Gary Haines reports from Selhurst Park
Glenn Murray condemned Charlton to derby defeat at Selhurst Park on Saturday as Crystal Palace toasted a Championship double against their near neighbours.
The Eagles were ‘glad all over’ after two goals in four minutes from the prolific striker that wiped out Ricardo Fuller’s solo opener for the visitors.
His 24th and 25th efforts of the season came inside the last 15 minutes as the Eagles, second best in the opening period by some margin, turned things round in spectacular fashion.
Fuller had given the Addicks a deserved lead on 14 minutes slaloming in and firing home – and the visitors ought really to have been further ahead at the break after dominating proceedings.
Ian Holloway’s second period introductions of Kevin Phillips, Stephen Dobbie and Jonathan Williams certainly made a difference for the home side and they were back in it 15 minutes from time as Murray had pace to take a touch and crack home a shot.
And Palace, who had triumphed at The Valley in September, were in dreamland four minutes later as Murray found himself in space to control a high ball and smash home a shot.
There was no way back for that for the Addicks as they were KO’d by a late sucker-punch for a second successive week to end empty handed, something that scarcely looked likely at the break.
In front of a magnificent 3,091 travelling fans, the visitors begun the game with real purpose and were deservedly in front just before the quarter-hour mark thanks to a moment of magic from Fuller.
Few at this level boast the kind of skill-set that the Jamaican possesses and the goal was all his own work after a magnificent first touch to control a high pass from Solly. What followed was sublime as he veered away from his marker and crashed an angled shot through the legs of Speroni and in.
It might have been better for the Addicks in a dominant first period performance as Pritchard was foiled by the keeper, and from the resultant corner Cort nodded a great chance over.
Speroni saved smartly from Jackson and the skipper guided a header wide after great work on the left.
With Dervite screening the back four impressively, the visitors were able to commit bodies forward in support of the wily Fuller while at the other end the Championship’s top scorer Murray was feeding off scraps as the wide threat of Yannick Bolasie and Manchester United loanee Wilfried Zaha was efficiently negated.
Of course, as elated as Powell would have been with the first half display, he would be well aware how quickly football fortunes could change going into the second period.
Palace, for whom veteran debutante Kevin Phillips entered the fray at the break, carried a better threat at the start of the half.
But it was only a superb fingertip stop from Speroni that denied Fuller a spectacular second after the striker brought down a high ball once more and curled a shot towards the top corner.
At the other end Hamer passed his first serious test with flying colours as he turned Phillips’ fierce shot round the post – but these were signs that the hosts were getting back in it.
And, despite Powell introducing Rhoys Wiggins to stiffen up the left side, he hosts would take charge in four ruthless minutes.
First Murray fastened on to a pass across from Dean Moxey and took a touch before firing home, and shortly after Hamer had tipped over from substitute Stephen Donnie, Murray grabbed his second with a fearsome drive after collecting a high ball in the box.
For the second time in as many matches the Addicks had lurched from a position of relative comfort to chasing the game in the blink of an eye and Powell immediately sent on Danny Haynes and Yann Kermorgant in a bid to salvage something.
But they couldn’t turn things round and were left to chew that fat of another late defeat as they made the short trip home on Saturday evening.
In terms of team news there were three changes for the derby clash at Selhurst Park – two former Palace men coming back into the side.
Fit-again Leon Cort came back into the heart of the defence for Matt Taylor while striker Fuller got the nod up front in place of Kermorgant.
There was also a recall for Dorian Dervite with the Frenchmen likely to play a holding midfield role. Dale Stephens was the man to miss out.
There was also a recall to the bench for Haynes, his first squad appearance since picking up a hamstring injury against Derby County shortly before Christmas and Bradley Wright-Phillips was also named on the bench after his proposed loan move to Swindon Town on deadline day broke down.
Another former Eagle, Rhoys Wiggins, was also back on the bench for the Addicks, his last action coming against Palace on September 1st. On that night Charlton suffered a first league defeat against the Eagles at The Valley since March 1968.
Powell, himself a former Eagles apprentice, was aiming to get one over on the club he began his long footballing journey at and Cort came back into his backline for the first time since picking up a hamstring injury at Watford on New Year’s Day.
He partnered Michael Morrison with Chris Solly and Cedric Evina the full-backs and Ben Hamer again between the posts.
Dervite sat in midfield behind skipper Johnnie Jackson and Bradley Pritchard with Lawrie Wilson and Scott Wagstaff wide of frontman Fuller.
Taylor, Kermorgant, Stephens, Wright-Phillips, Wiggins, Haynes and keeper David Button made up the bench.
The Eagles were without the influential Mile Jedanik, injured in the midweek defeat at Huddersfield Town, but Manchester United’s Wilfried Zaha was back out wide at Selhurst Park as part of his loan spell back in South London.
Yannick Bolasie was the other wide option with the prolific Murray up front and deadline day signings, veteran Kevin Phillips and attacking midfielder Stephen Dobbie, were on the home bench.
After a good early cross from Dervite was nudged behind, the first opening went the way of the Addicks as Cort rose to head Jackson’s corner over the bar
And in a positive start for the men in black and white, Pritchard teed up Wilson to crunch a shot against the upper torso of Damian Delaney. The midfielder claimed a penalty but that would have been harsh on the defender who had blocked bravely.
Up at the other end Solly had the last word on Zaha after the winger had initially made ground on the left, not only delaying him with a jarring challenge but also keeping the ball in play.
Fuller was wildly wide while Bolasie sauntered across from the right, initially well-tracked by Evina, to latch on to a diagonal pass and his audacious overhead effort was saved by Hamer.
The visitors had made by far the brighter start with Morrison and Cort regulars in the opposite box at a succession of set-plays – but it was a hoof forward that paved the way for the visitors claiming a deserved lead on 14 minutes.
The move started way back in the Addicks half when, after three headers from the visitors, Solly launched the ball with purpose down the right channel.
What followed was majestic from Fuller as a sublime first touch killed the ball stone dead, and the striker cut in from the right and away from Delaney before crashing an angled drive through the legs of Julian Speroni and in.
The Addicks fans at the opposite end of the ground went bonkers as Fuller peeled away to celebrate – and the visitors were on their way.
Late challenges from Jackson and Pritchard, perhaps amplified by the home shouts of derision, resulted in free-kicks, no more, with Bolasie also escaping a late one on Wagstaff before Fuller’s goal.
There was a heart in mouth scare for the Addicks as Hamer collided with Cort and spilled the ball, but the keeper quickly pounced on the scraps.
But heading towards the half hour mark the keeper had not been significantly been troubled with the wide threat of Zaha and Bolasie largely negated.
Back at the other end there were two big chances in a matter of seconds 12 minutes before the break.
First, Fuller’s sand-iron-like lofted pass picked out a willing Pritchard and he got to the ball before Speroni only for the Argentinean to make himself big and turn the ball behind.
And from that Jackson flag-kick, the ball looped up for Cort who could only head over with the goal at his mercy.
Palace were then rescued by their keeper again on 37 minutes after another good move.
After Pritchard got round the back and clipped the ball into the dangerzone, Cort was ushered out by Jackson and the skipper’s low shot was saved smartly to his left by Speroni.
Bolasie, who had switched flanks with Zaha, saw his impudent chip sail off target before another big chance went begging for the visitors as the clock reached 40.
Wagstaff and Evina combined beautifully on the left and the latter’s cross was headed back by Wilson for the late-arriving Jackson who could only steer his header wide of the left post.
One started to fear, at this juncture, that the plethora of missed opportunities might come back to haunt the visitors who were head and shoulders the better team.
Alex Marrow drilled a shot well wide for the hosts in the last minute of the half and the hosts were booed off at the break by an unhappy audience – aside from a pocket of 3,000 that is.
There was a change for the hosts at the break as veteran Phillips replaced an out-of-sorts Jacob Butterfield, and in the early moments Dervite broke through but lacked height on an attempted chip and Speroni saved.
Phillips made his presence felt on his first raid in Palace colours, teeing up Zaha to curve a ball across goal and wide with the outside of his foot.
Dervite drilled a shot wide from range while Jazz Richards was high and wide after a free-kick was half-cleared amid a more positive start to the half by the hosts.
More audacious work from Fuller almost fashioned a second for Charlton on 59 minutes as the Jamaican again plucked an impossible-looking ball pout of the air with ease, and he checked inside before his curling effort was brilliantly tipped over by Speroni.
Hamer then made his first significant save of the afternoon by denying Phillips moments later after the striker had let rip with a goalbound shot inside the box.
The keeper would win the dual on this occasion, turning the ball round the post and soon after Zaha motored away from Morrison but his cross was headed over by a diving Stuart O’Keefe.
Wagstaff warmed the hands of Speroni from range before Holloway rolled the dice for a final time as Dobbie and Jonathan Williams replaced Bolasie and O’Keefe midway through the half.
Wiggins made his return in place of Wagstaff on 73 minutes and straight away took his place on the left of midfield, but it was Palace that drew level with 15 minutes to go.
It was the prolific Murray who was on target, latching on to a ball into the box from Dean Moxey and taking a touch before drilling a low shot into the bottom right corner of the net.
Suddenly the pendulum had swung Palace’s way and only a terrific tip-over from Hamer denied Dobbie before the visitors snatched the lead 11 minutes from time.
And anything Fuller could do in the first half was matched by Murray as he collected a high pass in the box with a great first touch and, after checking to see he was onside, slammed the ball into the back of the net.
A furious Hamer kicked the post in frustration as the natives celebrated and suddenly – and devastatingly - the tide had turned.
Powell summoned Haynes and Kermorgant to replace Wilson and Jackson as the clock ticked down and Hamer had to save smartly from Phillips at the expense of a home corner.
Pritchard latched onto a Morrison flick but could only fire straight at Speroni and Phillips was just off target with an angled effort for the hosts with time against Charlton.
Dobbie’s effort was held by Hamer in added time, of which there was four minutes with Cort pressed into service as an emergency striker.
Murray almost claimed his hat-trick two minutes into added time when he brought a diagonal pass down and steered a shot wide.
And Palace held firm in the closing moments to seal a win that galvanise their promotion hopes, and sentence the Addicks to a derby doubling.
Charlton: Hamer; Solly, Evina, Cort, Morrison; Dervite, Pritchard, Jackson (Kermorgant 81); Wilson (Haynes 81), Wagstaff (Wiggins 73); Fuller.
Subs (not used): Button, Taylor, Stephens, Wright-Phillips.
Goal: Fuller 14
Crystal Palace: Speroni; Richards, Moxey, Ramage, Delaney; Marrow, O’Keefe (Williams 67), Butterfield (Phillips 46); Zaha, Bolasie (Dobbie 67), Murray.
Subs (not used): Price, Blake, Wilbraham, Parr.
Goals: Murray 75, 79
Referee: M Halsey
Att: 17,945 (3,091 Charlton)