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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 25 Aug 12 at 17:00 PM

Charlton 0 Hull City 0

Gary Haines reports from The Valley

Ben Hamer was the late hero as Charlton continued their unbeaten start to the Championship season on Saturday.

The keeper’s double-stop in the last minute ensured honours ended even as he foiled first substitute Jay Simpson and then dangerman Sone Aluko.

The first was good, but the second was magnificent as the custodian reacted brilliantly to deny the game’s liveliest player.

On a rain-lashed afternoon in SE7 this was a very different affair to the high-octane midweek clash against Leicester.

For pulsating on Tuesday read patience four days on against a well-drilled Hull side for whom Aluko was a constant thorn in the visiting backline’s side.

He was denied by Hamer in the first half too, with Charlton seeing a couple of Leon Cort headers drop wide before Ben Amos made a smart stop to keep out a Yann Kermorgant volley.

Two weeks in it would have been an early contender for goal of the season – an award he mopped up on the last day of last term – but it wasn’t to be.

As lighting lit up the black SE7 skies above and a monsoon-like shower took centre-stage, Kermorgant had a goal disallowed early in the second half but it was Hull who carried more of a threat going forward.

Aluko and sub Jay Simpson were particularly prominent, none more so than in that dramatic final minute when Hamer stood tall.

The keeper, picked out pre-game by Chris Powell for his assuredness between the posts in the opening two league games, further enhanced his reputation with the boss with that late stop.

That, together with some other solid work between the posts behind another hard-working defensive display, made sure the scoreline remained blank.

And five points from three games back in the second tier can be seen as a pretty respectable return as for the third time in the last four seasons Charlton reached the end of August without tasting defeat in a league match.

In terms of team news there was a landmark double for Rhoys Wiggins and Danny Hollands against the Tigers.

The left-back and central midfielder both made their 50th appearances for the club, all incidentally from the start, as the Addicks aimed to continue their unbeaten start to life back in the Championship.

And Charlton pitched in an unchanged starting XI for their second Valley match in four days, the first being a breathless 2-1 win against Leicester City in midweek.

With new signing Ricardo Fuller lacking match sharpness and not in the matchday squad, Tuesday night scorers Bradley Wright-Phillips and Kermorgant again led the line.

Hollands was joined in the middle of the park by Dale Stephens with Bradley Pritchard and skipper Johnnie Jackson supplying the width.

At the back Wiggins’ fellow full-back was Chris Solly while former Tiger Leon Cort was partnered by Michael Morrison in the centre. Ben Hamer was again between the posts.

The home bench was comprised of John Sullivan, Lawrie Wilson, Salim Kerkar, Danny Green, Jordan Cook and Michael Smith with an injury to Matt Taylor in the warm-up meaning Dorian Dervite was drafted into the reserve ranks at the eleventh hour.

Hull’s start to the season had been symmetrical ahead of the game after an opening day 1-0 win against Brighton & Hove Albion was followed by a midweek loss at Blackburn Rovers, by the same scoreline.

Liam Rosenior, son of former Addick Leroy, was at right wing-back and another names of note in the rearguard ranks was former West Ham man Abdoulaye Faye.

Paul McKenna was in midfield together with former Manchester United youngster Corry Evans while summer signing Nick Proschwitz was up front alongside Aluko.

The German fired in the first shot of the afternoon in the third minute with Hamer holding the ball at the second attempt and at the other end a towering header from Kermorgant fell to Pritchard whose shot was blocked by a defender.

Steve Bruce utilised a 5-3-2 formation and the other one of the two strikers, Aluko, fired high and wide on the run.

The heavens then opened and after the initial downpour a looping Jackson header was clutched high at his right upright by Ben Amos.

Wright-Phillips saw a slightly deflected shot saved by the Manchester United loanee while at the other Cort timed his challenge on Evans to perfection as the ball broke dangerously.

The first serious test to either keeper came a minute shy of the half hour mark, and it was Hull that went close.

Evans fed the ball through to Aluko to burst into space in the box but he could not beat Hamer who stood tall to make a fine block. The ball bounced loose but awkwardly for Proschwitz who could only steer it over the bar.

Pritchard and then Jackson couldn’t quite connect with headers as the ball went behind for a corner, and following the second Cort headed a Pritchard cross just wide.

This would kick off a good spell for the hosts, with Amos rescuing the Tigers in the 37th minute.

Jackson capitalised on a ricochet on the left and took the ball on before centring to Kermorgant, and the striker connected flush on the volley only for the Manchester United loanee to smartly beat the ball away.

Cort headed just wide at a Jackson corner moments later and as the skies darkened again Faye headed off target at a free-kick.

That was the last action of a pretty low-key opening period, and as the rain lashed down after the break Wiggins slid in to turn Aluko’s shot behind for a corner.

The SE7 skyline was meanwhile decorated by sporadic lighting – although the on-pitch action almost sparkled on the pitch as the Addicks had a goal disallowed.

Wright-Phillips got in behind Faye and veered to his right before seeing his shot brilliantly blocked by Amos.

Kermorgant carefully lifted the ball back into the vacant net but the celebrations were cut short by a flagging linesman on the far side, Wright-Phillips presumably offside with the first chance.

Proschwitz jinked into space before his shot from the edge of the box was clutched by Hamer and by this time the rain was sheeting down.

After a scramble in the Addicks box Wiggins blocked bravely, unaware an offside flag was already u.

Paul McShane replaced an injured Alex Bruce after 63 minutes and Cort snaked out a leg to foil Proschwitz after initially being outwitted by the big striker.

A deflected Aluko drive posed no significant problems for Hamer as the clock reached 70 and Proschwitz was replaced by former Arsenal youngster Jay Simpson soon afterwards.

Morrison was just beaten to a terrific curling free-kick from Stephens by a defender as the ball dropped behind for a corner 

After a ball was headed out Robert Koren’s drive flew just wide – with Bruce holding his head on the sidelines as Simpson just failed to connect.

Aluko, regularly popping up in pockets of space, wriggled into the box but saw a shot blocked by a long leg of Cort. In the aftermath McKenna’s shot was deflected wide and the hosts were pinned back in the ensuing moments.

There were loud penalty claims turned down for the Addicks on 78 minutes as Joe Dudgeon jumped to block a Pritchard effort.

Despite claims from players and Powell referee Hooper said know and the game restarted with a corner which was headed just wide by Kermorgant.

McShane then fell awkwardly after a challenge from Kermorgant and there was an eerie silence as the Irishman was tended too.

It was a horrible fall with Kermorgant clearly concerned as he had lengthy treatment but thankfully the stretcher wasn’t needed and he was able to continue.

Hull were a whisker away from nicking the lead five minutes to go when the busy Aluko jinked into pace and slipped the ball through to Simpson whose low shot flew inches wide of the left upright.

The substitute had made a positive impact for the visitors – and he was involved in a miraculous let-off for Charlton in the last regulation minute.

After good work on the left the ball reached Simpson whose shot was saved by Hamer, and the home keeper then reacted magnificently to turn away Aluko’s follow-up as the striker looked certain to score.

In the second of five added minutes a free-kick and corner for the hosts came to nothing and after a good break a Solly cross reached Kermorgant but an assured Amos held the header.

The lively Simpson rushed aside Cort - it looked a foul from this vantage point – before taking aim from the edge of the box.

Hamer saved low, just like he did from Aluko in the 95th minute after another rapid breakaway, and the Addicks had collected a second Saturday point of the season.

Charlton: Hamer; Solly, Wiggins, Morrison, Cort; Pritchard, Hollands, Stephens, Jackson; Kermorgant, Wright-Phillips.

Subs (not used): Sullivan, Dervite, Wilson, Kerkar, Green, Cook, Smith.

Hull City: Amos; Rosenior, Dudgeon, Chester, Faye, Bruce (McShane 63); McKenna, Koren, Evans; Aluko, Proschwitz (Simpson 72).

Subs (not used): Oxley, Cairney, Stewart, Olofinjana, McLean.

Ref: S Hooper

Att: 16,202

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