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Match Report


Posted Wed 03 Apr 13 at 00:31 AM

Brighton 0 Charlton 0

Gary Haines reports

Gritty Charlton dug in for a terrific point at Brighton & Hove Albion on Tuesday night. 

The Addicks’ fine away form continued thanks to a superb late save from Ben Hamer which preserved a hugely valuable point. 

The keeper, who provided a clutch of super saves during an ice-cold evening, saved his best until last with a gravity-defying stop that turned Vicente’s effort onto the bar and over. 

The Seagulls also hit the post in added time that was both frantic and fraught while home keeper Tomasz Kuszczak also made a fine late stop to deny sub Dale Stephens for Charlton. 

In the end a point was a very handy return from the club’s first visit to the AMEX Stadium in a heroic rearguard action from Chris Powell’s men. 

Under massive pressure in the second half, they failed to buckle with the backline holding firm in resolute fashion – and earning their late luck. 

And in this most ridiculous of Championship seasons when every point is precious, another positive return on the road edged the Addicks closer to their ultimate objective of second tier football next term. 

After a solid opening quarter hour, it was Charlton who fashioned the best early chance when Yann Kermorgant wriggled away from his marker and sent an angled shot inches over the bar. 

Inigo Calderon, who had already flashed a free header across the face of goal and wide, and curled a shot past the opposite upright, was presented with the chance of the half as the ball fell invitingly to him in the box, but the defender’s snatched effort flew wide with Ben Hamer stationary in the middle of the goal. 

Hamer had earlier clawed a header from former England man Matthew Upson round his post as the Addicks dug their heels in in the face of the hosts’ predictable precise passing game. 

There was a positive start to the second period from Powell’s side with Harriott twice going close, first after forcing his way in from the left and shooting over and then seeing his shot saved. 

At the other end Will Buckley got on the end of a tempting Vicente cross and headed a great chance wide for the hosts, and that sparked an incessant spell of pressure from the home side. 

The Addicks dug in as a blue and white wave swept towards them, at will, and Hamer saved brilliantly from Upson’s downward header before Calderon was wide as the corner count stacked up. 

At the other end great defending from Liam Bridcutt denied Bradley Pritchard a goal after sub Dale Stephens’ first touch was blocked, and Hamer plunged to his right to make a fine diving stop from David Lopez. 

Then came the late drama as Stephens’ dipper was brilliantly tipped over by Tomasz Kuszczak before Hamer’s magnificent save left Vicente holding his head. 

Still the pressure came, and Greer’s glancing header came off the post as the Addicks clung on for a precious point. 

In terms of team news Powell made one change for Charlton’s first visit to the sparkling AMEX Stadium. 

Lawrie Wilson was back on the right of a five-man midfield with Ricardo Fuller dropping to the bench and Yann Kermorgant ploughing a sole furrow up front. 

There was an extra body in the middle of the park with Andy Hughes and skipper Johnnie Jackson joined by Bradley Pritchard. 

There was also a 100th start for the club for right-back Chris Solly. 

The Addicks completed a memorable Championship win against Bolton Wanderers at the weekend, recovering from two goals down to seal a 3-2 success and clinch just a fifth home win of the season. 

Jackson’s goal dragged his side back into it before Frenchmen Dorian Dervite and Yann Kermorgant completed the turnaround. 

Dervite kept his place in the heart of the defence alongside Michael Morrison with Solly and Rhoys Wiggins the full-backs and Ben Hamer between the posts. 

Hughes, Jackson and Pritchard were the midfield trip with youngster Callum Harriott and Wilson wide and Kermorgant up front. 

The away bench again contained midfield schemer Mark Gower, who made his debut on Saturday and there was a return for the illness-free Matt Taylor. The reserve ranks were completed by Dale Stephens, back in the 18 after the weekend, keeper David Button, Salim Kerkar, Danny Haynes and Fuller. 

Brighton, in the play-off places and unbeaten on home turf in the Championship in 2013, welcomed Tomasz Kuszcak and Liam Bridcutt following their 2-2 draw against Nottingham Forest at the weekend. 

And in-form striker Leonardo Ulloa was up front with Kazenga LuaLua, a man who has netted in the last two Valley games against the Addicks, and Will Buckley the wide threats. 

Despite it being April 2nd, bobble hats and scarves were still the order of the day on a chilly evening on the Sussex coast and the 2,000 strong Addicks faithful were in good voice from the get-go, uniting with the natives in their dislike of one South London club. 

As expected Brighton saw plenty of the ball in the early moments and Charlton were grateful to a crucial block from Dervite seven minutes in as Ulloa pulled the trigger from close range following a fine overlap and cross from Wayne Bridge on the left. 

The visitors were looking nice and secure in what was a solid start, but there was a warning on the quarter hour as Inigo Calderon cut inside from the right and flighted a curler wide of the left post. 

Bridcutt was booked for a cynical foul on Kermorgant as the clock reached 18, denying the Addicks a promising-looking foray down the middle. 

At the other end the visitors were guilty of switching off at a corner, following the first burst of note from LuaLua, and right-back Calderon connected with a free header from a David Lopez centre but diverted the ball well wide. 

Hughes collision with Ulloa sent the Argentine tumbling soon afterwards after a couple 
of favourable ricochets for the hosts but this time there was no yellow card as Gus Poyet, and particularly his assistant Maurico Taricco, protested. 

The best chance of the game then went Charlton’s way on 24 minutes through Kermorgant. 

The Frenchman fastened on to a low ball from Jackson and span away from Gordon Greer before flashing a shot inches over the bar. 

That let-off roused the Seagulls with Matthew Upson meeting a corner moments later with Hamer clawing the ball away at his left post. 

Jackson was booked for a clumsy challenge on Buckley with corner following for the home side after a good advantage from referee Mick Russell. 

From that 27th-minute corner Calderon, a central figure in the opening half hour, was presented with the ball with the goal at his mercy, but snatched at his shot and dragged the ball wide of the left post. 

The Spaniard ought to have done better but the hosts were starting to flex their muscles and LuaLula saw his shot well pouched by Hamer soon afterwards. 

A stretching Kermorgant headed a Jackson free-kick well wide under pressure while the erratic LuaLua blazed over after a patiently-worked corner reached him on the edge of the box. 

The half-time whistle ended a decent opening 45-minute’s work from the visitors and there was a positive vibe about Powell’s side in an open start to the second period. 

Solly kept his eye on LuaLula to deny the winger a cross, and even earn his side a goal-kick, and the Addicks were hunting in packs to put the hosts under pressure. 

After winning the ball and getting round the back on the left, a Wiggins pull-back was forcibly received and Harriott danced into space before firing over the bar. 

Livewire Harriott warmed the gloves of Kuszczak soon after as the visitors enjoyed a good spell, but Brighton fashioned a great chance after a corner with Vicente driving and clipping a great cross to the back stick where an unmarked Buckley guided a header wide. 

It was another big chance for the hosts and after a good Addicks raid Gordon Greer was booked for a trip on Kermorgant 

After the free-kick Dervite glanced a header down and across goal while Lopez’s corner was met by Calderon again as the clock ticked onto 70, but the ball flew wide. 

Then, from another Lopez flag-kick from the other side Upson rose and his downward header was brilliantly turned away by Hamer. 

The Addicks were really under the cosh here as the hosts pressed on the accelerator, and they were struggling to get out under incessant pressure. 

There were some good defensive contributions from Morrison and the excellent Dervite while Stephens, readied for a long time on the touchline, came on for Wilson on 75 minutes. 

After a Jackson free-kick fell to him, the sub’s shot, his first touch, was blocked by a defender and the loose ball reached Pritchard with Brighton grateful to a goal-saving block from Bridcutt as the ball headed towards the bottom corner. 

Hamer was called into action again 10 minutes from time, diving to his right to brilliantly keep out a low drive from Lopez, and Morrison flung himself in the way to foil Buckley after he bustled in from the right. 

Ulloa guided a header wide of the far post after a deep cross from the right and the hard-working Hughes was booked after catching LuaLua with Jackson hurtling out to block after the half-cleared free-kick/ 

There were three extra minutes to navigate at the end and Stephens almost won it in the first. 

The midfielder latched onto a headed clearance from Morrison and unleashed a spectacular dipping drive that was heading in before Kuszczak reacted brilliantly to tip over the bar. 

That was just the start of the fun in added time as Brighton twice hit the woodwork in stoppage time. 

After Taylor replaced Hughes late on, to shore things up, Buckley cut in from the left and his pull back was diverted goalwards by Vicente before Hamer somehow turned it onto the bar. 

It was a magnificent save, but there was still work to do as another flag-kick was flicked goalwards by Greer and a combination of Wiggins and the left post kept it out. 

The visitors were sucking down the seconds by that stage and the final whistle was gratefully received to cap a fine evening’s work. 

Charlton: Hamer; Solly, Wiggins, Dervite, Morrison; Pritchard, Hughes (Taylor 90), Jackson, Harriott, Wilson (Stephens 75); Kermorgant. 

Subs (not used): Button, Kerkar, Gower, Haynes, Fuller. 

Booked: Jackson 27 (foul on Buckley), Hughes 87 (foul on LuaLua) 

Brighton: Kuszczak; Calderon, Bridge, Greer, Upson; Lopez, Bridcutt, Vicente; Buckley, LuaLua, Ulloa 

Subs (not used): Ankergran, El-Abd, Hammond, Crofts, Orlandi, Painter, Barker. 

Booked: Bridcutt 18 (foul on Kermorgant), Greer 63 (foul on Kermorgant) 

Referee: M Russell 

Att: 28,043 (1,992 Charlton) 

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