BY PHIL BIRCHMORE
Jess King’s injury-time goal saw Charlton dramatically snatch a smash-and-grab win away to Blackburn for their first FA Women’s Championship victory since May 2019.
Rovers largely controlled the game at Bamber Bridge as Natasha Fenton and Elise Hughes struck the woodwork in the first half, while a number of other chances went begging.
King produced a composed, dinked finish in the second minute of stoppage time.
The Addicks failed to record a league win for the whole of last season but having been spared relegation due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they now have four points from their opening two games this term.
Charlton’s best first-half effort was a tame effort from King, yet they almost scored on the hour mark as Blackburn goalkeeper Fran Bentley did well to repel Jenna Legg’s effort with King’s follow-up ruled offside.
Rovers soon regained their dominance – substitute Georgia Walters bundling in, only for the goal to be ruled out as the ball had already gone out of play. Ellie Fletcher then forced Katie Startup into a smart save.
At the other end a back-pedalling Bentley tipped a speculative Lois Heuchan cross-shot over the bar and Bethan Roe sliced wide from Rachel Newborough’s cross.
The game became frantic as it entered the final 10 minutes with Bentley pushing Rea Laudat’s strike around the post and then alertly tipping wide a tricky deflected Ciara Watling effort.
Hughes missed a golden opportunity for Blackburn as she raced clear but could only hit her half-volley into the side netting.
Charlton pounced on a poor clearance from Bentley and King beat the offside trap and chipped the ball over the keeper into the net to dramatically seal three league points for the first time since a 4-0 victover over Leicester on May 11, 2019.
“It is honestly such a strange feeling,” said Addicks manager Riteesh Mishra.
“We have gone such a long time without getting three points, with plenty of games where we felt we deserved three points, that we had almost lost that feeling of how to win.
“This was the poorest we’ve played for a long time – we didn’t play well – but defensively we scrapped hard. We knew what their threats were and I’m really proud of how we dealt with those threats.
“They [Blackburn] will consider themselves unlucky, and I would if I was in their situation, but I just want to focus on us.
“I’d rather not play well and end up with three points at this level – that’s what you need. We’ve gone through nine months of playing well and not getting the points, so it’s a different feeling.
“I’m so pleased for everyone who has stuck with us. It’s only one game but it means so much to us – firstly coming back last weekend [to draw 2-2 with Crystal Palace] and now scoring late again. It will give us so much confidence.”
Charlton’s next WSL2 action is at Liverpool on September 27.
The Addicks have signed Brighton’s Bethan Roe on a season-long loan.
To follow the action and sign up for The FA Player’s live Barclays FA Women’s Super League coverage visit womenscompetitions.thefa.com.
Dulwich Hamlet Women beat Aylesford 8-0 at Champion Hill on Sunday. Sophie Manzi bagged a hat-trick with, Havana McElvaine, Ali Rowe, Lucy Monkman, Rosie Stone and an own goal completing the scoring.
Abbey Dell got a brace as Millwall Lionesses won 3-1 at Stevenage in the Eastern Region Women’s League. Kira Lily Wealls also netted.
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