|Charlton Athletic 1 v 2 Ipswich Town|
Wednesday, 26th December 2012 Kick-off 13:00
Charlton 1-2 Town
Wednesday, 26th Dec 2012 15:00
First half goals from DJ Campbell – who had missed an earlier penalty – and Daryl Murphy saw the Blues to a 2-1 Boxing Day victory at Charlton. Former Blue Danny Haynes hit back from the spot for the Addicks after the break but despite being under the cosh for much of the second period Town hung on for the three points.
Boss Mick McCarthy named an unchanged side with striker Daryl Murphy fine despite suffering a knee problem in the second half of the 1-1 draw with Bristol City. Former Blue Danny Haynes and ex-loan striker Ricardo Fuller both started for the home side.
Aaron Cresswell curled the game’s first chance, a 25-yard freekick, wide from the right in the third minute after Lee Martin had been fouled.
Two minutes later, Haynes forced Stephen Henderson to tip over with a dipping cross-shot from the left. From the resultant corner, Henderson failed to punch and Rob Hulse headed wide from deep just behind the Blues keeper. It was a chance, albeit a difficult one.
Charlton keeper Ben Hamer claimed ahead of DJ Campbell from Guirane N’Daw’s pass down the middle in the sixth minute with the game beginning in a lively manner.
The Blues, wearing their white second strip, threatened again in the eighth minute when Cresswell drilled the ball across the area from the left. It was half-cleared to skipper Carlos Edwards on the 18-yard line but the Trinidadian scuffed what was the game’s best opportunity up to then well wide.
Town had gradually got themselves on top and in the 17th minute they won a penalty. Martin brought the ball inside from the left past Emmanuel Frimpong and the on-loan Arsenal man tripped him with his trailing leg just inside the penalty area. There were no complaints from the home players.
DJ Campbell took the kick but smashed it well wide of Hamer’s right post, the second time the on-loan QPR man has missed from the spot for the Blues out of five penalties, all of which have come in the last seven games.
Campbell was thwarted again moments later when Addicks keeper Hamer, like Campbell a former Brentford player, blocked at his feet after Andy Drury had played a Murphy flick into his path.
On 20 Campbell sent a dangerous ball across the Charlton box but with no Town player breaking into the box, both teams perhaps expecting a linesman’s flag. At the other end, Tommy Smith blocked a Frimpong strike.
Just after the half hour, one-time Blues loanee Fuller shot low to Henderson’s right, the keeper claiming comfortably, then Campbell did much the same at the other end with Hamer similarly untested.
The Addicks came close to going in front in the 33rd minute when Dale Stephens’s 30-yard freekick beat Henderson low to his right but cannoned off his post before being cleared.
But it was the Blues who were to go in front a minute later. Martin crossed from the left of the area, Edwards scraped his volley wide from where Murphy cut it back into the area to Campbell, who beat Hamer from 10 yards.
On 37 Fuller hit a deflected shot through to Henderson, then at the other end Suffolk-born Michael Morrison was booked for a foul on Drury, Campbell remonstrating with referee Mick Russell for blowing his whistle when he thought he was through on goal. The freekick was eventually played to Cresswell, who shot wide.
Town went two in front right at the end of first half normal time. Campbell dispossessed Stephens 10 yards outside the Addicks area and fed Martin, whose strike from the edge of the box was blocked by Hamer, but Murphy following up slammed the ball into the roof of the net for his fifth goal of the season.
The whistle went soon afterwards with the Blues deserving their lead having been the brighter, more dangerous side throughout.
Campbell ought to have put Town in front via the penalty but made amends with his ninth goal later on in the half, while Murphy continued his good form in front of goal since moving back up front under his old Sunderland boss McCarthy.
The home side’s only significant chances were Haynes’s early cross-shot and Stephens’s freekick against the post.
Charlton boss Chris Powell swapped Frimpong and Danny Green for Johnnie Jackson and Bradley Pritchard ahead of the second period.
The Addicks began brightly, Haynes sending over a couple of dangerous crosses, Hulse heading the second into Henderson’s arms when he might well have caused the Blues keeper more of a problem. At the other end, Martin sent a dipping effort just over from the left.
There was a scare for Town in the 55th minute when Cresswell gave the ball away and Haynes crossed from the right, Hulse appearing to head wide, although referee Russell awarded a corner.
Despite spells of Blues possession, the home side had been on top since the break and in the 59th minute former Colchester man Jackson curled a freekick wide off the wall.
Drury, who had done well in the centre of the Town midfield, was swapped for Nigel Reo-Coker in the 61st minute in what looked like a pre-planned substitution.
Rain was by now falling heavily and some areas of the pitch, particularly a patch inside the Town box, looking boggy.
On 66 Henderson tipped Chambers’s header from in front of Hulse over with the keeper not always looking entirely certain with his punching. From a subsequent flagkick, the Irishman missed it completely and Town were fortunate that no Charlton player could get in a shot at goal with the ball on the ground on the edge of the six-yard box.
The Addicks, who had spent most of the half pressing, were handed a lifeline in the 72nd minute when Martin felled Chris Solly as the full-back broke into the area on the right. The ex-Manchester United man had no complaints and former Blue Danny Haynes struck a well-hit spotkick to Henderson’s right and into the net.
Charlton were close to getting on terms in the 81st minute when Jackson’s 20-yard shot was blocked and fell for Hulse, but Henderson was off his line quickly to get in the way of the striker’s effort. Soon after, Stephens curled a 25-yard freekick wide.
Hyam replaced Campbell for the final three minutes of normal time as the Blues looked the shore things up in the centre of midfield.
The home side continued to put on the pressure in four minutes of injury time, Stephens volleying wide and sub Yann Kermorgant looping an overhead kick on to the roof of the net after a corner, but the Blues held out for a vital victory.
Town will feel they did enough to warrant the three points on their first half display and the battling qualities they showed after the break, while Charlton will believe they ought to have got something from the game after dominating the second period.
It would have been harsh on the Blues not to have taken the points having worked so hard for their lead and then having fought to hold on to it in the second half with centre-halves Smith and Chambers amongst the stand-out performers.
Charlton: Hamer, Solly, Cort, Morrison (c), Seaborne, Green (Pritchard 46), Frimpong (Jackson 46), Stephens, Haynes, Fuller (Kermorgant 82), Hulse. Subs: Sullivan, Evina, Harriott, Dervite.
Town: Henderson, Orr, Chambers, Smith, Cresswell, Edwards (c), N'Daw, Drury (Reo-Coker 61), Martin, Campbell (Hyam 87), Murphy (Emmanuel-Thomas 90). Subs: Loach, Higginbotham, Chopra, Scotland. Referee: Mick Russell (Hertfordshire). Att: 18,380 (Town: 1,314).
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