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Match Report


Posted Sun 20 Oct 13 at 22:34 PM

Blackburn 0 Charlton 1

Gary Haines reports from Ewood Park

Simon Church fired Charlton to a first away win of the season at Ewood Park on Saturday.

The striker’s fourth goal of the season in the game’s seventh minute would prove decisive as the Addicks won on the road for the first time since April.

And a second successive clean sheet, achieved thanks to a terrific rearguard effort after the break, was enough to maintain that advantage.

There were heroes aplenty in the backline in a performance of art and of labour – very much like the Rivers motto.

An artisan finish was supplied by Church with a neat volley from an accurate pass, and the visitors were well worth their lead at the break.

They had to dig in after the break but the fruit of some outstanding labour was a first away success since the 6-0 win at Barnsley late last term.

Having seen an early effort deflected behind by some desperate defending, Church fared far better on seven minutes as he gave the visitors the lead.

His first official domestic goal since the 2-2 draw at Barnsley on August 17th was a strike to savour, for its simplicity alone.

Collecting a delicious clipped pass from Stephens on his chest, he then supplied a clinical volleyed finish past the advancing keeper.

After netting for Wales against Macedonia eight days earlier, his eye was clearly in again, and the home crowd were silenced.

And there was little for the home supporters to get their teeth into in the opening quarter that went very much to plan for Charlton as they knocked the ball around comfortably, utilising their possession sensibly.

A Rhodes header, saved low by Hamer, came midway through the half and the prolific marksman almost levelled on 31 minutes when his volley was brilliantly turned round the post by the visiting keeper.

His strike partner Leon Best cracked a decent opening over the bar after a cross was half-cleared as Rovers finally built up a head of steam at the end of the half.

But it was the visitors who took their lead into the break after an excellent opening 45 minutes.

No sooner had the second half started, then Best headed wide at a corner when unchallenged and the sides traded chances either side of the hour mark as Lowe’s drive was deflected just wide before Stephens headed straight at Jake Keane.

Rovers were looking the wide most, likely, however, although it was from one of their corners that recently-installed sub Yann Kermorgant took aim from inside his own half - and watched his effort float just wide.

As the hosts continued to knock at the door, the Londoners, with Richard Wood in particularly belligerent form in the heart of the defence, resisted.

And as the heavens opened, the visitors clung on as Kermorgant dropped back to assist the defensive effort.

No strikers were forward as the ball continued to be pumped into the dangerzone, but other than an Alan Judge shot that flew wide, Rovers could not cash in.

And the final whistle was greeted with adulation among the visiting contingent, who are now unbeaten in three games and very much upwardly mobile ahead of what’s sure to be a packed out Valley next weekend.

In terms of team news Charlton made two changes following their 0-0 draw against Blackpool at The Valley prior to the international break on October 5th.

Bradley Pritchard and former Rovers loanee Cameron Stewart returned to the starting XI at the expense of Mark Gower and Callum Harriott while there were also bench outings for Johnnie Jackson and Yann Kermorgant on their comeback from injuries.

Danny Green was also named in reserve after returning from a productive loan spell at Milton Keynes Dons, with Michael Morrison again skippering the side.

Ben Hamer was again between the posts for the visitors with Lawrie Wilson and Rhoys Wiggins flanking Morrison and Richard Wood at the back.

Jordan Cousins and Dale Stephens, who lashed home a wonder-strike in this fixture last season, paired up in midfield with Pritchard and Stewart, who floated in from the left, completing the midfield.

Church, fresh from two outings and one goal for Wales over the past week, and Marvin Sordell were up front.

Kermorgant, Jackson and Green were back on the bench where they joined Ben Alnwick, Cedric Evina, Dorian Dervite and Gower.

The hosts fielded the ever-dangerous Jordan Rhodes up front, and he was partnered by Leon Best.

Ben Marshall was a threat from the wing while DJ Campbell was waiting on the bench.

Best headed the game’s first opening over with just 30 seconds on the watch while sloppy play at the back form the hosts allowed Stewart to cross for Church whose snatched effort was deflected behind for a corner.

And it was Charlton’s Welsh wonder that gave the Addicks a dream start by breaking the deadlock seven minutes in.

It was a delightful goal too, as he took a precise clipped pass from Stephens on his chest before coolly flicking a volley past the advancing Jake Kean.

It was a wonderful start for the Londoners and they were more than comfortable up to the mid-point of the opening period when the dangerous Rhodes offered a reminder of his capabilities when his glancing header was saved low by Hamer.

Cousins blazed high and wide from range and Sordell wriggled in from the right but saw his low effort pouched by Kean a minute shy of the half hour.

Then, out of nothing, Rhodes almost levelled for Rovers.

After Best flicked the ball up from a diagonal forward, it sat up appetisingly for the striker and although there was nothing wrong with his volley from the edge of the box, there was nothing wrong with Hamer’s ensuing save. The keeper plunged to his left and produced a fine fingertip stop to ensure his side’s lead remained.

Rhodes was crowded out as he attempted to get on the end of a cross from overlapping full-back Todd Kane, and when Hamer’s punch from a centre from the opposite side lacked the necessary distance, Best span but blasted a presentable opening over.

Morrison did well to usher Jason Lowe aside after the midfielder burst down the middle, and a weak Marshall header took a nick off a defender before being claimed by Hamer a minute before the break.

From the relative comfort of earlier in the half, it’s fair to say the half-time whistle would have been a handy stoppage to disrupt Rovers’ flow and it allowed Powell the chance to reflect on an impressive opening 45 minutes.

Best was free to head a Marshall corner over moments after the restart and there was early attention for Church after receiving a knee to the back.

Moments after a perfectly-timed challenge from Stephens, Scott Dann was booked after sliding through the back of Sordell on halfway six minutes in.

Matt Kilgallon flung himself in the way of Sordell’s powerful shot on the run while at the other end Rhodes curled way wide as the ball sat up nicely for him on the edge of the box.

After a free-kick was half-cleared, Lowe was inches wide with a deflected shot from the edge of the box while at the other end Stephens could only direct a header from a Pritchard cross straight at Keane.

Kermorgant returned to the fold on 66 minutes in place of Sordell with Lee Williamson replacing Best at the same juncture.

And the Frenchman’s audacious effort from his own half, moments after arriving, had Keane scampering back, before he watched it drop wide.

The hosts were well on top at this point, however, their momentum continuing from the strong finish to the opening period.

King fired wide from the edge of the box as the hosts continued to knock at the door while on a rare breather upfield a back header from Kermorgant from a Wilson throw rippled the top of the netting.

Wood intervened twice in quick succession, with his foot and then his head, to keep Rovers at bay before Evina replaced Stewart 15 minutes from time.

The monstrous throws from Tommy Spurr continued to rain in for the hosts as Charlton continued to dig in. 

Alan Judge replaced King as Gary Bowyer rolled the dice again and Tom Cairney shot over from range as the vocal passionate fans willed their side on.

Jackson replaced Church eight minutes from time, Charlton’s third and final change and DJ Campbell was Blackburn’s last as he replaced Marshall.

The excellent Wood needed treatment at the start of a whopping six minutes of stoppage time, so Kermorgant filled in at the back, and Kane was booked for a lunging foul on Evina before Stephens blazed over the bar.

Hamer judged a Judge effort well as the ball flew past his post in the 50th minute of the half, and yet another Wood header repelled a high ball into the box in the dying embers.

Campbell, offside, as luck would have it was foiled by Hamer at the death, and that was that as the final whistle trigged celebrations for a job very well done.

Charlton: Hamer; Wilson, Wiggins, Wood, Morrison; Pritchard, Cousins, Stephens, Stewart (Evina 75); Church (Jackson 82), Sordell (Kermorgant 68).

Subs (not used): Alnwick, Dervite, Green, Gower.

Blackburn: Kean; Kane, Spurr, Kilgallon, Dann; Marshall (Campbell 84), Lowe, Cairney, King (Judge 77); Rhodes, Best (Williamson 66).

Subs (not used): Eastwood, Morris, Taylor, Marrow.

Booked: Dann 51 (foul on Sordell), Kane 90 (foul on Evina)

Referee: K Wright

Att: 13,915

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