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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 30 Nov 13 at 18:37 PM

Charlton 0 Ipswich Town 1

Olly Groome reports from The Valley

An early Ipswich Town onslaught put paid to Charlton's hopes of any points at The Valley on Saturday as the Addicks fell to a single-goal defeat. 

Tommy Smith's fifth-minute header was the difference as Chris Powell's men played out the remainder of the game searching in vain for an equaliser which never came. 

Powell followed the mantra of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it,' naming an unchanged XI to that which brushed Doncaster Rovers aside with ease at The Valley the previous Tuesday evening.

Nick Pope was the only change on the bench, replacing Callum Harriott after the young stopper was recalled from his loan stint with York City to cover Ben Hamer's injury. 

On a day when the club was celebrating it's 21-year anniversary since the return to The Valley, the Addicks kicked off facing The Covered End, just as they did against Portsmouth on December 5th, 1992. 

But there would be no similar fairy tale start in the vein of Colin Walsh's seventh-minute goal all those years ago, 

Instead, after just 55 seconds, Ipswich began a siege on Charlton's goal. 

First, David McGoldrick sneaked in round the back of the Addicks defence to find himself one-on-one with Ben Alnwick, but his fierce drive was well saved to his left.

The resultant corner was swung in and Alnwick was called into action again, this time keeping out a powerful Tommy Smith header before the ball was cleared for another corner. 

And Alnwick, yet again, was called into action, producing a superb double save on this occasion to keep the Tractor Boys out.  When Daryl Murphy's initial header was well stopped it fell to Christophe Berra who couldn't find the net as the Addicks' goalkeeping deputy spectacularly shut out the Ipswich defender from point-blank. 

Alnwick had seen more action in the opening two minutes of this fixture than he did in the the entire 90 minutes of his debut against Doncaster. 

But for all of the visitors' early pressure, a goal was somewhat inevitable. And it would come as no surprise when it came from another Ipswich set-piece. 

Just as they had struggled to defend the previous two, Charlton yet again failed to get first to the ball and they were made to pay. Smith rose highest to powerfully head home to give Ipswich a fifth-minute lead.

It was a poor start from Powell's men and they needed to find an immediate reaction.

Two minutes later, they did show some intent. 

Yann Kermorgant provided the fodder for Simon Church, sending a delightful cross from the left which saw the Welsh international glance a header inches past Dean Gerken's left upright. 

Despite the frantic nature in which the fixture began, matters calmed somewhat as Charlton finally settled into the game. 

After a lull in proceedings, the Addicks sprung into life after 22 minutes when Lawrie Wilson picked up possession on the right. A swashbuckling run saw the full-back take it into the Ipswich box before flashing a ball across the face of goal with Church inches away from a connection. 

Six minutes later, and Kermorgant produced a superb piece of skill, acrobatically delivering the ball across goal with an overhead kick. But with Church waiting at the back post, a visiting defender got there first, putting the ball behind for the relative safety of a corner. 

It was a lot more positive from Charlton and they could have grabbed what would have been a deserved equaliser on the half-hour mark when Rhoys Wiggins stole into the area from the left-hand side. 

As he looked to deliver a cross from the angle, he appeared to slice his connection which saw the ball rattle the post via Gerken's palms. 

It was the closest the Addicks had come to a goal, albeit somewhat inadvertently. 

The Addicks entered the dressing room at half-time a goal down, but could be pleased with a positive reaction after conceding what was, in truth, a sloppy early goal. 

They would need to emerge for the second-half with some purpose if they were to stand a chance of salvaging anything from the game. 

It is at moments like that when the captain can be called upon to lead by example, taking the game by the scruff of the neck in search of that all-important equalising goal. 

And two minutes in, Johnnie Jackson drove into the box under pressure before powering through to eventually get a shot away which was well saved, low to Gerken's right. 

McGoldrick always provided a threat for the Tractor Boys up front and he showed good strength in the 55th minute before pulling back for Paul Anderson who could only shoot straight at Alnwick with a rasping drive. 

By this stage the game was wide open, and any next goal would be crucial. 

That next goal very nearly came via the right foot of Lawrie Wilson on the hour. The right-back booted a ball into the box from the right byline, in hope more than expectation. And with delivery reaching higher than the Jimmy Seed stand, it returned to earth, very nearly catching out Gerken who was forced to palm it off for a corner. 

And from that resultant corner, the Addicks were presented with another half-chance. Michael Morrison beat the Ipswich defence to meet Dale Stephen's delivery, but Gerken was equal to it and held on for safety. 

Charlton began seeing more possession. But as they approached the final third, they suffered with their final ball letting them down. 

Stephens tried for the spectacular on 67 minutes as his shot from distance flew well over. It was another half-chance but it simply wasn't enough if the Addicks were going to find their way back into it. 

Powell rung the changes on 69 minutes in search of the goal which had so far evaded his side. 

Joe Pigott and Danny Green entered the fray as Simon Church and Johnnie Jackson gave way. And immediately, the switch made an impact. 

With Pigott bringing the ball down well just inside the box, the academy product lay it off for Cameron Stewart, allowing the winger to drill a shot which forced yet another decent save from the Tractor Boys' custodian. 

Pigott was involved again with 14 minutes remaining as he drove in a dangerous cross. Although it evaded the advancing attackers in the box the ball found its way to Stewart out wide on the left. After a couple of touches, the Hull City loanee fired towards goal but saw his effort saved by the feet of Gerken at his near post. 

Powell played his final card with four minutes left on the clock, throwing on Marvin Sordell in place of Wilson. 

A switch to 3-4-3 was a clear indication that the Addicks were going to attempt to throw the proverbial kitchen sink at the men from Suffolk. 

But despite a three-pronged attack, the fact remained that the Addicks' attack was blunt. And that was the problem throughout. 

Kermorgant delivered into the box from deep where Morrison was unmarked. But the defender was just out of reach as the ball bounced narrowly wide. 

Into added time, and the Addicks were denied what would have been their best chance by an over-zealous piece of refereeing. 

When Kermorgant was scythed down in the centre-circle, Jordan Cousins immediately raked the ball out to Stewart who had just the goalkeeper to beat. 

But as soon as Cousins made contact, Mr Duncan deemed it fit not to play the obvious advantage, thus denying Charlton a golden opportunity at the death, much to the frustration of the men in red and the Valley faithful alike.

That frustration embroiled into a coming together from the free-kick which resulted in most of the 22 players pushing and shoving in front of The Jimmy Seed Stand with stand-in skipper Morrison and former Addick Frank Nouble walking away with their names in the book. 

Despite their possession in the second-half, it counted for nothing in the final third as Charlton were left to lick their wounds from an encounter which, arguably, they did not deserve to gain anything from due to their lack of clear-cut chances.

But, had the referee refrained from blowing up prematurely, there maybe, just maybe, the Addicks could have nicked an important point. 

Charlton: Alnwick, Wilson (Sordell 86), Wiggins, Morrison, Dervite; Stewart, Cousins, Stephens, Jackson (Green 69); Kermorgant, Church (Pigott 69).

Subs (not used): Pope, Wood, Evina, Hughes. 

Booked: Morrison 94 (altercation with Nouble).

Ipswich: Gerken; Chambers, Cresswell, Berra, Smith; Anderson (Edwards 73), Skuse, Tunnicliffe, Tabb (Tabb 84); Murphy (Nouble 73), McGoldrick.

Subs (not used): Loach, Wordsworth, Mings, Graham.

Goals: Smith 5

Booked: Tabb 70 (foul on Kermorgant), Nouble 94 (altercation with Morrison).

Att: 16,645 (2,654 from Ipswich)

Referee: Mr S Duncan

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