Ladies lose opener

Former Hammers striker Emma Harrison netted the winning goal as Charlton came from behind to beat West Ham United Ladies 2-1 in their opening FA Women's Premier League Southern Division.

The pitch had to be inspected due to torrential rain the night before, but by kick-off the sun was beaming down as West Ham prepared to take on Charlton at the Sporting Club Thamesmead stadium.

The Addicks had the lion's share of the game's opening chances, coming close in the first minute with a corner that rebounded off the post.

After a cagey opening period, the best chance of the half went to former Tottenham skipper Samantha Pittuck, who came close to opening the scoring for Charlton when she was put through on goal after 22 minutes, but Toni-Anne Wayne was quick to act in the West Ham goal and smothered the attempt well.

The game was now incredibly open, as attempts on goal rained in from both sides and the Addicks just shaded the Hammers in terms of the quality of their chances in the opening 45 minutes.

After the restart, Charlton picked up where they left off with a collection of opportunities going begging in quick succession, but West Ham replied in style with a well-taken finish by Cherrelle Albert (pictured) after 52 minutes to take the lead.

The former Charlton striker showed great alertness to react after the ball had rebounded off the post and into her feet and she smashed her attempt low and hard into the back of the net to open her account for the season.

Charlton keep up their relentless attack despite conceding and were rewarded just seven minutes later, when an unstoppable free-kick from 20 yards out was dispatched by Charlton's impressive skipper Kimberley Dixson.

Lindsey Morgan came close to restoring the Hammers lead minutes later when Albert went on a twisting run down the left, turning and beating two defenders before supplying a perfect ball for Morgan to fire in on goal, only to see the home goalkeeper fingertip the ball just over the bar.

Both teams continued to press for a winner, but it was Charlton who struck the decisive blow in the 86th minute. Former Hammers striker Harrison pounced on a mistake at the back and slotted her effort into the bottom right corner of the goal from ten yards out to swing the match in Charlton's favour.

Albert continued to press for the Hammers in her lone striker's role and she was nearly rewarded at the death, but her free-kick fizzed just past the post and Charlton were able to wind the remaining time down to secure the three points.