An Alisha Lehmann-inspired West Ham got the better of London rivals Charlton Athletic as they emerged from The Oakwood 2-0 victors in the League Cup.
Lehmann set up the visitors’ first when a fine cross found Rosie Kmita straight from the second-half kick-off, before grabbing a goal of her own 10 minutes later.
The result sends the Hammers through to the quarter-finals of the competition, with Charlton finishing fourth in Group Two South as both sides enter the Christmas break.
Charlton had the better of the opening proceedings, Gemma Bryan coming closest for the hosts as she saw a lobbed effort drift wide of Becky Spencer’s goal.
At the other end Matt Beard’s side flashed a free-kick dangerously across goal, but backs-to-the-wall defending from the Addicks got the ball to safety in an opening half that saw chances at a premium.
Kate Longhurst had the chance to put the visitors ahead with ten minutes left in the first-half when she was sent through on goal, but Amelia Ritchie was able to get back and clear as the Super League side shifted gear heading into the break.
And they made the pressure toll at the first opportunity after half-time, knocking it long from the kick-off with Lehmann latching on and crossing for Kmita who duly headed home.
Lehmann soon turned scorer, doubling the Hammers’ lead when she turned in a cross after West Ham had pressed to win the ball back high up the pitch.
Longhurst could have made it three when Jane Ross dummied a cross from Lehmann but blazed her shot over the bar as West Ham held out in controlled fashion.
Charlton manager Riteesh Mishra said:“It’s a little bit of pressure off after the league campaign. We’ve had a couple of months competing – it felt like quite a lot of pressure competing week-in-week-out with the league fixtures. We’ve done so well in those games.
“We’re still feeding quite a lot of new players and new blood into the squad and still finding our feet, but now we feel like we’ve got a certain structure. The squad feels good and strong.”
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IMAGE BY KEITH GILLARD
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