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Third time lucky for Charlton women
Charlton 1 Everton 0
May 2, 2005

Eniola Aluko's second-half strike was enough to ensure Charlton beat Everton and claimed the FA Women's Cup after two successive final defeats.

Aluko's winner means Charlton - who were beaten by Fulham and Arsenal in the last two finals - get their hands on a trophy after several near-misses, and it was a triumph they deserved for their clear superiority in the first hour at Upton Park.

Anne-Marie Heatherson could have had a hat-trick for Charlton against an Everton side for whom Chantelle Parry and Amy Kane had the best chances. But the Merseysiders were largely second best, and Keith Boanas' team were worthy winners.

Everton had the first good chance, Rachel Unitt sending a free header just wide from Fara Williams' right-wing free-kick, but Charlton took control soon afterwards.

Heatherson was unlucky not to give her side the lead immediately afterwards. When the ball broke to her following Johnson's tackle on her strike partner Aluko, Heatherson turned and fired in a left-foot shot that beat goalkeeper Danielle Hill but struck the right post.

Heatherson then missed a sitter 10 minutes before the break, heading wide from six yards from Aluko's right wing cross after the pacy forward had escaped Unitt and Johnson down the right.

Mo Marley's team were struggling to cope, but they almost took a surprise lead in the final minute of the first period. Becky Easton's right wing cross went over the head of Charlton 'keeper Pauline Cope, but defender Karen Hills did just enough to prevent Kane turning the ball home at the far post.

Charlton regained the ascendancy straight after the break but Heatherson was again frustrated by the woodwork, this time seeing her header strike the near post following Danielle Murphy's right-wing cross.

But Charlton scored the goal they deserved in the 58th minute. Aluko ran onto Emma Coss' through ball and took advantage of Hill's hesitant goalkeeping to guide the ball into the bottom-left corner from close range.

To their credit, Everton responded strongly, and should have levelled the match five minutes later. Striker Chantelle Parry was allowed to run unchallenged from the half-way line and Charlton were grateful first to Donnique Sinclair-Chambers, who blocked Parry's shot brilliantly, and then to Cope for saving Jody Handley's follow-up before Parry put the rebound well wide.

With time running out, Cope pushed Fara Williams' curling free-kick over the bar and Clarke squandered a chance to make the game safe for Charlton.
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