Last season’s FAWPL League Champions arrived at the Dripping Pan looking to avenge their February exit from the FAWPL Cup Quarter Final at the hands of the hosts. They found Lewes in no mood to comply.
Charlton started well, putting together a series of well-rehearsed moves to open up the home side with skipper Charley Clifford and playmaker Charlotte Gurr at the heart of things. Lewes defended well and counter-attacked. On 6 minutes Gurr was adjudged to have pushed Avilla Bergin in the area. Bergin dusted herself down to strike her spot-kick low and left, sending Katie Startup the wrong way.
READ MORE Lewes record first win of the season after impressive performance at much-fancied Dorking | Glenn Murray thanks Chris Hughton for giving him chance to shine in Premier League | Lewes boss Darren Freeman: ‘This league is relentless’
Charlton came close to levelling the scores when Lewes ‘keeper Faye Baker was forced to clear under pressure. The ball fell to Ellie Bailes who had time to line up a perfect curling shot. Baker atoned, making a glorious, flying top-handed save.
The Addicks came closest to scoring in the 18th minute. Nicole Pepper threaded a pass for Elizabeta Ejupi who’s early strike beat Baker but not her crossbar.
Lewes gained control of midfield, forcing the visitors back. The hosts doubled their lead on 22 minutes, Dani Lane heading home Kate McIntyre’s well-placed corner from 14 yards.
Lewes debutant Samantha Quayle had two good chances on the break, both one on one with Startup. The first, on the left, Quayle shot early and wide. The second, on the right, Startup managed to claw away as the Lewes striker tried to lift the ball over her.
Bergin, irrepressible against her former club, started and almost finished a fine, sweeping move. She released Vicky Carleton wide on the right, the winger racing clear of her marker to send in an early cross. The ball ended in Startup’s gloves, the on-rushing, sliding Bergin into the Charlton net.
Just before the break Lewes added a third. A poor clearance from right back fell to Carleton who took the ball down and found Rutherford, the combative midfielder sliding a perfect pass for Bergin to run on and finish. HT 3-0.
The second half saw Lewes continue to dominate. Charlton created fewer chances and just short of the hour manager Riteesh Mishrah brought on the twin threat of Kit Graham, Charlton’s perennial Golden Boot, and Gemma Bryan, last season’s top scorer at Crystal Palace.
Undaunted, Lewes continued to snuff out any chances. Baker saved well from Bailes as Rebecca Thompson-Agbro and Charley Boswell marshalled Bryan and Graham. Kit Graham, lethal anywhere near the goal, found space and looked certain to score before Amy Taylor made a career challenge to deny the striker.
With 20 minutes to go, Lewes Manager John Donoghue replaced the hard-running Quayle with Rebecca Carter. Carter it was who sealed the win, first turning in McIntyre’s cute corner at the near post after a fine knock-down from Lane, before scoring the goal of the game in added time.
Lane started the move with a trademark burst on the left. Her chipped cross was mis-controlled by the otherwise excellent Charley Clifford. Lewes substitute Charlotte Owen pounced, controlled the ball under pressure before setting up Carter for a superb right-footed strike from 16 yards. FT 5-0.
Lewes manager John Donoghue was understandably pleased with his team. He said: "They popped the ball round us quite a bit early in the early stages. We had to defend, and we did that fantastically well.”
On the penalty award he said: "We had a similar one given against us last week against West Ham. The player’s gone in with her hip, it was pretty clear. Very well-taken from Avilla, right into the bottom corner.”
He added: "“You don’t come out 5-0 winners without it being a team performance, from the back to the front. Also, the players who came on from the bench. They (Charlton) had some potent players on the pitch. There’s always a bit if anxiety going into a new season. We knew that Charlton had added to an already good squad. I’m sure that’s helped settle a few nerves. We need to keep stepping it up now.”
Lewes face West Ham United away at Rush Green next Sunday. Donoghue said: " “They’ve got some very good players as we saw last week. At least we’ll know what we’re up against.”
Lewes (4-5-1) Faye BAKER, Charley BOSWELL, Rebecca THOMPSON-AGBRO, Amy TAYLOR, Natasha WELLS, Leeta RUTHERFORD, Kate McINTYRE (C), Danielle LANE, Vicky CARLETON, Avilla BERGIN, Samantha QUAYLE
Substitutes: Shannon MALONEY (75), Rebecca CARTER (71), Charlotte OWEN (84)
Substitutes not used: Nina WILSON, Georgia ROBERT
Charlton: Katie STARTUP, Charlotte KERR, Grace COOMBS, Mel PARREND-ESPINOSA, Charley CLIFFORD (C), Liz EJUPI, Ellie BAILES, Nicole PEPPER, Lilli MAPLE, Hannah CHURCHILL, Charlotte GURR
Substitutes: Kit GRAHAM (56), Gemma BRYAN (56), Hannah WHEELER (77)
Substitutes not used: Georgia PEARCH, Flo JACKSON
Referee: Jamie Wells Attendance: 205