Sat 10 Aug 13
at 16:45 PM
Charlton 0 Middlesbrough 1
Gary Haines reports from The Valley
Charlton suffered a second successive Championship defeat on Saturday as Middlesbrough sealed a 1-0 win at The Valley.
A 72nd-minute header from Lukas Jutkiewicz earned the Teessiders the win and left the Addicks empty-handed in their opening two league games.
The decisive moment came after a half-cleared corner, with the striker nodding into an empty net after Ben Hamer couldn’t get to a cross into the dangerzone, the keeper inadvertantly blocked off by Yann Kermorgant.
On the balance of play it was a deserved win for the North East side, their first away from home in the calendar year, and although Charlton improved markedly in the second period, there were not enough serious efforts on goal for Powell’s liking.
The closest they came was when Danny Green’s shot was saved low by Jason Steele with substitute Dale Stephens heading over soon afterwards.
But despite having to replace an injured Steele in the closing stages Boro held firm to clinch the win.
It was the visitors that made the brighter start, exploiting some untidy gaps in Addicks territory and firing in a clutch of shots.
The first came after just 30 seconds through all-action midfielder Jozsef Varga, who burst through from midfield and was denied by Hamer.
There were plenty of other pot-shots from the visitors as they claimed the lions’ share of possession, breaking zestfully and with real purpose and making the most of far too much room.
For the Addicks, who didn’t really get going in the opening 45, their only real effort came right on half-time as Marvin Sordell curled over the bar.
After Luke Steele was called into action for the first time, eight minutes after the restart, the keeper made a goal-saving contribution moments later, denying Green from close range after great work on the left from Callum Harriott.
Boro were not without their moments either, as George Friend raided forward and shot across the face of goal and wide.
And they grabbed the lead 18 minutes from time when striker Jutkiewicz rose to nod home after Hamer couldn’t collect a cross from the left following a half-cleared corner.
Jason Steele, who would later leave the action injured, saved from Danny Green soon after the restart and Stephens headed narrowly over as the hosts sought a response.
But Boro weathered a storm that saw Kermorgant also try his luck on a couple of occasions, to collect three valuable points.
The big team news saw skipper Johnnie Jackson return to the fold after injury.
A calf complaint had ruled the midfielder out of the opening two matches of the season, but he was back to lead a side that contained two changes from the weekend loss at AFC Bournemouth.
Green was also in from the start having netted in the midweek Capital One Cup win against Oxford United. The suspended Bradley Pritchard missed out, as did Andy Hughes.
There was a place on the bench for midweek cup scorers, two-goal Simon Church and youngster Joe Pigott.
Hamer was again between the posts behind a backline of full-backs Chris Solly and Rhoys Wiggins and central pairing Michael Morrison and Dorian Dervite.
Jackson joined Mark Gower in midfield with Green on the right and Harriott on the left. Kermorgant and Sordell were up front.
Pigott and Church were joined in reserve by Cedric Evina, Lawrie Wilson, Leon Cort, Stephens and young keeper Nick Pope.
Boro handed debuts to former Addick Fraser Richardson at right-back and exciting winger Albert Adomah, snapped up from Bristol City late in the week, wide in a 4-3-3 formation.
Jutkiewicz and Carayol completed the frontline threesome.
Initial concern for Powell came just 30 seconds in Varga was able to run unopposed from halfway but his low shot was claimed at the second attempt by Hamer
Carayol was also off target for the visitors and Jutkiewicz, afforded too much space, hoisted over as the visitors started well.
As the Addicks tried to piece their way into the game Kermorgant was clobbered by Dean Whitehead when challenging for possession, the big striker receiving treatment and the Boro man collecting a yellow card.
Nothing came of the free-kick, with Grant Leadbitter, again in space, firing in a shot that Hamer watched fly past the post.
Woodgate was penalised for an infringement at a corner, after which Adomah swivelled to shoot against the bar, and Boro were very much in the ascendancy, Carayol a particular menace on the left.
And two minutes before the break there was danger for the hosts when Dervite upended Jutkiewicz right on the edge of the box. After Leadbitter’s dummy, Adomah curled a shot narrowly over the bar.
Sordell fired over right on half-time, Charlton’s first effort of the afternoon, and Powell was no doubt grateful to hear the whistle, allowing him and his players 15 minutes to regroup.
There was a change before the restart as Jackson made way for Stephens with Morrison inheriting the armband, and Leadbitter curled a presentable free-kick into the wall for the visitors a minute in.
Carayol fired off target as the second period stated the same way as most of the opening half had been played out.
There was treatment for Kermorgant as his attempt to volley saw him inadvertently blocked off by his own teammate Sordell.
After good work from Stephens and a lay off from Sordell, Kermorgant’s 53rd-minute curler was pouched by Luke Steele soon after his return to the pitch.
And a great chance went begging a minute later as Harriott skipped down the left and sent a dangerous cross into the dangerzone.
The ball bypassed all and sundry before Green gathered on the right and the winger took a touch before seeing his low drive expertly blocked by the advancing Steele.
It was Charlton’s best moment of the match by a long way, but they were almost breached at the other end as George Friend bounded forward from left-back, and swapped passes before firing across goal and narrowly wide.
A low effort from Jutkiewicz was saved by Hamer before Morrison got back well to thwart Leadbitter with the hosts at sixes and sevens at the back.
And following the resulting corner, Boro did grab the lead on 72 minutes.
As the ball was returned into the box with interest, Hamer’s decision to come for the ball proved fatal as he was blocked off by his own teammate, and Jutkiewicz was well placed to nod the ball into the empty net.
With the game ambling towards a goalless draw, it came as a massive boost for Boro, but after a good advantage from the referee soon afterwards Green seized possession and was denied by a diving stop from Steele.
Kermorgant’s precise cross was headed just over by Stephens moments later before Powell rolled the dice for a final time, introducing Church and Wilson for Sordell and Green on 77 minutes.
There was also a change for the visitors in goal as Steele left the action to be replaced by Jayson Leutwiler.
Kermorgant headed a Solly centre well over before Leadbitter made way for Richard Smallwood.
After Stephens was booked, Kermorgant’s hooked effort in the box was deflected behind for a corner as the seconds ebbed away.
Marvin Emnes entered the fray in the five added minutes for the excellent Carayol, and the visitors held firm for the win.
Charlton: Hamer; Solly, Wiggins; Morrison, Dervite; Green (Wilson 77), Gower, Jackson (Stephens 46), Harriott; Kermorgant, Sordell (Church 77).
Subs (not used): Pope, Evina, Cort, Pigott.
Booked: Stephens 87 (foul on Carayol)
Middlesbrough: Steele (Leutwiler 77); Richardson, Friend, Woodgate, Williams; Leadbitter (Smallwood 83), Varga, Whitehead; Adomah, Carayol (Emnes 90), Jutkiewicz.
Subs (not used): Parnaby, Gibson, Ledesma Main.
Goal: Jutkiewicz 72
Booked: Whitehead 20 (foul on Kermorgant)
Referee: P Tierney
Att: 14,882 (1,117 Middlesbrough)