WC Opener: Southampton v Charlton Athletic
Southampton lose 2-0 to visitors Charlton Athletic in a thrilling opening match to the 2022/23 Women's Championship.
25 August 2022
Charlton won the first match of the 2022/23 Women’s Championship season with a 2-0 victory over league newcomers Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium.
Emily Simpkins and Mel Johnson scored the goals and Charlton also had a penalty saved during the second half. Southampton did have some chances during the match and should take some encouragement from their performance.
Marieanne Spacey-Cale named four of Southampton’s new players in the starting line-up. Ashleigh Ward, Paige Peake, Megan Wynne and Katie Wilkinson all made their debuts whilst Beth Lumsden made her first appearance for the club from the bench.
Karen Hills included six of Charlton’s summer signings in their starting 11, those being Sian Rogers, Sophie O’Rourke, Emily Simpkins, Heidi Logan, Angela Addison and Mel Johnson. Freda Ayisi and Corinne Henson also made their debuts as second half substitutes.
Southampton started well and had a few chances in the first 10 minutes with Wynne seeing her effort easily saved and Wilkinson’s long range free kick being tipped over by Rogers.
Charlton’s early efforts were blocked by Southampton’s defence, and it took until the 21st minute for their most threatening moment when there was a scramble in the Southampton penalty area that finished with Addison being brought down and a penalty was awarded. Simpkins scored from 12 yards to give Charlton the lead.
Charlton created chances after going ahead with Mia Ross shooting over and Johnson just being unable to get on the end of a cross in front of goal.
It wasn’t one way traffic though as Wilkinson sent another effort from long range narrowly wide.
It was Charlton who finished the first half well though with Addison seeing her shot deflected over, Johnson having a shot easily saved and O’Rourke seeing her effort tipped behind.
Southampton had an early chance in the second half when a Lucia Kendall header was saved.
Charlton made it 2-0 in the 47th minute when Johnson controlled the ball from a throw in and finished low into the net.
Southampton continued to look to get back into the game with Kendall shooting over from the edge of the area and Alice Griffiths seeing her shot from long range easily saved.
In the 71st minute, Charlton were awarded their second penalty of the match when Beth Roe was fouled in the area. Addison took the spot kick this time but saw her effort saved by Kayla Rendell who dived to her left and pushed the ball away.
Georgia Freeland came on for Southampton in the 79th minute to make her 100th appearance for the club.
Charlton restricted Southampton from having many opportunities after the early stages of the half with some good defending. The Saints did have a few chances in the last ten minutes with Lumsden dragging a shot wide, Kendall shooting over, Lumsden seeing her low shot saved, and Peake headed the resulting corner wide.
There was a really good attendance of 2,444 at St Mary’s to watch this Championship opener. Southampton go to The Dripping Pan next Sunday to play Lewes whilst Charlton are at home to London City Lionesses.
Southampton: Rendell, Ward (Collett 55’), Parnell, Peake, Mott, Rutherford (Williams 68’), Griffiths, Morris, Kendall, Wynne (Freeland 79’), Wilkinson (Lumsden 68’)
Unused substitutes: Harris, Watling
Booked: Wynne 42’
Charlton Athletic: Rogers, Roe, Godfrey, Skeels, O’Rourke, Simpkins (Ayisi 67’), Logan (Henson 67’), Follis, Ross, Addison, Johnson (Rutherford 78’)
Unused substitutes: Soper, N’Dow, Watson, Bashford
Goals: Simpkins 22’ (pen), Johnson 47’
Referee: Chloe-Ann Anderson