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Southampton v Charlton: Barclays FA Women’s Championship

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Lasses Match Preview: Sunderland & Charlton Athletic face-off at Eppleton

Sunderland have a great opportunity to win their first game of the season at home to Charlton. The Lasses won two of two against them last year - can they do the business again today?

Photo by Alex Davidson - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

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25th September 2022

Sunderland AFC Women v Charlton Athletic Women

FA Women’s Championship

Eppleton CW Ground, Hetton-le-Hole, Sunderland

Kick-Off: 11:30am

Tickets & Match Coverage

Travel: Take the number 55 bus from Sunderland Interchange (Stand K) to Houghton Road-Caroline Street, Hetton.

Coverage: The game will be broadcast live Twitter via @SAFCWomen

Highlights: The FA Player will have highlights and a full match replay from Monday afternoon.

Podcast: All things being well, we will have the Lasses Podcast Live as usual on Monday night, 8.30-9.30pm.

The Build-Up

After a trip to the South West coast, Sunderland return back to the North East to play their first game at their Eppleton home.

It has been a tough start to the Lasses 22/23 campaign so far and despite the positivity of the four out of four preseason wins and an impressive display against A690 neighbours Durham Women, Sunderland have struggled to showcase their abilities and illustrate the talent in our squad.

We have only managed to score one goal thus far and that came in the opening league fixture against Durham, a 1-1 draw, with the goal scored by new centre-back signing Brianna Westrup on her debut.

Since then the goals have dried up and whilst it is important to note we are only three games into the campaign, the Lasses have struggled in the final third and to truly test the opposition goalkeeper.

Despite the 1-0 loss to Bristol City last week, there was a remarkably better improvement from the team compared to the game against Birmingham City a few weeks ago. Whilst statistics don’t reflect everything, they do evidence the improvements which were visible to see, such as retaining more possessing and passing more.

It is important that the Lasses get their first win of the season. it will do wonders for their confidence and given two tough fixtures coming up against promotion chasing Crystal Palace and London City Lionesses, there is no better and more pivotal time for Sunderland to collect three points.

Bristol City Women v Sunderland Ladies - Barclays FA Women’s Championship Photo by Ryan Hiscott - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

The Lasses

Sunderland will be looking to bounce back from their 1-0 loss to Bristol City last weekend. The Lasses were guilty of being too cautious in the first half and just running out of time to make a comeback in the second half.

The Lasses simply gave Bristol too much time on the ball, allowing them to dominate possession and register 508 passes (79.12% accuracy) compared to their 245 passes (54.69% accuracy)

It was always going to be a difficult start of the season, playing six games in a row against completely professional teams that are all anticipated to contend for promotion. However, there will be easier games to come and we’ve demonstrated in the past that we had more than match up to Charlton Women with a 1-0 away win in October 2021 and a 2-0 home win in March 2022.

Last weekend, we saw the reintroduction of keys players Keira Ramshaw and Neve Herron after injury, with the latter coming on as a sub in the final 10 minutes.

Bristol City Women v Sunderland Ladies - Barclays FA Women’s Championship Photo by Ryan Hiscott - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

I have no doubt that gaffer Mel Reay and her staff and been working on this all week at training and I think all our wishes are that Sunderland will try to find the same grit and fight they showed in the opening game of the season against Durham.

During the game against Bristol, the lasses did register 10 shots at goal, but only one was on target, indicating the area which the team will be looking to improve on.

We are yet to see Allison Cowling start in goal this season after she and her fellow goalkeeper Claudia Moan both saw an equal amount of games played in the last campaign, so we may well see a change between the sticks.

Forward Nicki Gears has started Sunderland’s first two games, but hasn’t found the back of the net yet. She came on as an 82nd minute substitute last weekend, so perhaps some rest will be beneficial for her in the build-up to this game against Charlton and she can find her scoring boots.

Whilst they didn’t come away with a result, Sunderland performed much better than they did a few weeks ago against Birmingham City and showed some of that renowned vigour and determination. Ultimately the game’s only goal was one which could have been avoided and I’m sure that the coaching staff and players have worked on their defensive line during the week.

Personally, I would like to see a similar playing style and attacking intent that they displayed against Durham. Taking the game to them, not sitting off them and allowing them time to plan their next move or get players forward.

The Opponents

Charlton currently sit third in the league and are five points ahead of Sunderland. They head into this fixture in good form, winning two and losing one of their first three games - with an emphatic 3-0 win over Birmingham City Women last weekend.

The Addicks have the second-best offensive record in the league so far, scoring eight in three games and conceding four.

They’re a side that have generally opted to play with a 4-2-3-1 formation, deploying it 35% of the time, however they have also played with a 4-1-4-1 formation statistically 29% of the time and have employed that formation in their last two fixtures against Birmingham and London City.

They play a passing game, averaging about 410 passes per game with a successive passing accuracy of 76%. They also average 11.62 shots, 55.1% possession, 100.48 recoveries per game, 262 duels and a current xG of 1.41.

Southampton v Charlton: Barclays FA Women’s Championship Photo by Alex Davidson - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

From the highlights I viewed, it seems Charlton like to play down the flanks and try to surprise the opposition with through balls in between the backline or balls over the top and into space for forwards to rush onto.

They also like to cross from the wings, so the Lasses will need to either time the offside trap precisely or consider playing a deeper backline.

In terms of weaknesses, Charlton don’t seem to be the fastest team and, given that they look to play with a high defensive line and are prone to losing possession, they may leave themselves open for a counterattack.

If Sunderland is given the chance to counter, they should move fast and aggressively to force the defence to go back or concede possession. One long through ball over the top or in between the backline would allow the perfect opportunity for pacey players like Tyler Dodds, Emily Scarr, and Nicki Gears to go through on goal.

Ella Rutherford, Tegan McGowan and Angela Addison are the ones to watch. Despite their youth and relative inexperience, they are giving a good account of themselves so far this season and are all players who add some danger in attack.

Recent League Form

Sunderland: DLL

Charlton: WLW

Head to head

(All venues, all competitions, including friendlies)

Played: 7

Sunderland Wins: 4

Draws: 0

Charlton Wins: 3

Sunderland Goals: 13

Charlton Goals: 7

One to watch... Angela Addison

An explosive and dynamic player, Tottenham Hotspur’s loss is definitely Charlton’s gain. At 22-years-old, Addison is certainly hitting form and has been rewarded for her performances with a recent call up to the England U23 squad.

A pacey and skilful winger, Addison is already illustrating her worth to the Addicks faithful with some tantalising play and is impetuous when getting forward.

She is heavily involved, registering an average of 73.3 total actions per game, with most of them coming in the form of her passing and involvement in duels.

Whilst technically gifted, Addison does not shy away from a challenge and will regularly use her frame and physicality to jostle the ball off opponents, closing down, and shrugging off tackles as she bursts down the wing.

Sunderland will need to be mindful of her when they opt to go forward.

Southampton v Charlton: Barclays FA Women’s Championship Photo by Alex Davidson - The FA/The FA via Getty Images


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