WOMEN'S REPORT | Blackburn Rovers 0 Charlton 1

King scores 1-0

An injury time strike from Jess King sealed a crucial three points against Blackburn Rovers at Bamber Bridge on Sunday.

King struck three minutes into added time, lofting the ball over Rovers’ keeper Fran Bentley after Charlton won the ball high up in the final third, keeping the Addicks’ unbeaten start to the season going.

Five minutes before the winning goal, Blackburn’s new signing Elise Hughes had spurned a glorious chance to take all three points, firing wide from six yards out with just Katie Startup to beat.

Manager Riteesh Mishra made just one change to the side that drew with Crystal Palace the previous weekend, with loanee Bethan Roe replacing Jaime Gotch at the back.

And it was the visitors who made the brightest start with Ella Powell first sending in a fizzing cross that was flicked clear by a Rovers head, before Beth Lumsden took advantage of a misplaced pass but only saw her first-time effort saved by Bentley who also foiled King’s follow up.

But Blackburn had the lions share of the play throughout the course of the first 45, Megan Boydell and Hughes seeing early chances fly wide of Katie Startup’s goal.

Roe had an effort saved after cutting in from the left flank, before Natasha Fenton slammed an effort against the crossbar for the hosts. And the home side ended the period on the front foot, with unmarked defender Jade Richards narrowly failing to get contact on a Hughes free kick. Shortly after, it was Hughes’ turn to rattle the crossbar after getting in behind the Charlton defence.

A last-ditch chance went to Lumsden, who latched onto a King centre but took a touch too many and allowed Blackburn to recover and clear.

The second half started in a similar vein, with both sides having chances but Blackburn again dominating. However, Charlton began to look livelier when replacements took to the field with Ellie Dorey in particular, injecting some energy into the final third.

Jenna Legg came close with half an hour remaining, when her powerful long-range shot was parried by Bentley into King’s path, but the striker, ruled offside, also saw her effort saved.

Blackburn bundled the ball over the line moments later from a corner, but the ball had already been adjudged to have crossed the line and gone out of play for a Charlton goal kick.

Startup then saved well from Ellie Fletcher before Lois Heuchan almost scored a belter, showing quick feet to wriggle away from two markers and floating a long range effort that was only just clawed over from under the bar by Bentley.

Roe and substitute Shauna Vassell then linked up twice, laying chances off for each other but seeing their shots slide wide. Rea Laudat and Ciara Watling were also denied by Bentley late on.

In the end, the game hinged on two chances at the tail end of the game, with Hughes getting free and one-on-one with Startup but the midfielder could only find the side netting.

Moments later, the Addicks stole possession and the ball found its way to King, who made no such mistake to claw the three points away for her side.

After a week’s break for international duty, Charlton are next in action away to Liverpool on Sunday, 27th September.

Charlton: Startup, Newborough, Roe, Griffiths (Watling 71), Coombs, Clifford, King, Powell (Vassell 71), Legg (Laudat 81), Heuchan, Lumsden (Dorey 57). Subs (not used): Gotch, Ivison.

Goal: King (90)

Yellow card: Griffiths (40)

Blackburn: Bentley, Newsham, Fenton, Fletcher, Richards, Doyle, Hughes, Dean, Boydell (Walters 58), Hodgson, Stewart. Subs (not used): Brooks, Dykes, Embley, Bradley.

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