Bill Robinson reports from Ship Lane..…..
West Ham Ladies must feel robbed of a well deserved win, a game that was dominated by a “prima donna” of a referee call Mr David Thomas, with his exaggerated gesturing and poor timekeeping (arriving late for the game) and then somehow ruined a game by playing seven minutes of added time in which he awarded a controversial penalty and sent off the West Ham goalkeeper allowing Charlton to equalise.
I don’t remember any air ambulance or any prolonged stoppage so how he decided on seven minutes of added time may explain why he was late, looks like a new watch should be top of his Christmas list this year.
Within the first ninety minutes West Ham looked comfortable after taking the lead on 15 minutes with a nice little header from diminiative Nina Downham, a free kick taken by Jess Barling was floated short to the near post and Downham’s flick was enough to take it over the defence and beat keeper to the far post.
West Ham just needed to kill off the game with another goal but just could not find a way through the resolute Charlton defence.
Downham had a genuine shout for a penalty on twenty minutes when a push in the back was missed by the referee, then on 23 minutes a long clearance by Keeper Toni-Anne Wayne was volley by Downham and was just inches over the bar.
Late into the second half and the Hammers started playing deep in their own half defending the lead but allowing Charlton to pressurise them. This meant West Ham had to rely on breakaways and only managed a couple of long range efforts from Gemma Shepherd.
By the time ninety minutes where up it looked like another three points and they would remain top of the table, but with six minutes of added time played and Charlton not looking like scoring West Ham conceded a free kick wide on the right about 25 yards from goal.
The free kick was floated towards the far post, Toni-Anne Wayne came out to punch but missed the ball fell to the ground and both Toni-Anne and Rosey Sullivan challenged the Charlton striker as she laid the ball back for her colleague to strike at goal, but before she could the referee decided it was a penalty much to the disbelief of every one and the joy of Charlton.
Toni-Anne Wayne protested verbally with the referee and that resulted in a straight red card. Gemma Shepherd pulled on the keeper’s jersey for the penalty but Charlton striker Emma Bryan made no mistake in hitting the back of the net.
West Ham Toni-Anne Wayne, Tracey Duxbury, Jess Barling, Rosey Sullivan, Danica Revell, Emma Thomas, Carly Roache, Joanne Wosahlo, Gemma Shepherd, Nina Downham, Becky Merritt.
Subs Natalie Grafton, Clare Rogers, Joanne Woodgates.