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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 26 Apr 14 at 18:52 PM

Charlton v Blackburn Rovers

Olly Groome reports from The Valley

A tough day at The Valley saw Charlton beaten 3-1 by Blackburn Rovers as the battle at the bottom of the Championship rumbles on. 

A bright first-half counted for little as the Addicks found themselves a goal down courtesy of Rudy Gestede's strike before the home side missed a chance to draw level when Marvin Sordell saw his penalty saved. 

The striker did offer a glimpse of hope when he slotted home after Michael Keane had put Blackburn two ahead but Tom Cairney compounded Charlton's frustrating afternoon by adding a third and effectively killing the game off with 25 minutes left to play. 

José Riga opted to make just once change to the side which pulled off a remarkable turnaround against Sheffield Wednesday five days earlier with Astrit Ajdarević coming in to the starting XI in place of Simon Church. 

And on a day in which the club's academy was being championed at The Valley it was quite apt that, once again, no less than half of the Addicks outfield players were graduates from the esteemed youth set up.

Indeed, it was one of the Charlton's fledgling youngsters who gave the hosts the first opening after 11minutes. 

Good work from Diego Poyet saw the midfielder dink a ball into Callum Harriott who struggled to turn at the first time of asking but recovered well to fire an effort in from 10 yards which was well blocked. 

The Addicks were getting on top as they enjoyed the lions' share of possession and were frustrating Rovers down the right-hand side. 

So much so that the visitors felt the need to haul down Jordan Cousins  as he powered through on goal. 

Harriott tried to keep the advantage alive with a deflected effort but referee Michael Naylor pulled play back for a free-kick which Ajdarević could only hit straight into the wall. 

Then there was a stoppage in play when Jordan Rhodes felt the full force of Ben Hamer as he raced out to claim a ball. 

The Scotland international's visiting teammates made some rather audacious claims for a penalty which were, quite rightly, waved away. But it mattered not for Blackburn as moments later they would find themselves ahead against the run of play. 

A ball whipped in from the right was met by Gestede whose glancing header crept into the bottom left-hand corner, evading Hamer's despairing dive to make it 1-0 to the Lancashire side. 

The hosts provided a decent response when Poyet knocked down a header for Ajdarevic to send a speculative overhead kick narrowly wide as Charlton looked to find a way back into the encounter. 

But It was very nearly Blackburn who would score next when Harriott was caught in possession on 34 minutes to allow Joshua King a route to goal. The wide man should have punished the Addicks but could only drag his effort wide. 

In the 39th minute Charlton were presented with a golden opportunity to draw level via the penalty spot. 

Cousins' delightful ball over the top was met by Sordell and as the Olympian brought it down he was dragged to the floor with Mr Naylor showing no hesitation in pointing to the spot for the South Londoners' first home penalty in the league this season. 

Sordell, full of confidence following his hat-trick at Hillsborough, dusted himself off to put the ball on the spot himself only to shoot down the middle and see Paul Robinson spring off his line to keep the striker out and restore Rovers' lead. 

And so, Riga's men would have to retreat for the break behind but, it was fair to say, the scoreline was in no way a fair reflection of the first-half's balance of play. 

Regrettably though, the mere balance of play is in no way enough to win games and six minutes into the second-half the hosts found themselves two goals down. 

In similar fashion to the first it was a guided header into the bottom corner which undid the Addicks as Michael Keane rose to nod past Hamer from a floated corner in. 

That goal left The Valley flat. There needed to be an immediate response akin to that of the Easter Monday turnaround.

And who else would you look to other than Mr Sordell. 

The striker made amends for his earlier discrepancy from 12 yards to pick up possession at the edge of the box before turning and smartly curling a shot into the bottom corner. 

Game very much back on. 

Charlton were on the ascendancy as Harriott fired wide and Sordell's tenacity saw him drive into the box before a scramble ensued which saw substitute Reza Ghoochannejhad have his effort blocked. 

But despite the Addicks' possession it counted for very little and with Blackburn capable on the counter there was always the danger that they might be punished. 

On 64 minutes exactly that proved to be the case. 

The ever-dangerous King galloped down the left before supplying Tom Ciarney whose first effort was cleared off the line only to slam home at the second time of asking to make it 3-1 leaving the hosts with a mountain to climb. 

The visitors were now very much on top and were inches away from a fourth moments later when Gestede rattled the woodwork with another header via a corner while at the other end Morgan Fox stung the palms of Robinson with a vicious angled drive. 

Blackburn continued to threaten with the relatively quiet Jordan Rhodes heading straight at Hamer as Charlton continued to huff and puff their way back into proceedings. 

Sordell ran through to side-foot an effort across goal while Simon Church came inches away from a connection when the ball was returned into the danger area but with time running out in SE7, it looked increasingly likely that they would not get their breakthrough. 

Indeed, Rovers finished the game on top – Liam Feeney raced through to drag an effort wide before Hamer pulled off a spectacular save to keep out (another) Gestede header off the line.

But as it was, the arrears remained at a two-goal deficit as the visitors saw the game out for all three points. 

There was always going to be more twists and turns to the story of the 2013/14 season. But the final twist might just come with three points over Watford on Tuesday night. 

A victory over the Hornets will guarantee the Addicks' safety in the Championship with a game to spare thus avoiding a potentially heart-attack inducing final day in Blackpool. 

Granted, it is in no way going to be easy. But here's to hoping. 


Charlton: Hamer, Solly, Fox, Dervite, Morrison; Cousins, Poyet, Ajdarević (Church 70), Jackson (Petrucci 82), Harriott (Ghoochannejhad 57); Sordell. 

Subs (not used): Thuram-Ulien, Wood, Obika, Wilson.

Booked: Fox 38 (foul on Conway)

Goal: Sordell 54

Blackburn: Robinson; Keane, Hanley, Kilgallon, Olsson; King (Feeney 74), Cairney, Evans, Conway (Taylor 90+2); Gestede, Rhodes (Williamson 85).

Subs (not used): Eastwood, Kane, Varney, Rittenberg.

Goals: Gestede 26, Keane 51, Cairney 64

Booked: none

Referee: M Naylor

Att: 15,718 (940 from Blackburn

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