The home sides came up trumps on the second matchday of the Championship, Spurs’ win over Leicester the outlier as Charlton, Lewes, the Bees and Manchester United saw off Villa, Palace, Millwall and Sheffield United.
Forced to sit out the first round of fixtures due to the odd number of teams in the league, Charlton avoided a stumble against Villa, keeping all three points at their new home. Already having come close in the match, the hosts took the lead 12 minutes in when Kit Graham skipped away from Jade Richards and laid the ball across the box for Gemma Bryan to hammer home. Pouncing on a sloppy back-pass, Graham was again instrumental as she turned Katie Startup, leaving the goalkeeper on the deck before cutting the ball across for Bryan to stick into the empty net. Causing all sorts of problems for the visiting defence, Graham drew block after block as she attempted to open her own account for the season, the potent attacker settling for two assists.
Continuing their fine start to the season, Spurs got the lion’s share of the luck in Loughborough, clinical when needed and resilient enough to keep a dominant Leicester side quiet. Taking the lead as she so often has, Sarah Wiltshire produced another fine chip to tip the tie in the favour of the visitors before Rianna Dean found the bottom corner eight minutes later. Another mistake from the Foxes, gifting Spurs their third of the game, Wiltshire on hand once again to get the better of Demi Lambourne.
Digging in after the break, the visitors withstood the onslaught from Leicester, the Foxes without a clinical edge to make their possession count, leaving Emma Gibbon’s clear sheet intact.
Lewes 2-1 Crystal Palace
All over the hosts in the first half, Palace took a deserved lead half-way through the half when Andrea Georgiou dashed into the box, drawing Faye Baker in before pulling the ball back for Ciara Watling to slot home. Following a bruising loss to Arsenal in the league cup on the weekend, the Rookettes showed their steel to come out and turn the match around after the break, scoring two in three minutes to turn the tie.
Against a team who hadn’t been able to find their edge in attack and convert their better chances, the hosts dug out some luck as Shannon Moloney’s recycled ball crept under the bar. The hard work of the trio of Palace players on the line undone by Avilla Bergin who nudged the ball over. Three minutes later, there could be no doubt as a similar corner, found Moloney again, her ball back in arcing over Megen Lynch and under the bar.
Defining a fast start, the Bees took the lead in the first minute when a floated corner found Emma Beckett unmarked on the far side of the goal, the skipper taking a touch before curling the ball around Chloe Samson and into the top right corner. In control of the game, a clumsy moment at the back gifted a growing Millwall team back into the match, Lia Cataldo’s tenacity enough to steal the ball away and deliver it into the waiting net. After a bitty second half, the match looked to be winding down into a draw before Lauren Pickett picked out her own moment of quality, wrapping the ball into the far corner from outside the area.
Coming up against greater resistance than their first league outing, the hosts were gifted the perfect start when a loose foul by Ellie Fletcher on Lauren James had Katie Zelem stepping up to the spot for the second time with season. As calm as against Villa, Zelem couldn’t send Nicola Hobbs the wrong way, but picking out the perfect spot just inside of the bar, the was little Hobbs could do as the ball ran clear of her outstretched glove.
Down but by no means out, the visitors rallied and arguably should have been level after Dan Cox was found five yards out, her choice of finish a poor one that drew the save from Siobhan Chamberlain. Having already chanced her arm from outside the box only to be denied by the top of the bar, Kirsty Hanson danced around 20-yards out before executing her shot perfectly, letting the ball drop just inside of the bar. Took much for Sheffield to deal with, Hanson was involved again after the hour, muscling down the right before cutting the ball back for Lizzie Arnot to poke home.