Charlton denied by Umotong as Rooks hit back

Ini-Abasi Umotong scored an equaliser for Lewes to earn them a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Charlton Athletic at The Oakwood in the FA Women’s Championship, writes Samuel Draper

Ini Umotong was on target for Lewes against Charlton / Picture: Getty
Ini Umotong was on target for Lewes against Charlton / Picture: Getty

Following a goalless first half dominated by Simon Parker’s players, the visitors went behind to Jess King’s early second half goal on 49 minutes after an error by Tatiana Saunders. But Umotong scored four minutes later to level the score and neither side was able to find a winner as ninth-place Charlton were unable to make ground on Lewes in sixth.

Both sides had low shots well saved in the opening five minutes as Lucy Ashworth-Clifford went close for the visitors before Ella Rutherford forced a good low stop for the Addicks.

Lewes had most of the first half momentum, but few clear chances. One of their best was a beautiful counter attack which saw Ashworth-Clifford run half the length of the pitch, but she was unable to get her shot on target under pressure from Olivia Smith.

Late first-half chances from Mollie Rouse and then Umotong also crept wide while Lewes began the second half strongly too, with Georgia Timms heading just over in the opening minute.

Charlton got themselves ahead from a 49th-minute Rutherford free-kick on the edge of the area after Saunders spilled the ball, allowing King to capitalise from close range.

But the hosts’ lead did not last long as Lewes levelled on 53 minutes, with Umotong chasing a short ball before chipping a beautiful dink over the advancing Eartha Cumings.

Lewes had the better chances as the clock ran down. First Timms shot wide with 20 minutes remaining, then Rouse’s 83rd-minute free-kick went just over.

The draw extended Charlton’s unbeaten streak to three, while the Rooks will be thankful they weren’t punished by a late goal like they were last time out against London City Lionesses.

Lewes winger Ashworth-Clifford said: “It’s obviously a disappointing result, we wanted to come here and get the three points. But we worked hard and we had the best attitude to have when you go down 1-0 to go and get another goal.

“We have been working hard in training. That’s why we’re disappointed because we know we can do better than that. We are a better team than Charlton. It’s just one of those things, the final third criticalness wasn’t there today. It’ll come.

“You just have to keep pushing on and pushing on. We had a good spell, especially in the first half, we were all over them. It was just a shame we couldn’t finalise on that.

“We know that we should have done better. So we’re going to Blackburn knowing we can push on. We want to get three points from every game. Blackburn are a good team, I have a few friends there, so it will be a nice little competition personally.”

Charlton goalscorer King said: “I’m feeling a little bit frustrated. I think we scored a bit of a scrappy goal, and then within a couple of minutes we conceded a terrible goal. From that perspective, it’s disappointing. Obviously we got another point on the board, which in the bigger picture is important. It’s another point we can take moving forward.

“We still haven’t lost in 2021 and we want to keep that momentum with us. [The goal] was from a wide kick. I knew I had to follow-up anything because we’ve watched some video. I followed it up and the goalkeeper spilled it and I tapped it in.

“We showed a lot of fight and desire and heart to get the points we’ve got this year. As long as we’re doing the right things and showing up with the right attitude, we’ll challenge anyone, as we showed against Liverpool."

Lewes (3-4-3): Tatiana Saunders, Charley Boswell, Rhian Cleverley, Nicola Cousins, Sophie O’Rourke, Megan Mackey, Mollie Rouse, Georgia Timms, Emma Jones, Ini-Abasi Umotong, Lucy Ashworth-Clifford

Substitutes: Katie Rood for Ashworth-Clifford 65, Simran Jhamat for Jones 77’, Zoe Cross for Timms 77’, Ellie Leek for Mackey 77’

Substitutes not used: Laura Hartley, Samantha Quayle, Ellie Hack, Filippa Savva

Referee: Ryan Atkin

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