Sat 02 Mar 13
at 18:22 PM
Charlton 0 Burnley 1
Gary Haines reports from The Valley
Charlton’s home woes continued as they slipped to defeat against Burnley on Saturday.
A superb strike from the prolific Charlie Austin gave the Clarets a morale-boosting success in SE7 as the Addicks suffered on home turf once again.
In fairness, there was little Chris Powell’s side could have done about the decisive goal two minutes before the break as Austin cut in from the left and unleashed a searing drive that gave league debutant David Button no chance.
It left out-of-form Burnley to toast a first win in seven while the Addicks were left nursing another home hangover in this most frustrating of seasons at The Valley.
A run of one point from the last 12 on offer – and just one win in eight stretching back to late November - leaves them still anxiously looking over their shoulders as the season enters its final furlong.
And no team in the second tier have won fewer on home territory this season, which, in contrast to some fine away performances, is becoming a bigger and bigger concern by the week.
It’s also heaping the pressure on Powell’s men to maintain their better-than-average away form with fixtures at bottom-half rivals Peterborough United and Huddersfield Town now hugely important this week.
The Clarets edged the opening period and had a goal chalked off for offside before their keeper Lee Grant flung up an arm to foil Danny Haynes from close in.
Other than that Burnley defended well as an Addicks side containing three frontmen struggled to make the kind of impact Powell would have wanted.
Button, starting his first league game for the club, did well to turn away a fierce angled drive from Alex Kacaniklic but the visitors broke the deadlock in spectacular fashion two minutes before the break.
Austin, with just one goal in the calendar year ahead of the game (but 23 up to December 31st) was the man on target in blistering fashion, with a superb strike that Button could do little about.
They took that lead into the break and Austin couldn’t connect on the far side after a cross was spilled by Button soon after the restart.
Charlton offered far more after the break and Grant saved brilliantly from Haynes’ header and then tipped over from Leon Cort as the hosts looked far happier in a 4-4-2 formation with sub Danny Green an influential outlet in the closing quarter.
Michael Morrison was agonisingly close to connecting at the far post as little fell for the hosts in an attacking sense, the loose ball frustratingly dropping to a Burnley foot at will it seemed.
On the flipside, the Clarets defended magnificently to hold onto their advantage with bodies put on the line against a home wave of pressure that included stand-in striker – and former Claret - Leon Cort.
And the final whistle was met with much adulation among the away contingent as they celebrated a fine away win.
For the Addicks, it was back to the drawing board again.
In terms of team news Powell rang the changes for the visit of Burnley.
There were five changes from the defeat against Nottingham Forest last weekend with first league starts for keeper Button and on-loan striker Jonathan Obika.
Injury ruled out right-back Chris Solly and Dale Stephens, so Lawrie Wilson stepped in at the back and Bradley Pritchard switched inside into a midfield three.
And further upfield Powell, without the suspended Yann Kermorgant, plumped for an exciting-looking three-man strike force of Obika, Ricardo Fuller and Haynes.
There was also a first bench outing of the season for Andy Hughes" style="color: rgb(187, 38, 44);">Andy Hughes after his long fight back to fitness from an Achilles ailment.
Arguably the most eye-catching decision was Button, whose only previous outing for the club came in the FA Cup defeat against Huddersfield Town, getting the nod between the posts as Ben Hamer dropped to the bench.
And with Solly ruled out with a dead leg two players that had featured in every Championship game to date were absent.
Wilson deputised at the back while up front there was a first start of the year for Haynes with late debutant last week Obika also in from the opening whistle alongside Jamaican hitman Fuller.
So Button took his place between the posts for the home side with Wilson and Rhoys Wiggins flanked Morrison and ex-Claret Cort at the back.
There was a three man central axis of skipper Johnnie Jackson, Bradley Pritchard and Dervite while Fuller, Obika and Haynes were up top.
Hamer started on the bench where he was joined by Hughes, Matt Taylor, Cedric Evina, Green, Scott Wagstaff and youngster Callum Harriott.
Burnley, six games without a win ahead of the game, handed a debut to Fulham loanee Alex Kacaniklic, after he signed on the eve of the game and the prolific Austin provided their chief goal threat.
Martin Paterson and Junior Stanislas were also wide outlets while there was a return to midfield for Marvin Bartley.
Paterson wriggled into space and curled the first shot of the afternoon over the bar and into his fans behind the goal after six minutes – and the Northern Irishman had the ball in the net six minutes later, although an offside flag would delay his celebrations.
Haynes had surrendered possession cheaply in midfield and Stanislas fed the ball through for the striker with the flag up as he pulled the trigger.
The Addicks were attempting to play off Fuller in the early stages and after he found Obika on the right, Wilson was the support-act, crossing for Haynes to head Charlton’s first opening wide of the right post.
Haynes had headed the winner at Turf Moor and he forced a smart save from Grant soon afterwards, the keeper fisting over the bar after Morrison had headed a Jackson corner back across goal.
From the second, Cort picked up the scraps on the far side of the box and his volley across goal eluded all and sundry before flashing behind.
After another set-play, there was a glimmer of a chance as the ball filtered through to Morrison, only for Obika to unwittingly block. Fuller forcibly won the ball back and it reached Jackson who fired well wide.
After good defensive work from Wiggins conceded a corner, Charlton were almost caught napping at the quickly-taken set-piece as Kacaniklic found himself in space on the right and drilled in a low shot that was beaten away buy Button. The loose ball was cleared as the hosts drew a sigh of belief.
Wilson got back brilliantly to divert a cross-shot from Austin – heading towards Stanislas at the far post - behind for a corner on the half hour.
A tame header from Haynes, who had dropped back to a left-sided midfield role as the half continued, was heading wide before Grant claimed but it was the Clarets who were looking the better side.
Kacaniklic was again in plenty of space after a half-cleared corner but drove across goal and well wide but the Clarets grabbed the lead with an absolute screamer two minutes before the break.
And it was all about Austin as he collected the ball on the left, cut inside and blasted a superb shot into the top right corner of the net.
Button had absolutely no chance as the fans behind him in the Jimmy Seed stand rejoiced and Paterson was adjudged to have fouled Morrison in added time, before rattling a shot against the bar.
That was the last act of the half with a smattering of boos greeting the players as they disappeared down the tunnel.
Pritchard’s early volley was deflected behind and Obika was inches away from connecting with a nod-on from Cort at the corner.
Fuller burst on to a lay off from Pritchard but spooned an effort wide but at the other end Charlton got away with it as Button dropped a centre from Trippier and Austin, under pressure from Wilson, could not smuggle the ball home from close range.
Burnley were then grateful to Grant on the hour as his save kept them in front.
Fuller did well to spread the play to Wilson who galloped away on the right and his appetising centre was met by Haynes with a header that was destined for the bottom right corner before the keeper propelled himself across to save.
It left Haynes holding his head, and when the loose ball fell to Cort at the corner, the big defender was well wide.
Powell made a double change three minutes later as Obika and Dervite made way for Green and Harriott in order to gain some much-needed width, and Austin’s tug back on Green earned him the game’s first booking almost immediately.
Kacaniklic stumbled through up at the other end before the ball eventually run away from him and was gathered by Button.
Danny Ings replaced Stanislas for the visitors with Daniel Lafferty quickly booked for a foul on Haynes.
Morrison was then a bootlace away from levelling as the clock reached 78.
After a second corner in quick succession, Green’s flag-kick was flicked on by Haynes but the defender just couldn’t make contact at the far post.
Grant tipped over a Cort header from a Green cross as the hosts continued to press and when a Green volley was blocked Haynes was denied as he span to shoot.
The pressure was building as Cort stayed up front, but the clock was against the Addicks and Burnley took off Austin for Sam Vokes five minutes from time.
The sub’s first act was to toss the ball away and pick up a booking and Kacaniklic made way for Brian Stock as the seconds slipped away.
The Clarets were defending defiantly, however with the board for five added minutes offering a glimmer of late hope for all those in red.
Paterson’s rash challenge on Jackson earned him a late booking in a game that had long turned into defence against attack, but, try as they might, there would be no breakthrough against the resolute Clarets as another home match ended in disappointment.
Charlton: Button; Wilson, Wiggins, Cort, Morrison; Pritchard, Jackson, Dervite (Harriott 63); Obika (Green 63), Haynes, Fuller.
Subs (not used): Hamer, Taylor, Evina, Hughes, Wagstaff.
Burnley: Grant; Trippier, Lafferty, Shackell, Long; Bartley, Edgar, Kacaniklic (Stock 88); Stanlislas (Ings 73), Paterson, Austin (Vokes 85).
Subs (not used): Jensen, Mills, Treacy, O’Neil.
Goal: Austin 43
Booked: Austin (foul on Green 64), Lafferty 74 (foul on Haynes), Vokes 85 (throwing ball away), Paterson 90 (foul on Jackson)
Referee: S Hooper
Att: 20,065 (921 Burnley)