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Match Report


Posted Tue 16 Apr 13 at 22:40 PM

Cardiff City 0 Charlton 0

Gary Haines reports from the Cardiff City Stadium
Charlton held firm for a deserved point in South Wales on Tuesday night as Cardiff City clinched promotion to the Premier League amid glorious scenes. 

There was nothing between the sides at the sparkling Cardiff City Stadium with the Bluebirds securing the point that sealed a return to the top-flight for the first time since 1962. 

Indeed, the Addicks arguably had the better chances on the evening with skipper Johnnie Jackson rattling the post and David Marshall producing a terrific diving save from Ricardo Fuller in the second period. 

City also rung the woodwork through Andrew Taylor while new dad Michael Morrison almost celebrated a dream week but lifted a shot on the turn wide. 

All in all a fourth successive away clean sheet for the Addicks was a decent return and extended the club’s unbeaten run to five matches. 

And Powell’s men have not tasted defeat on the road in six games since mid-February at Hull City and will deservedly head back to England with a point in their pockets. 

It was left to Powell, ever the gentleman, to offer the first congratulations to former playing teammate Malky Mackay on the touchline before the final whistle triggered an almighty pitch invasion. 
Despite the cracking atmosphere, the Addicks were in business mood from the off and created far more openings than their hosts in the opening quarter of the game. 

Ricardo Fuller’s drive was shovelled round the post by David Marshall and there were several other pot-shots from the men in black with the Bluebirds largely kept at arms’ length. 

Craig Bellamy was certainly getting no change out of Chris Solly in the early exchanges and only the width of the post prevented the visitors taking the lead on 22 minutes. 

Jackson’s free-kick from the right perhaps took the hosts by surprise. As they waited for a cross, the skipper had a dip and his curling shot cracked against the upright before being hacked clear. 

After Bellamy sent a shot just over for the visitors, Solly denied him a certain goal by cutting out Kim Bo-Kyung’s low cross into the box, and rightfully took the plaudits from keeper Ben Hamer in the aftermath. 

Kim shot into the side-netting after a free-kick was harshly awarded against Rhoys Wiggins as the hosts finished the half well, but it remained all square at the break. 

Andrew Taylor was a whisker away for the hosts a minute after the restart, cracking a low drive against the outside of the left post, and Morrison span sharply in the opposite box but lifted a great chance over moments later. 

With the game ebbing and flowing, the Addicks went close again on 62 minutes as Fuller collected a Solly free-kick and span sharply before his shot was superbly saved, diving to his right, by David Marshall. 

Craig Noone had the ball in the net for the hosts with a deafening roar eventually silenced by an offside flag on the far side and Harriott curled inches off target soon afterwards. 

There would be no final flourish for the hosts as news of a goal for Millwall – irrelevant as it happens – filtered through – and the Addicks scampered for safety at the final whistle with an incredible pitch invasion greeting the Bluebirds’ return to the Promised Land. 

In terms of team news the Addicks fielded an unchanged starting line-up following their record-breaking 6-0 away win at Barnsley at the weekend. 

So five of the scorers from Oakwell are in the starting XI and another primed on what is an unchanged bench. 

Morrison started in the centre of defence after becoming a father for the first time at the weekend. 

Ben Hamer was again between the posts for the visitors with Chris Solly and Rhoys Wiggins flanking Morrison and Dorian Dervite at the back. 

Callum Harriott and Bradley Pritchard were the wide options, either side of Andy Hughes and Johnnie Jackson, whose double started the fightback when the sides met on a never-to-be-forgotten night in SE7 last year, with Fuller and Yann Kermorgant up top. 

David Button offered the goalkeeping back-up in reserve where he was joined by Matt Taylor, Danny Green, Lawrie Wilson, Mark Gower, Salim Kerkar and Jon Obika. 

Cardiff, 12 points clear of third place with four matches to go, needed just a point to clinch a place in the Premier Division and there was quality spread throughout their side, namely skipper and boyhood City fan Craig Bellamy who missed the Bluebirds’ amazing 5-4 defeat at The Valley earlier in the season. 

Rudi Gestede, who netted twice at the weekend in a win against Nottingham Forest that edged the Welsh side to within striking distance of promotion, was up front. 

Further danger from out wide was provided by Craig Noone while the creative Kim Bo-Yung was in midfield, and there was plenty of quality on the bench in the shape of Peter Whittingham and Joe Mason. 

There was a carnival atmosphere as the game kicked-off with the home fans booming their heroes on, but it was Fuller that forced the first save of the evening three minutes in, cutting inside and seeing his drive turned round the post by Marshall. 

Wiggins’ rasper from range flew wide soon after with the visitors rising to the occasion early on, but every Cardiff attack was roared on by the vociferous natives. 

After a foul by Harriott on Kevin McNaughton, Bellamy’s dipping free-kick from way out was also off target. 

Fuller’s low drive was seen wide of the post by Marshall as Charlton pieced together some good attacking moves, and Harriott skipped away from McNaughton 15 minutes in but Marshall snared the ball at the feet of Kermorgant. 

And only the width of the post denied the Addicks the lead midway through the half. 

Kermorgant was caught late on the right side of the area and with the hosts’ expecting a clip into the box, skipper Jackson stepped up to curl in a shot that clattered off the inside of the right post. 

Marshall was beaten, but the loose ball was scooped to safety amid gasps from most inside the ground. 

This was promising from the Londoners, but Cardiff’s best moment of the match arrived five minutes later as, following some concerted pressure in and around the box, the ball span left to Bellamy whose placed effort whizzed just over. 

Then, on the half hour, Solly prevented a certain goal. 

Charlton were prised open as Noone filtered a ball down the right channel for Kim, and with Bellamy charging down the left, the script looked to be written for the winger. 

But the Bluebirds had reckoned without the all-action Solly, Charlton’s sole defender in sight. He dashed across to meet the midfielder and produced a critical block challenge with the ball eventually looping into the grateful arms of Hamer. 

It was wonderful work from the defender, who left his station fending off Bellamy to quell the danger, but it was a sign that Cardiff were clicking into gear. 

Jordon Mutch strode forward and saw a shot loop into the arms of Hamer via Dervite soon after, and Mutch headed down and wide after a good cross from the left. 

This was better from the hosts and Bellamy got the better of Fuller before dragging a shot wide of the left upright. 

After Wiggins was harshly penalised for a fine challenge on Mutch on the edge of the box, Kim could not capitalise as, from Jackson territory from earlier, his shot rippled the side-netting. 

Bellamy nodded wide from Noone’s centre and Gestede’s looper from a high clearance, was held comfortably by Hamer as the interval approached. 

Leon Barnett got in a good header in front of Kermorgant after trickery from Fuller on the right and the sides went in locked together at 0-0 at the break. 

The hosts almost grabbed the lead seconds after the restart through left-back Taylor. 

After a spell of early pressure the ball was half-cleared and Taylor leathered in a low drive that smashed against the outside of the left post with Hamer scrambling across. 

There was a chance at the other end soon afterwards a brave defensive block kept out a Jackson volley after a Hughes high ball into the box was headed back across the box. 

Then, as the clock reached 49, Morrison found himself in a great position to break the deadlock. 

Reacting well to gather a Pritchard throw, he span away from his marker inside the box but, having done the hard bit, could only skew high and wide. 

Aron Gunnarsson’s swerver went wide for the hosts as the action-packed start to the half showed no sign of relenting. 

Barnett’s shot took a big deflection before Hamer pounced to save to his left and Fuller, warned moments earlier by the referee, was booked after catching Taylor on 62 minutes. 

Fuller showed his quality two minutes later as the Addicks almost bagged the lead. 

The Jamaican collected a quick free-kick from Solly and wriggled into space before arrowing in a shot that was heading in before a fine diving save from Marshall. 

It was a goal-saving contribution from the home keeper and Hamer touched away a dangerous Kim corner moments later, before Morrison completed the job near the line. 

The Addicks navigated two more dangerous corners and the ground erupted on 70 minutes as Mutch’s cross was volleyed home by Noone from close range. 

The winger peeled away in celebration but was quickly brought down to earth by an offside flag, and was replaced by Tommy Smith moments later. 

Gunnarsson’s late challenge on Fuller somehow went unpunished leading Powell and Bellamy to chew the cud – or the stud – on the touchline, and when the action resumed Gunnarsson’s volley was saved low by Hamer. 

After a Bellamy drive was blocked behind on a Bluebirds raid forward Gower, roundly booed due to his Swansea connections, came on for Hughes and Fuller made way for Obika. 

Harriott, who switched to the right after the change, bustled in and curled inches off target as Charlton sensed a late winner, and the next act was a huge roar around the ground when news of Millwall taking the lead against Watford arrived. 

Green replaced Pritchard as the seconds ebbed away and Gestede’s overhead kick flew wide in the last regulation minute. 

There were three added minutes at the end and from a Green long throw, Dervite popped up to steer a shot well wide. 

In a late lull, Powell trotted over to congratulate Mackay and in a poignant moment, and Kermorgant looped a late header just over before the final whistle triggered wild scenes on the pitch as the stands emptied. 

And it was party time as the hosts celebrated their top-tier return as the tannoy announcer roared: “Gary Lineker, Alan Hansen, John Motson, we are coming.” 

The Addicks players had long escaped to the dressing room having experienced that same exquisite promotion feeling 12 months earlier, and amid all the celebration their part in the game may be forgotten. 

But their impressive away form continued in Wales as Powell’s men finish the season strongly and the point was well deserved. 

Charlton: Hamer; Solly, Wiggins, Dervite, Morrison; Pritchard (Green 88), Hughes (Gower 81), Jackson, Harriott; Fuller (Obika 81), Kermorgant. 

Subs (not used): Button, Taylor, Wilson, Kerkar. 

Booked: Fuller 62 (foul on Taylor) 

Cardiff: Marshall; McNaughton, Taylor, Turner, Barnett; Noone (Smith 72), Kim, Gunnarsson, Mutch, Bellamy; Gestede, 

Subs (not used): Lewis, Nugent, Conway, Cowie, Whittingham, Mason. 

Referee: S Mathieson 

Att: 26,338 

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