An Elise Hughes hat trick sent Charlton Athletic Women top of the FA Women’s Championship as they ran out comfortable 4-0 winners against Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday.
Hughes bagged goals either side of half time after Anna Filbey had opened the scoring to cap off a dominant display from the Addicks.
Charlton made the perfect start when Beth Roe won a corner off Adekite Faruga-Dada three minutes in. Lois Roche had two attempts at the set piece, seeing the second headed clear but only as far as Filbey, who fired past Georgie Ferguson.
The lead was doubled four minutes later when an excellent ball over the top found Megan Wynne in space on the right flank and her cross was met by Hughes with a looping header that struck the inside of the far post and went in.
Watford’s first chance of the game was a good one as they won the ball high up and Helen Ward sent an effort goalwards but Eartha Cumings got down well to save. The corner fell to a yellow and black shirt but was well over.
Emma Follis, Roche and Roe curled a few shots wide of the Watford far post before the hosts began to settle themselves and claw their way back into the contest.
Cumings was forced into a superb one-on-one to thwart Ward, getting a strong hand to it down low before Flo Fyfe curled a free kick onto the roof of Cumings’ net.
Better play from the visitors came just past the half hour mark when good build up from Hughes and Roche played Follis in. The winger cut inside but could only see her curled effort slide inches wide.
It took Charlton just nine minutes after the interval to make it three when Roche did well to turn her marker. Her shot was saved by Ferguson but the ball fall to Hughes who tapped into an empty net.
Hughes had her hat trick three minutes later, converting a spot kick after Filbey had been bundled over in the penalty area by Ylenia Priest.
Chances for both sides were few and far between in the final half an hour of play. Former Addick Amber Stobbs saw a long-range effort dealt with easily by Cumings, while Hughes just failed to get on the end of crosses from Wynne and substitute Lois Heuchan.
An excellent save from Ferguson 30 seconds from the end of normal time kept a potential own goal out, while Cumings again saved down low this time to deny Humes.
Watford: Ferguson, Vyse, Priest, Meiwald, Kmita, Legg (Ali, 57), Stobbs, Fatuga-Dada, Ward, Meola (Smith, 79), Fyfe (Henson, 45)
Subs (not used): Smith, Charles
Yellow cards: Kmita 37
Charlton: Cumings, Newborough, Filbey, Follis (Heuchan 70), Wynne (King 77), Hughes, Skeels, Roche (Olding 70), Roe, Godfrey, Ross.
Subs (not used): Hillyerd, Sampson, Sulola, Quirk.
Yellow cards: Roche 67