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Charlton 3-2 Town
Charlton 3-2 Town
Tuesday, 1st Jan 2002 17:59

Town fell to a first defeat in four games after going two goals up in four minutes. Marcus Bent scored both early goals before Charlton hit back through Robinson and Parker. In the second half Jason Euell hit the winner.

Town lined-up with one change from the side which won 5-0 against Sunderland on Saturday. In came Jamie Clapham for Martijn Reuser. Marcus Stewart failed to even make the bench.

Town went a goal up within 50 seconds as Marcus Bent headed the ball home from Thomas Gaardsoe's knockdown. Finidi George had been fouled on halfway and Mark Venus had sent in one of his freekicks towards Gaardsoe at the far post.

Within four minutes Town were two-up. Marcus Bent ran on to a through ball down the right. As keeper Kiely came off his line Bent beat him with little trouble to put Town two-up.

On 8 minutes a clash between Thomas Gaardsoe and Jason Euell led to controversy. Referee Uriah Rennie saw no foul in the incident, but as Gaardsoe took the ball wide Robinson flew in with a ferocious challenge which sent the Dane flying. A red card looked a real possibility but Rennie saw the offence as merely worth a yellow.

Charlton came close to getting a goal back in the 13th minute when Konchesky hit a freekick from the edge of the area after Jamie Clapham had been penalised for handball. Sereni got across to his right post and tipped the ball wide.

But Charlton got a goal back just two minutes later. Robinson was found in space inside the area and he hit a shot goalwards which appeared to be deflected before going under Sereni and into the net. It was a bad goal to concede with Town's marking questionable.

Town tried to get another goal ahead as Matt Holland hit a shot wide. Finidi George was almost on to a Jamie Clapham cross from the right before Alun Armstrong hit a shot on the turn whilst grounded. His effort was put out for a corner.

Thomas Gaardsoe came close to his second goal in successive games when he headed a Venus corner just wide of the post.

On the half hour Hermann Hreidarsson went into the ref's book when he tripped Robinson as he went by him on halfway. From the freekick by Konchesky the ball was pumped forward towards Fish who headed goalwards. Sereni saved but the ball ran to Scott Parker eight yards out and he stroked the ball goalwards. Mark Venus tried to hooked the ball away, but the linesman adjudged the ball to have crossed the line.

Charlton had made a fine recovery and were much the batter side as the half drew to a close. Lisbie, looking dangerous, had a shot well-saved by Sereni.

Hreidarsson was spoken to by Rennie after Euell appeared to elbow him. The ref saw this as a freekick to Charlton. Three minutes later Luke Young was booked for a foul on Jamie Clapham.

With four minutes of the first half left Lisbie hit another shot which Sereni saved. As the half ended Parker hit a shot which deflected wickedly, fortunately wide of Sereni's goal.

No changes at half-time and it was Finidi George who had the first shot of the half. His effort cannoned off Armstrong and the danger was gone.

On 50 Marcus Bent came close to getting his hat-trick. Hermann Hreidarsson had brought the ball forward well. He'd laid the ball off to Matt Holland who had played the ball on to Bent who hit an effort which looked destined for the corner of the net. Unluckily the ball came off the post and away.

Two minutes later Finidi George hit a shot from distance which Kiely had little trouble with.

In the 56th minute Lisbie again tested Sereni, but the keeper was once more equal to him. Lisbie had escaped the attentions of Mark Venus on the edge of the area.

On the hour though, Charlton did beat Town's Italian keeper. Robinson crossed from the right, Lisbie's shot was saved and Euell followed up hammering the ball into the roof of the net.

Town had sat back on their lead and had allowed Charlton back into the game. Now they needed to step up a gear once more. Venus came into the attack more, hitting a shot over the bar from distance.

George Burley decided to make changes on 66. On came Sixto Peralta and Martijn Reiser and off went Magilton and Clapham. Six minutes later Peralta's cross almost fell for Bent in the area, but the ball just ran away to Kiely.

With eleven minutes left Finidi hit a cross from the right. Holland, Bent and Peralta were all on the edge of the area, but as the ball flew across towards them a defender just got a foot in. Play switched to the other end and Mark Venus was booked for handball as Lisbie tried to get bay him.

Town continued to push forward, but created no really clearcut chances. Bent had a shot blocked by Young when it looked goal-bound. Finidi George hit a shot wide. Alun Armstrong almost got to a Reuser ball across goal, but Town were destined to fall to defeat.

Three wins from four over the Christmas period, better than most of us were hoping for. Town failed to defend the early lead and perhaps should have continued to press in the early stages rather than trying to sit on a lead. A stumble perhaps, but the revival still looks on-going.

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