An impressive long-range strike from Charlton’s Katie Godden gave Charlton Athletic a 2-1 win despite a magnificent battling performance from Oxford United Women in the Vitality Women's FA Cup Fourth Round today at Court Place Farm this afternoon.
Beth Lumsden struck first for the visitors before a defensive mix up saw an own goal from Gotch draw the scores level before extra time saw Godden win it for the Championship side.
Charlton showed their higher division pedigree in the early stages, putting United under some early pressure although The U’s stood strong and the attacking trio of Johns, Allen and McLachlan put Charlton’s backline under considerable pressure when out of possession.
The visitors struck first in the 16th minute through Lumsden who latched on to a loose ball in the penalty area and put the Championship side ahead following a dangerous passage of play on the edge of The U’s penalty area.
However, United didn’t look disheartened by Charlton’s early opener, with Manager Liam Gilbert ushering his side on and Daisy McLachlan pressing Charlton’s defence, with the winger’s efforts paying off on 22 minutes when a defensive mix up between the Addicks’ defence and goalkeeper saw Gotch head the ball past an onrushing Cummings, resulting in the ball trickling over the line much to the delight of the many Oxford fans watching the club’s YouTube livestream.
The remainder of the first half proved to be very even but a series of head injuries disrupted the flow of the contest while the second half saw the Addicks with plenty of possession in the Oxford half but United go closest to gaining the lead before the hour mark. Brown initially made an excellent run into the Charlton half, driving into the box and forcing a corner, then Haynes’ delivery into the box saw a goal line scramble and Charlton hacking the ball away under pressure.
United’s best move of the second half came on 76 minutes as substitute Taome Oliver linked up well with fellow forwards Johns and Allen on the edge of the box following a counter attack, but Charlton managed to filter back into the box before Hines shot from distance into the arms of Cummings.
As the clock drew towards the 90th minute mark, both teams looked desperate to find a late winner and Charlton’s Ellie Dorey came closest to sealing the tie but her shot flew well over the bar once face-to-face with keeper Rose Kite.
With both teams unable to find a winner within 90 minutes, extra time saw an early chance from McLachlan, who sent a decent shot narrowly wide from the right edge of the penalty area. However, it took a long-range thunderbolt from Charlton’s Godden to overcome a magnificent Oxford performance to give her side the win.
United Women’s season is over now, a season marked by multiple disruptions, but Liam Gilbert’s side can hold their heads high knowing that they gave it their all. Everyone involved can take great pride in the grit, determination and passion on show this season - all the components for a very bright future.
Kite, Hayes (Wallace 108’), Sims (Jeal 116’), Beaver (Williams 108’), Mackenzie, Haynes, Hines, Brown (Oliver 74’), Allen, Johns (Stevens 97’), McLachlan
Unused subs: Sercombe, Baker, Bent, French
Report by Jacob Gill, pictures by Darrell Fisher