Eniola Aluko will miss tonight's game against Austria, but shares her views with TheFA.com
Hello readers. I hope you had a good Easter. It’s been a good few weeks since I wrote my last column.
Forgive me, student life during the spring is far from easy going, with revision timetables, examinations and deadlines to take on board. My computer has solely been used for revision purposes over the last month!
Missing out on the possibility of playing in Thursday’s World Cup qualifier, due to exam commitments, is a decision that I’ve found quite difficult. It almost feels like deja-vu of last year in the European Championships when I had to take my A-level exams.
Football can be a cruel game; with ups and downs like a rollercoaster. That could not have been more evident in the past few weeks with Charlton losing in the FA Women's Cup semi final, and falling out of the race for the title after our 2-0 defeat to Arsenal last Thursday.
The majority of my columns have referred to the highs of Charlton’s season because there have been many, but it's important to refer to the lows as they, in many cases, make the team psychologically stronger for the next test that the game will throw our way.
The 2-1 loss in the FA cup semi final against Arsenal was a bitter pill to swallow. After I scored the equaliser to bring the game to 1-1, I felt like we had the momentum to go on and win the game. Casey Stoney hit the bar in the last five minutes before the end of normal time, so we had pushed Arsenal with chances up until that point.
Unfortunately for us, we conceded with just 30 seconds to go in extra time. It was a heart wrenching feeling to lose, considering the joys we had last year with winning The FA Cup.
The confidence of winning that semi-final seemed to have boosted Arsenal psychologically. They attacked ferociously last week in the league game, with Kelly Smith, Leanne Sanderson, Ciara Grant and Rachel Yankey all pushing forward.
Their victory means Arsenal are league champions for the fourth consecutive year. The result was bitterly disappointing for us, especially after going through the season unbeaten in the league until then.
I think losing to Birmingham 1-0 on Sunday was a knock-on effect of our loss against Arsenal, but it is up to the team to ensure that we finish second.
It has been a long season and on the international stage, it is far from over. If we beat Austria this week, it will help to keep France and Holland at our heels, especially as our 0-0 draw with France last month still leaves us at the top of the table.
I’ll be cheering the girls on to give myself a break from my ‘fantastic’ revision schedule.
Catch you later,