By Richard Cawley
Kit Graham has been told the football world is her oyster – if she has the desire to reach the top.
The 22-year-old striker, who represented England at under-15 level, has scored 32 goals in 26 appearances this season with her overall haul standing at 181 goals in 198 outings.
Graham’s double in Sunday’s Capital Cup semi-final sealed a 3-2 win over Leyton Orient.
Addicks boss Riteesh Mishra said: “She is probably the best technical player I’ve ever worked with.
“She is what I call a street footballer. There are not a lot like that anymore. She loves being in tight areas, likes body contact and it is very hard getting the ball off her.
“She can go and play at the highest level, a lot is down to her and her application. She has got great coaches around her now, trying to make her better.
“Kit has got age on her side. The world, in a footballing sense, is there for her to go and take. It is how much she wants to go and grab it.
“We’re very fortunate to have a player like her, but she has still got a long way to go.”
Mishra was not totally satisfied with the win over Orient, Georgia Griffin putting them ahead in the tie before the east London outfit fought back to lead at the start of the second half.
“We were expected to win because they are in the league below us and we’re at home. But we didn’t really play well. Our extra quality came through but the two goals conceded were poor by our standards.
“Our last goal [by Graham] was unbelievable – of a very high level – regardless of whether it was men’s or women’s football.
“It sets up a South London derby in the final against Crystal Palace. We’re looking forward to that and I’m sure they are too.”
Charlton will follow Crystal Palace Ladies in applying to join the FA Women’s Championship – which will be the second-highest tier domestically in a new-look structure next season. Clubs can change divisions due to meeting licensing requirements alone.
“We want to get promoted through merit,” said Mishra. “If we have to go one step further and win the play-offs against our northern counterparts then that is what we’ll try to do.
“There is still a long, long way to go – but we are in with a chance.
“Our chairman has made it known to everyone that we will be applying for a tier two license and we are working behind the scenes to put a bid together with the support of various sponsors and the men’s side. Submissions are early March.”
Crystal Palace Ladies are funded almost exclusively by their Premier League big brother.
Richard Spokes, chairman of Crystal Palace Ladies, said: “Being part of the FA Women’s Championship would help attract more players. It would be an endorsement of what we have tried to do here – to make Crystal Palace Ladies an elite football team on a par with what the club has achieved in the men’s game.”
Ellie Bailes and Ciara Sherwood netted for Palace as they won 2-1 at Queens Park Rangers Ladies.
The Eagles are two points behind table-topping C&K Basildon Ladies but have played one match more.
AFC Wimbledon Ladies are 14 points clear at the top of South East Division 1 and thrashed rock-bottom Haringey Borough Women 9-1 on Sunday. Their goalscorers were Katie Stanley (2), Georgia Heasman, Jordanne Atkins, Jess Trimnell, Laura Quinn-Low and Rebecca Sargent.
Millwall Lionesses have gone a calendar year undefeated in WSL 1 and do not play again until March 25, when they head to Oxford Women.