Liz Ejupi and Gemma Bryan gave Charlton a deserved win against London Bees, to keep pace near the top of the FA Women’s Championship table.

The Reds’ fifth win of the league season means they are now level on points with Manchester United in second place.

In just the third minute, Ejupi, who scored four times in Charlton’s 8-0 win against Millwall Lionesses, took advantage of confusion in the London Bees’ box to bundle the ball in at the near post.

Despite this setback, the Bees looked to attack when they could, with Destiney Touissant showing her pace and strength down the right-hand flank.

Charlton had more of the play in the physically demanding first half. Striker Bryan was particularly impressive with her hold-up play and runs down the channels.

After two brilliant saves from Charlton goalkeeper Katie Startup, the home side broke quickly and Bryan was tripped for a penalty. A powerful shot into the bottom right corner doubled the home side’s lead.

The second half started similarly to the first 45 minutes, but the visitors saw more of the ball this time around as they pushed for a goal back.

Charlton’s defence stayed resolute in the face of some further physical challenges, and they looked for any chance to counter attack.

Both sides continued to have chances towards the game’s close, but the home side hung on for an impressive win.

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Although not as fluid as a week ago, this was still an impressive result for Charlton and midfielder Hayley Bennett insists they can get better:

“It was a bit of a scrap. Usually we play a bit prettier football but it’s a clean sheet and three points so we can’t complain.

“It was quite tough but we expected that. We knew that it wasn’t going to be easy and they weren’t an easy opponent. We knew they were going to be physical and get women behind the ball. But sometimes you have to play this kind of football.

“We still got three points and that’s all that matters. I didn’t know that win made us level on points with Man United so I’m happy about that.”

London Bees’ Emma Beckett admitted Charlton were the better side on the day and admits there are areas her side need to improve:

“Honestly I think Charlton probably deserved to win. I’ve got to be careful about the comments I give about the officials but certainly the penalty.

“I was the furthest from the goal and I can see the keeper has got a clear touch and even the striker’s touch has taken it out of play.

“It’s disappointing but sadly you come to expect it at this level. I think we had chances to get back in the game but overall Charlton deserved to win.

“Knowing some of the players I knew they were combative, but the officials maybe didn’t help the game in terms of getting a hold of it earlier.

“You have to grind out these matches to get results. We had a great performance last week despite the result. But absolute credit to Charlton as they did the damage in the first half and that’s what counts.”