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Match Report


Posted Tue 26 Nov 13 at 23:39 PM

Charlton 2 Doncaster 0

Olly Groome reports from The Valley

While it's arguable that Charlton had played their 'get out of jail free' card in August, there could be no arguing the Addicks' performance and right to three points in this Tuesday evening redo. 

Goals either side of half-time ensured that Chris Powell's men returned to winning ways as they overcame Paul Dickov's Doncaster Rovers with a 2-0 victory. 

But as kick-off approached, there was a feeling that this fixture between these two sides was carrying a curse. 

After the original game was washed out by rain, the rematch kicked-off in front of a sparsely populated Valley thanks in no small part to public transport problems. 

And when Ben Hamer took a knock in training, forcing a late change to Powell's starting lineup, it was just another piece of bad luck which the Addicks could have done without. 

Ben Alnwick took his place between the sticks for his league debut, joined in the side by Yann Kermorgant, making his long-awaited return to the first XI.

Alnwick's promotion from the bench meant that Joe Pigott returned amongst the seven on the sidelines, leaving Charlton without a goalkeeper in reserve. 

Despite the early empty seats, the members of the SE7 faithful who did make it for kick-off urged their side on to a positive start. 

And after just two minutes, Simon Church should have put the Addicks in front. 

When Lawrie Wilson scooped the ball over the top of the Doncaster defence, the Welsh international sprung the offside trap, taking a touch before guiding a measured shot past Ross Turnbull. 

Unfortunately, his effort also rolled past the left-hand upright as he was left to curse (there's that word again) his luck. 

The home side had another opening midway through the first-half. 

Kermorgant, who has previously been so deadly from set-pieces, stepped up to take a central free-kick from 25 yards. 

With mouths watering around The Valley, the anticipation built, and then quickly disappeared, as the striker curled his effort high and wide. 

A great piece of play followed in the 24th minute following a flowing move down the left-hand side. 

Dale Stephens dummied a low Rhoys Wiggins pass into the box from the left, leaving it for Kermorgant who, on his weak foot, side-footed a shot which bounced back off the left upright. 

A minute later, Charlton were playing the dummies again (in the most majestic of ways, of course) as the Frenchman this time stepped over a pass from the opposite side, with Johnnie Jackson arriving to strike a powerful effort towards goal to force a good save from Turnbull. 

The pace of the game during the first-half was, in truth, pedestrian. And it needed an injection of something special to get the Valley crowd going again. 

And on 39 minutes they got just that. 

A wonder volley from Dale Stephens gave the Addicks the lead, treating the home crowd to a second superb Valley strike in as many games. 

If Cameron Stewart thought his strike against Leeds United earlier this month had the Goal of the Month award all sewn up, he would have had to think again. 

With the winger doing well down the right flank, his cross was cleared up and away. But as the ball returned to earth it met the right foot of Stephens who, at the first time of asking, arrowed a volley into the top left-hand corner leaving Turnbull with no chance. 

Doncaster tried to find a way back in immediately after through Federico Macheda. 

The starlet, on loan from Manchester United twisted and turned his way into the Charlton box, keeping hold of possession for what seemed like an eternity before finally firing his angled shot well over from six yards.

Another Doncaster loanee was presented with a half-chance moments later when Tottenham Hotspur's South African international Bongani Khumalo glanced his header wide from a free-kick. 

But those two chances were all the visitors had to show for a first-half in which Charlton were the much stronger. 

Indeed, the Addicks should have gone into the break in a much more dominant position than the solitary goal lead which they held, emphasised by another missed chance on the stroke of half-time. 

The ever-lively Stewart delivered again from the right for the waiting Church. 

With the striker only needing the faintest of touches from two yards out to divert the ball goalwards but it only just evaded him as the ball glanced across the face of goal. 

As it was, Powell's men would have to settle for a one-goal buffer as they headed in for the interval. 

The drum beat from the Covered End dictated the Addicks start to the second period as Charlton slowly started to introduce some authority on the game. 

The south-Londoners knocked the ball around confidently, biding their time as they looked for openings. 

And the first real chance after the break came after 55 minutes. 

Lawrie Wilson cut in from the right, beating one defender, and then another before shooting low at Turnbull. The Rovers stopper saved with his legs at the near post and as the ball worked its way back out of the box, Jordan Cousins delivered a shot from range which was just too high to trouble the visitors. 

The Addicks were looking good. And they looked even better on the hour as they went 2-0 up. 

The goal was sprung from seemingly nothing when Jackson held possession on halfway. His through-ball completely caught out the Doncaster defence, allowing Church to sneak in round the back with plenty of time to think about his finish. 

As he approached goal, the striker made sure of his fifth goal in Charlton red, making amends for his discarded goal against Rovers in August as he guided the ball past the advancing Turnbull and in off the left post. 

Powell's side were playing with verve and enjoyed a purple match in the following exchanges. Or rather, it was Stewart who enjoyed a purple patch of his own. 

First, the winger, on loan from Hull City, saw a shot fired down the throat of Turnbull from just inside the box to force a corner before wowing the Valley crowd with another spectacular try a minute later. 

Stewart continued to make his impressive mark on the game as his long-range pearler came crashing off the crossbar with the Addicks coming inches away from making it three. 

If Stewart's effort was breathtakingly unlucky, the next chance was rather groan inducing. 
Church completely fluffed his lines in front of goal when he picked up a loose ball 10 yards out. But with his back to goal, which was at his mercy, he swivelled in search of the ball to strike home. However, all his search found was air as he fluffed his lines before falling over, allowing Rovers to clear their lines. 

But it mattered not for Charlton. They always looked comfortable in this game as they sailed through to the reward of much needed three-points. 

Alnwick didn't have a save to make until four minutes from time when he saved from substitute Theo Robinson's shot from just outside the box. A fact which supported the Addicks dominance in a game which they fully deserved to win. 

And to cap it all off, it stayed dry throughout. 

Charlton: Alnwick; Wilson, Wiggins, Morrison, Dervite; Stewart (Green 92), Stephens, Cousins, Jackson (Hughes 91); Church (Sordell 81), Kermorgant.

Subs (not used):  Evina, Wood, Harriott, Pigott.

Goals: Stephens 39, Church 60. 

Booked: Jackson 75 (foul on Wellens).

Doncaster: Turnbull; Quinn, Wabara, Khumalo, Wellens; Duffy, McCullough, De Val Fernandez (Peterson 76) Coppinger,  Macheda, Paynter (Robinson 68). 

Subs (not used): Maxted, Cotterill, Wakefield, Bennett, Woods.

Booked: Wellens 8 (high foot on Stephens).

Att: 14,140 (517 Doncaster)

Ref: Mr S Hooper

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