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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 05 Apr 14 at 18:06 PM

Charlton 1 Reading 0

Olly Groome reports from The Valley

With Charlton having enjoyed some single-goal victories of their own of late, the Addicks were on the wrong end of a 1-0 scoreline as Reading claimed all three points at The Valley on Saturday.

Despite a promising first half, certainly in terms of possession, Charlton fell away after the break with Danny Williams' strike proving the difference.

And with the backdrop of the all too familiar story of the Addicks' failure to produce in front of goal, Reading forced their authority on the game to earn victory. 

José Riga made two changes to the side which earned a memorable victory at Leeds United on Tuesday night. 

Callum Harriott came into the starting XI as did Simon Church, who was up against his former side as Charlton shifted their formation, with Elland Road goalscorer Reza Ghoochannejhad dropping to the bench while Joe Pigott missed out altogether. 

The early exchanges saw Reading apply some early pressure without creating danger with the first noteworthy event coming via Danny Guthrie's right boot. 

The Reading midfielder cynically kicked out at a floored Jordan Cousins, who had done brilliantly to retain possession while under pressure, and was extremely lucky to escape without a booking. 

The Addicks responded with confidence on the ball, Astrit Ajdarević and Harriott showing quick feet and a classy touch on more than one occasion but the home side's verve just ran dry when they reached the final third. 

The first real opportunity for either side came after 21 minutes when Cousins shimmied through midfield before bursting into the box. But the youngster lacked that all-important finishing touch as his tame effort was easily collected by Royals' stopper Alex McCarthy. 

On 26 minutes, Reading failed to clear a dangerous Johnnie Jackson corner. And, with the ball being  thrown back into the mixer via Dorian Dervite's head, Church found himself in between the visitors' defence and McCarthy but, pedalling backwards, the Wales international could not adjust in time to threaten the keeper. 

While the first period was in no way flush with chances, there was certainly some good football on display – the vast majority of which was from the Addicks. 

Charlton were always looking to play. Keeping the ball grounded and starting from the back Riga's men were knocking it around impressively at times. Diego Poyet was, once again, pulling the strings during another performance plucked straight from the top drawer. 

The only thing that was missing going into the break was the threat in front of goal. 

Reading were unbeaten on the road since January and much of their success had come via their ability to punish on the counter – something which the Addicks had done well to quell in the first half. 

But after the break Nigel Adkins' side nearly punished the hosts within a minute. 

A defence splitting pass from the back played through Adam Le Fondre who squared for Williams on the edge of the box, but the bizarrely-bleached Mohawked midfielder could only scuff his shot well wide. 

Then on 52 minutes, Williams fluffed his lines again when he couldn't convert Chris Gunter's ball in from the right, volleying, once again, wide. 

Reading had emerged looking far more dangerous and the early second-half pressure continued when a teasing corner which only just missed Royston Drenthe's swinging boot at the far post. 

And moments later, Le Fondre was presented with a glorious opportunity to put the visitors in front. 

Collecting a pass from Jobi McAnuff, the forward turned and fired an effort narrowly wide from 10 yards. It was, in truth, a let off for Charlton. 

Ajdarević made way for Ghoochannejhad just before the hour mark and the loanee signed off with a hopeful drive from distance which missed the target before Rhoys Wiggins warmed the palms of McCarthy with a fierce effort from 25 yards. 

Chances had become far more regular since the break and Hamer was forced into an impressive save when he clawed Guthrie's long-range free-kick out of the top-right hand corner before Royals' substitute Garath McCleary rounded up a tidy passing move, firing straight at the Addicks' custodian. 

On 74 minutes Addicks sub Davide Petrucci lost possession on the edge of Reading's box and Adkins' side took that as an invitation to embark on one of those counter-attacks that have bared so much fruit for the play-off chasing side this season. 

Guthrie was the man to break forward, releasing Williams who sent a powerful drive into the top lef-hand corner to put Reading into a deserving lead. 

The confident football of the first half seemed a distant memory as Reading began to take control of the fixture, with Charlton offering very little in return. 

Ghoochannejhad had a glimpse of goal from a free-kick in the final five minutes but the Iranian could only bend his 25-yarder over the bar, with McCarthy looking undeterred. 

The Addicks were afforded more of the ball as the clock ticked down but, as was the case throughout, Riga's side barely threatened McCarthy's goal as the Royals went on to secure the points. 

Results elsewhere were not favourable for the Addicks. But with Yeovil Town visiting The Valley in  three days time, there are plenty more twists and turns still to go in this fight for survival. 
 
Charlton: Hamer; Wilson, Wiggins, Morrison, Dervite; Harriott, Cousins (Obika 82), Poyet, Jackson (Petrucci 66), Ajdarevic (Ghoochannejhad 58), Church. 

Subs (not used): Phillips, Sordell, Wood, Fox.

Booked: Wiggins 38 (foul on Gunter), Harriott 61 (foul on Drenthe)

Reading: McCarthy; Gunter, Obita, Pearce, Gorkss; Williams, Guthrie, McAnuff, Drenthe McCleary 64); Pogrebnyak, Le Fondre (Robson-Kanu 76).

Subs (not used): Federici, Kelly, Bridge, Morrison, Blackman. 

Booked: Williams 74 (excessive celebration)

Goal: Williams 73

Referee: A Madley

Att: 15,800 (1,794 from Reading)

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