Monday, March 13, 2006

Dazza Double brings three more points

Charlton Athletic 2 Middlesbrough 1

Another goal brace by Darren Bent gave Charlton a welcome home victory at The Valley yesterday. The pair were Bent's 18th and 19th goals of the season.

The official match report is here.

It seemed that the Charlton team were as laid back as me during the first half - at least I had the excuse of a transatlantic flight before my arrival at the ground. No real Charlton attacks came in the first twenty minutes, and only good saves by Thomas Myrhe kept the scoreline level at the break. One save from Maccarone was exceptional!

At half time, England's new manager (copyright Sunday Mirror) made two changes, taking off the horizontal Bryan Hughes (whose only first half action had been to get booked) and the static Jay Bothroyd (whose only first half action was, erm, running out onto the pitch). On came the current fans favourite Jerome Thomas and also Jason Euell. At last there seemed to be purpose, with Thomas seeing plenty of ball wide on the left, and Euell slotting into the attacking midfield role as the team switched to 4-5-1. It took a while to gel, then good play down the left gave Chrissy Powell space to cross and Darren Bent flicked the ball home with a deft header (see top).

With only 18 minutes left, could Charlton hang on? Three clean sheets in a row and an excellent recent home record gave us hope, but...

A pass out to the right wing was chased by Holland, and as it was shepherded out, an arm was swung to stop the Charlton player getting the ball. The crowd were furious that this went unpunished and the players lost concentration. The throw went forward to Viduka (a handful all afternoon) who turned Perry and crashed a dipping volley over Myrhe and into the net. Now it was Boro's turn to search for all three points. Yakubu was on for Maccarone and posed a real threat, but it was a late Charlton goal that won maximum points. Young linked with Kishishev, whose deft flick set the England full back free on a run into the area. Normally, Luke blasts the ball high and wide, and it looked like he was attempting to shoot as he neared goal. The ball though was mishit and rolled across the six yard box to a waiting Darren Bent who knocked it into the back of the net and celebrated (left).

Time was played out, and Chris Powell did his usual after-win tunnel celebrations. It was a hard fought victory, and great that Charlton had started to score goals again after three blank matches. It also gave the home team the morale advantage leading up to the FA Cup quarter final next week, though Boro will put out a very different looking team in that fixture I expect.

Powell was outstanding all match, and Bent ran all day and took his chances. Holland and Kishishev also had good games, but my man of the match had to be Thomas Myrhe (left), without who's saves, Charlton would not have been in with a chance of victory.

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