Cardiff City 1-3 Charlton Athletic
Cardiff City Ladies’ FA Women’s Cup run came to an end as they were beaten 3-1 by Charlton Athletic. The magic of the FA Cup which saw Cardiff progress past WSL2 side Oxford United in the last round couldn’t repeat itself as 2 goals from Kit Graham and one from Charlotte Gurr gave the Londoners the victory in South Wales despite a spirited second half performance from Cardiff.
Charlton dominated the opening stages but Cardiff’s defence stood firm just like they did in the previous round against Oxford. Charlotte Gurr scored a hat trick of free kicks the last time the two teams met, and she almost scored another but for Randall excellently tipping the ball onto the bar.
Cardiff started to show brief signs that they could cause problems on the counter. They failed to find the key pass in the final third on a few occasions, but the early signs were there.
8 mad minutes followed for Cardiff, as Charlton took the lead after Kit Graham turned away from the defender before unleashing a fierce left footed effort which flew past Randall who was inches away from getting a finger to the ball. Charlton then doubled their lead 5 minutes later as low drilled cross from Olivia Lukasewich was fired home from 6 yards by Graham for her 2nd of the game. The visitors capped off a lethal 8 minute spell as Charlotte Gurr dinked the ball round Randall to give the visitors a commanding lead just after the half hour mark.
Cardiff tried to get back into the game, and almost forced a chance on the counter but Cori Williams had the ball deflected behind for a corner just as she went to fire goalwards. Cardiff well and truly had their backs against the wall at half time with a daunting score line hanging over their heads.
Despite the scoreline, Cardiff came out strongly, with a number of half chances falling to the home side. Kelly Isaac fired a free kick at goal, winning City a corner, which Laura Williams swung in beautifully, somehow managing to sneak it in under the bar. Williams almost scored again shortly after but she dragged her effort just wide with the keeper seemingly beaten.
Cardiff squandered another chance just after the hour mark as a great run from Ella Powell saw it fall to Emily Poole but her effort from the edge of the box deflected over.
Cardiff then had two chances in the space of a minute as Ffion Price’s looping shot came back off the bar before Poole collected the rebound and fired across goal. Only a key touch from Lukasewich denied Cori Williams what would’ve been the easiest of tap ins.
Price then tested the keeper from long range again after her volley looked to be heading in but it was well handled by Startup.
The game fizzled out but not before what felt like the 15th foul of the game on Ella Powell, who caused the Charlton defence problems all game, brought about a pushing match between the Welsh under 19 international and Charley Clifford, resulting in a booking for both players.
It was a tale of two halves in South Wales, as for the second time this season Charlton scored 3 quick fire goals in the first half, before Cardiff got back into the game with a goal but unable to make the comeback. A stellar second half performance to cap off a valiant FA Cup run from Cardiff.
Player of the Match: Laura Williams