Sat 30 Jun 12
at 03:48 AM
Charlton 2 Wolves 1
Gary Haines reports
Late-man Jonathan Obika was the hero for the second successive home match as Charlton outlasted relegation-threatened Wolverhampton Wanderers at The Valley.
The substitute drilled in a low shot in the last regulation minute to seal break Wolves' hearts and leave the West Midlanders facing the real threat of successive relegations.
The Addicks, who are mathematically safe after a third successive home win, took the lead as Dorian Dervite smashed home from close range in the 63rd minute.
The Frenchman followed up after Ricardo Fuller was denied on the line following a corner from substitute Danny Green for his third goal of the season.
The response from the visitors was prompt as Kevin Doyle looped home a leveller three minutes later.
It was an exciting goal flurry not in keeping with a ground-out game where chances were few and far between.
And the Addicks had also twice readjusted during an afternoon that saw injuries to midfield pairing Andy Hughes and skipper Johnnie Jackson, and finished strongly to maintain their momentum.
And Obika who now has three successive 90th-minute strikes to his name – two for the Addicks and one last season for Yeovil Town – enhanced his supersub mantle with the winner.
For Wolves, whose day saw them dip in and out of the dropzone, starting with a win for Huddersfield Town earlier in the day that left them starting the game in the bottom three, they are teetering on the brink.
At 0-0 Peterborough’s losing position at Derby had put then the right side of the line. They plunged under it after Dervite’s goal, and then propelled themselves back into positivity following Doyle’s leveller.
Obika condemned them back into danger at the death and with two games to go they remain in an almighty scrap, with around nine other teams.
The Addicks, meanwhile, can plan for next season, and the play-offs are not yet out of the equation with them five points adrift of sixth place with two games to go.
Amid a low-key start, a dazzling run from Callum Harriott paved the way for Fuller to spin and warm the gloves of Dorus De Vries, while the game almost sprung into life in sensational fashion just after the midpoint of the opening period.
That’s when Henry seized a loose ball just inside the Addicks half and took a couple of strides before crashing a speculative 45-yard drive that beat Ben Hamer but smashed against the woodwork.
Chances of any note were few and far between after that but shortly after injured skipper Jackson left the fray his replacement Green played a part in the home side’s opener.
His corner was poorly dealt with by the away defenders on the line and as Fuller tried to force the issue, the ball squirted loose and was dispatched with venom by Dervite.
The lead lasted just three minutes, however, as Doyle flicked home a header off the post after the hosts had failed to deal with a long throw from the left.
After the brief goal flurry the match settled back down, with Wolves picking up a clutch of yellow cards.
But there would be a late twist as substitute Obika swooped to snatch a last-minute winner for the second successive home match.
Again in front of the Covered End, he was well placed to smash home a low drive after Wolves had blocked a shot from livewire substitute Green.
There was only injury time – six minutes worth – for Wolves to respond, and the hosts held firm to keep their season alive.
In terms of team news Chris Powell again selected an unchanged starting XI for the match against relegation-threatened Wolverhampton.
So the line-up remained the same for a fourth successive match as the Addicks, unbeaten in their last five matches, aimed for a third successive home win.
After beating Leeds United in the dying stages of the last home match, Powell’s men produced a record-breaking 6-0 away win at Barnsley last weekend before holding runaway Championship leaders Cardiff City to a 0-0 draw in midweek.
And the boss, who had targeted a seven-point week before the trip to Yorkshire, challenged his side to complete the job against the West Midlanders.
Ben Hamer was again between the posts with Chris Solly and Wiggins flanking Michael Morrison and Dervite at the back.
Skipper Jackson and Hughes were in the engine-room in midfield with Callum Harriott continuing on the left and Bradley Pritchard on the right. Ricardo Fuller and Yann Kermorgant were again together up front.
The home bench was comprised by David Button, Matt Taylor, Lawrie Wilson, Salim Kerkar, Mark Gower, Green and Obika.
Wanderers, who were back in the relegation zone at the start of play following Huddersfield Town’s success over Millwall, were skippered by striker Doyle. Bjorn Sigurdarson operated off the right flank, while there was bite in midfield courtesy of Karl Henry, a man who netted a last-gasp winner the last time Wolves were at The Valley.
After an even opening, Pritchard got back to block an effort from Sigurdarson, who had bustled in from the right but Charlton fashioned the first shot on goal.
It came after Harriott evaded teammate Hughes and then set off on a mazy dribble from the left. He eventually nudged the ball inside to Fuller who spun and saw his shot parried by Dorus De Vries before the loose ball was sliced away.
Sadly for Hughes his afternoon would not last much longer and he was replaced in the 12th minute after dropping to his haunches when the ball went dead.
Gower was the midfield replacement but there was little noteworthy action in the opening quarter of the game.
After a Kermorgant flock, Fuller had a half chance but was hustled off the ball in the box, and the crowd were roused on 24 minutes by a spectacular effort from Henry.
The midfielder picked up the ball in the centre circle and took a couple of strides forward before smashing in a 45-yard dipping drive that had Hamer scrambling back before it clattered back off the crossbar.
It was a let-off for the hosts, out of absolutely nothing and would have been the best goal netted in SE7 for many a year had it dipped a few inches lower.
Parity remained, however, as the Wolves supporters grew in confidence.
Chances were still very much at a premium with no quarter given from both teams and there was lengthy treatment for Roger Johnson after a collision with Fuller.
The defender was able to continue but still the chances failed to arrive with both sides seeing corners come to nothing.
The injury led to five added minutes at the end of the half and in the second Wiggins got across to foil Sigurdarson as he tried to force his way through.
That was that for the opening period as the sides went in locked together with news from the break at Pride Park, where Peterborough United were losing at Derby County, lifting Wolves out of the dropzone at the halfway mark.
Fuller’s dipping drive sailed narrowly wide moments into the second period and a hoist from out on the right from Gower was clutched by a back-tracking De Vries.
There was injury frustration for Jackson next as he left the action just past the hour mark to be replaced by Danny Green.
The newcomer went out on the right with Pritchard moving inside and Morrison taking the armband.
Green’s first act was to fire in a shot from the edge of the box that was deflected behind and it was his second corner in rapid succession that yielded the opening goal.
His low cross to the near post left Wolves all of a tether and after Fuller tried to force the ball home, it squirmed loose to Dervite to hammer home from close range.
Finally the deadlock had been broken, but Wolves’ response was rapid to the extreme.
Three minutes later the Addicks were caught out at a booming throw from the left and the ball wad flicked on for Doyle to glance a header in off the inside of the right post
Kaspars Gorkss was booked after sending Green tumbling and when the free-kick was half-cleared, Gower spliced a shot wide.
De Vries flipped a hooked effort from Kermorgant over the bar and Dervite powerfully headed Green’s corner wide before Matt Doherty and Sigurdarson were booked in quick succession.
Hunt was then booked after careering into Hamer after losing the ball following a barnstorming run from midfield
Fuller made way for Obika nine minutes from time and Adam Hammill came on for Hunt for the visitors.
There was almost a horror moment for Kermorgant as, back to help, he caused untold problems to Morrison before the stand-in skipper stretched out a leg to deny Tongo Doumbia/
It proved a doubly decisive contribution as Charlton stormed forward to reclaim the lead in the last minute.
Wiggins hared down the left and got to the byline before peeling a great low cross back to Green in the box. He took a touch and when his shot was deflected it sat up perfectly for Obika who lashed a low angled drive into the back of the net.
The Valley erupted as Wolves were plunged back into the bottom three, and the frantic finale saw them desperately try and claw something back.
Saunders sent on centre-back Danny Batth to play up front at the start of six added minutes and Hamer watched a header from Doyle loop wide.
The Addicks survived a late corner as a ball was pumped into a packed box in added added time, and there was just about time for the restart as the hosts celebrated another home win.
Charlton: Hamer; Solly, Wiggins, Dervite, Morrison; Pritchard, Hughes (Gower 12), Jackson (Green 61), Harriott; Fuller (Obika 81), Kermorgant.
Subs (not used): Button, Taylor, Wilson, Kerkar.
Goals: Dervite 63, Obika 90
Wolverhampton Wanderers: De Vries; Doherty, Robinson, Johnson, Gorkss; Doumbia, Henry, Hunt (Hammill 86); Ward (Batth 90), Sigurdarson; Doyle.
Subs (not used): McCarey, Cassidy, Foley, Dicko, McAllinden,
Goal: Doyle 66
Booked: Gorkss 68 (foul on Green), Doherty 74 (simulation), Sigurdarson 76 (foul on Hamer), Hunt 79 (foul on Hamer)
Referee: R East
Att: 19,023 (1,968 Wolves)