Graham brace wins cup tie for Charlton

BY RICHARD CAWLEY

Kit Graham struck twice to ensure Charlton began life at The Oakwood with a 4-2 victory over Millwall Lionesses in Group D of FA Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup.

The prolific striker scored early in each half and set-up the third for Ellie Bailes after Gabby Ravenscroft and Evie Clark had given Millwall a 2-1 lead at the break.

Gemma Bryan drilled in Charlton’s fourth to secure a first win of the season for Riteesh Mishra’s team.

Graham had already forced Millwall keeper Grace Taylor into an outstanding full-length save before she opened the scoring on 11 minutes with a 25-yard left foot strike.

Millwall levelled against the run on play in the 39th-minute when Ravenscroft latched onto a slack pass at the back to fire over Katie Startup.

The visitors went ahead on half-time with their best move of the game.

Beth Lumsden’s pass sent Ravenscroft clear down the right and she unselfishly squared the ball for Clarke to tap home from six yards.

Charlton levelled within three minutes of the restart when Graham turned in Bryan’s pass across the six-yard box.

Graham was the provider for the third. She raced clear down the right and her low cross was firmly met by Bailes to restore the hosts lead on the hour.

Bryan produced the finish of the match to seal victory in the 83rd-minute. After cutting inside Ylenia Priest on the edge of the box, she drilled a low right-foot shot into the bottom right corner.

Graham said: “We started well and were totally in control. Not to disrespect them, but I never thought that we were not going to win the game.

 “It is a different style to how we played last season and it is going to take time. Our second half performance was a positive.

“I just had my shooting boots on today. The first one was from quite a distance. It was nice to score a goal like that. The second one was a tap in but they all count.”

Lionesses scorer Ravenscroft said: “Some of the girls thought the game was won at half-time and we stopped competing, switched off at times and lost the ball in bad areas.

“When we are in possession I think we can move the ball a bit quicker and need to be more physical.”

A late header from Jordan Butler proved to the difference for Crystal Palace Ladies against Yeovil Town Ladies in their Continental Cup encounter.

The Lady Glovers came close to finding an opener in the 23rd minute when Amy Goddard connected with a Bonnie Horwood corner – only to see her header cleared off the line by Palace defender Hannah MacKenzie.

Crystal Palace found themselves mainly restricted to long-range efforts as Kallie Balfour missed the target with an angled strike with Megan Walsh off her line on 25 minutes.

With 10 minutes to go, Palace broke the deadlock when Jordan Butler headed home after the hosts failed to fully clear their lines following a corner from Ciara Watling.

The visitors nearly added a second in the dying minutes of the game when sub Chloe Burr struck the crossbar.

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Pics by Keith Gillard

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