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Match Report


Posted Sun 27 Oct 13 at 18:20 PM

Charlton 0 Wigan 0

Gary Haines reports from The Valley

Resolute Charlton extended their solid recent run with a scoreless stalemate against Wigan Athletic on Sunday. 

A third successive clean sheet kept Chris Powell’s side ticking over on an afternoon when 23,600 descended on The Valley to mark the side’s fifth Football for a Fiver initiative.

The patrons in attendance may not have witnessed a goal, but there was effort and endeavour aplenty from the home side who are now unbeaten in their last four.

And, since Andy Reid’s third-minute goal for Nottingham Forest earlier in the month, they have gone are five hours and 57 minutes since conceding, firm foundations which auger well for the future.

This game was not without its incident, in a 90 minutes full of fits and starts which both sides had their moments in.

Both had to deal with injuries to key men; Yann Kermorgant hobbling off 10 minutes before the break while ex-Addicks keeper Scott Carson didn’t even make it to kick-off after picking up an injury in the warm-up.

Charlton’s best moment was a Richard Wood header scrambled clear from close to the line by Carson’s late replacement Lee Nicholls, and Bradley Pritchard also fired over when well-placed.

Having scarcely threatened in the opening period, the FA Cup holders stepped up a gear after the break and Chris McCann was desperately unlucky when his terrific header crashed down off the bar.

Ben Watson and James McArthur also spurned presentable openings while there were several nearly moments for the Addicks, but sadly only the crucial breakthrough was missing.

The best of the openings in the first half went the way of the home side, while both clubs suffered injury blows either side of kick off.

Ex-Addick Scott Carson sadly wasn’t able to take his place between the posts after suffering a knee injury in the warm-up, while Charlton talisman Yann Kermorgant left the action prematurely after picking up a recurrence of his ankle ailment.

The better chances went the way of the hosts, with Wigan offering very little as an attacking force, and after seeing one effort saved low at his neat post by deputy stopper Lee Nicholls, Bradley Pritchard hoisted a great opportunity over the bar from the edge of the box.

In the closing moments of the half Nicholls intervened to make scrambling stop at his near post to keep out a Richard Wood header, and there was little doubt that the hosts were the side most likely in the opening 45.

Dale Stephens went close soon after the restart, skipping inside and blasting narrowly wide while Wigan were denied by the woodwork four minutes in as a thumping Chris McCann header crashed down off the bar.

The visitors were far livelier in the second period and James McArthur and Ben Watson fired good opportunities wide while the Addicks lost Richard Wood to injury.

Hamer saved from sub Marc-Antoine Fortune in the closing stages and Marvin Sordell was closed out when well-placed late on as honours ended even.

The chief team news saw the return of Kermorgant up front for the home side in the only change from last weekend’s fine win at Blackburn.

The Frenchman was operating up front alongside Simon Church, last week’s goal hero at Ewood Park as Marvin Sordell dropped to the bench.

That was the sole change for what was Charlton’s fifth Football for A Fiver initiative as a bumper crowd packed inside the Valley.

Ben Hamer was between the posts for the hosts with Lawrie Wilson and Rhoys Wiggins flanking Michael Morrison and Wood at the back.

Pritchard and Cameron Stewart were the wide options, either side of Dale Stephens and Jordan Cousins with Kermorgant and Church up top.

There was a late change to the starting line-up for the visitors as former Addick Scott Carson suffered a knee injury so Lee Nicholls was propelled into action and Stephen Crainie took the extra spot on the bench.

The Latics, in Europa League action on Thursday night – thus the Sunday kick-off – pitched in the ever-wily Grant Holt up top, and he was joined by Manchester United youngster Nick Powell, on loan from Old Trafford.

Ben Watson, whose goal won the FA Cup in May, was in midfield while James McClean was free to roam on the left after his red card last week against Blackpool was rescinded.

A raucous atmosphere greeted the two teams as they entered the fray, the home side led by a group of local children as part of the charity matchday involving the Charlton Athletic Community Trust and Help a Capital Child.

With proceeds from the matchday sales donated to two great causes, plus extra thanks to some pre-match persuasion from Bob Bolder, all that was left was the hosts to cash in on the pitch.

And on a blustery afternoon early opportunities were very much at a premium with Nicholls fisting away a Pritchard cross and then saved low at his neat post from the same player.

Despite some neat approach work, Wigan conjured up little while an early niggle for Kermorgant was cause for concern.

And the clearest chance of the afternoon arose 10 minutes before the break, after a cracking move down the left.

The ball was fed in to Stewart on the left and his pull-back was perfect for Pritchard but the midfielder, arriving on the scene just in front of Stephens, could only spoon high over the bar from the edge of the box.

An ailing Kermorgant was removed from the action before the restart, suffering from a recurrence of his ankle problem, and Marvin Sordell came on in his place.

Wood went even closer shortly before the break as his header from a corner forced a scrambling clearance close to the line. Nicholls plunged low to claw the ball to relative safety with Emmerson Boyce completing the job.

That was that for an opening period with a smattering of promise for the Addicks, and after the break Stephens went close, veering across the box and firing just wide.

Wigan finally registered a significant effort on goal four minutes in as McCann thundered a header against the underside of the bar and down.

The ball was nodded back in, but Hamer claimed and James Perch was lucky to escape censure for what looked a blatant hand-ball as Sordell burst down the right.

Church’s horrible slice from a Watson free-kick went behind, with the Addicks somehow offered a goal-kick, and McArthur fired over from inside the box after a sequence of ricochets favoured the visitors.

Wood, injured moments earlier, was replaced by Dervite on 57 minutes, and Church could not quite get enough on a cross from Pritchard soon afterwards.

Back at the other end Wigan were looking far more menacing, and Watson might have done rather better than hammering a shot wide after Holt had bludgeoned his way through and Powell’s miss-kick turned into a useful lay-off.

McClean’s deflected effort rippled the side-netting on the break and Powell scooped over with the goal at his mercy as the pendulum swung.

After a lung-busting run and cross from Wilson was cleared, Wigan broke, thanks to a fine crossfield pass from Leon Barnett, and Perch eventually fired wide.

Roger Espinoza replaced Watson 72 minutes in and Holt’s acrobatic effort flew wide before the striker made way for Marc-Antoine Fortune.

Pritchard collected the game’s first booking after catching McCann and the hard-working midfielder almost set up an opening from the right with the ball clattering all over the place before escaping danger.

Cousins made way for Jackson six minutes from time and Hamer plunged to save from Fortune as the seconds ticked down before McManaman blazed wide from range.

Jackson got away down the right and Sordell, sandwiched between two Wigan defenders, saw a bundled effort blocked.

There was four minutes of stoppage time to navigate and there was a great block from Stephens in the final knockings after a rapid Latics break.

There was little left after that as the Addicks remained resolute to extend their unbeaten sequence to four matches.

Charlton: Hamer; Wilson, Wiggins, Wood (Dervite 57), Morrison; Pritchard, Cousins (Jackson 84), Stephens, Stewart; Church, Kermorgant (Sordell 35).

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

Booked: Pritchard 78 (foul on McCann)

Wigan: Nicholls. Boyce, Perch, Rogne, Barnett; McClean (McManaman 65), Watson (Espinoza 72), McCann, McArthur; Powell, Holt (Fortune 75).

Subs (not used): Shotton, Crainey, Beasejour, Gomez.

Referee: S Martin 

Att: 23,600 (775 Wigan)

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