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Match Report


Posted Tue 28 Jan 14 at 22:52 PM

Doncaster 3 Charlton 0

Olly Groome reports from the Keepmoat Stadium

Ten-man Charlton suffered defeat at the hands of fellow strugglers Doncaster Rovers on Tuesday night. 

The Addicks were all but beaten as early as the first half when Lawrie Wilson was shown a straight red card before Chris Brown dispatched from the resultant penalty adding to Abdoulaye Méité's goal 10 minutes earlier. 

And by the time Mark Duffy added a third in the second period, it had become clear that the visitors would be deservedly leaving the Keepmoat Stadium empty-handed.

Chris Powell shuffled his defensive pack with Harry Lennon being awarded his first league start following his appearance off the bench at Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup three days earlier.

His inclusion may have surprised a few with Cedric Evina, the man he replaced at the John Smith's Stadium, fit to play from the start. 

With Evina playing on the left of midfield, Lennon slotted, once again, into the left-back berth with Rhoys Wiggins serving the final game of his own three-match ban. 

Elsewhere, Yann Kermorgant returned to lead the line alongside Simon Church after the talismanic Frenchman was rested in the cup. 

Doncaster put Charlton on the back foot early on, with Gabriel Tamas unleashing a speculative shot from range with just a minute on the clock. 

And Johnnie Jackson followed suit four minutes later at the other end, shooting from 25 yards when the skipper was afforded space and time. 

But just as with Tamas' early effort, the ball flew harmlessly over the crossbar and into the fans sat behind. 

With 11 minutes on the clock it was the Addicks' captain who was involved again. 

But this time Jackson gifted the home side with a sight of goal, mis-hitting a pass backwards into the path of Billy Sharp. 

The Donny fans' favourite was making a first appearance at the Keepmoat Stadium since rejoining Rovers on loan from Southampton. But he could not make an immediate scoring return as Michael Morrison blocked his shot from the edge of the box. 

It was a warning shot for the visitors as Doncaster began to grow in confidence. Spurred on by the influential Sharp, the Addicks struggled to get a touch for a large spell. 

Even when Powell's men enjoyed a corner from a rare foray forward in the 20th minute, Rovers hit on the counter with Duffy twisting and turning his way towards the visitor's box before Jackson finally cleared up. 

In the 26th minute Jackson was the hero when he cleared a Bongani Khumalo header off the line. 

With the hosts swinging in a free-kick from the right-wing, the Tottenham Hotspur loanee rose highest to nod past Ben Alnwick. 

But just as it looked like the ball would trickle in, the skipper was on hand to clear away for a corner much to Charlton's relief.  

That relief, however, would last a matter of seconds. 

From the resulting corner, Doncaster went in front. 

When the set-piece was only half cleared, it fell to Duffy whose shot was saved by the legs of Alnwick. 

But his save cannoned back off Méité who claimed the goal as it tucked into the near post. 

Rovers' tails were very much up, and the Addicks had a lot of work to do. 

Then, on 35 minutes, their task became mammoth. 

With Rovers showing good build-up play, Sharp received possession in the box and turning well, the striker was about to unleash a shot before Wilson brought him down. 

Inevitably, referee Paul Tierney pointed to the spot and brandished the red card as Charlton were reduced to 10 men. 

There could be no complaints as Chris Brown stepped up to send Alnwick the wrong way to extend his side's lead to 2-0. 

A cut and paste job was needed on the Addicks back line and it saw Morrison move to right-back with Evina reverting to left-back and Lennon moving to his preferred position of centre-half. 

The visitors looked deflated as Doncaster went for more. 

James Coppinger stung the palms of Alnwick just before half-time as Charlton struggled to get anywhere near Ross Turnbull in the Donny goal. 

The half-time whistle could not have come sooner for the 10 men as they headed to the dressing room to regroup. 

Powell strengthened his defence in the second-half by introducing Richard Wood in place of Evina, a move which saw Lennon switch back to the left once more. 

And Church had an opportunity to grab a goal back on 53 minutes. 
The Welsh international got on the end of Jordan Cousins' cross-field pass, but as the ball bounced up, Church skewed his shot over from a tight angle. 

Rovers saw a pair of shots hit tamely at Alnwick but the home side were content with knocking the ball around midfield to a chorus of 'olés' from the south-Yorkshire natives.

Coppinger tricked his way down the left on 65 minutes before chipping a cross to the back post where Tamas came steaming in. 

The full back released an almighty volley which would have had Alnwick worried but could only bulge the side netting. 

Two minutes later, however, Donny added a third. 

Duffy was the man to put the game out of Charlton's reach with a solo effort, dinking his way towards the edge of the box before letting fly with an unstoppable effort to the right of the Addicks' stopper. 

In truth, Charlton looked like a team resigned to defeat as Rovers played their way around their opponents on the way to three points. 

Sharp missed a glorious chance to make it four when put in one-on-one by Duffy. 

Despite rounding Alnwick, Dorian Dervite forced him wide to prevent him from grabbing the homecoming  goal which the the home fans were so desperately craving. 

David Cotterill sent two good-looking, curling efforts narrowly wide in the dying minutes while Richie Wellens drove a long-range shot off the bar in injury time as Charlton were forced to watch their opponents run the clock down. 

The final whistle brought welcome relief to players and supporters alike. Charlton were pummelled and the metaphorical boxing match was finally over. 

From the moment the second goal went in it was very clear there would only be one winner. 

And for the loyal 448 followers who made the trip north it was, undoubtedly, a hard one to take. 

Charlton: Alnwick; Lennon, Evina (Wood 45), Morrison, Dervite; Wilson, Cousins, Stephens (Ajdarević 79), Jackson; Kermorgant, Church (Harriott 76).

Subs (not used): Thuram-Ulien, Green, Sordell, Pigott.

Booked: Stephens 74 (foul on Wellens)

Sent off: Wilson 35 (foul on Sharp)

Doncaster: Turnbull; Tamas (Quinn 77), Husband, Khumalo, Méité; Coppinger, Keegan, Wellens, Duffy; Brown (Peterson 89), Sharp (Cotterill 77).

Subs (not used): Maxted, Furman, De Val, Stevens.

Goals: Méité 26, Brown 36 (pen), Duffy 67

Referee: P Tierney

Att: 7,289 (448 from Charlton)

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