.

Goals: Charley Clifford 13, 57, Nikki Duncan 41 (own goal), Kit Graham 50, Emma Harrison 53

Attendance: 222
Referee: Mr Matthew Swinburn (Staines, Middlesex)
Assistants: Mr David Johnson (Burnt Oak, Middlesex) & Mr Michael Jacobs (Denham, Middlesex)
Fourth Official: Mr Eddy Clifford