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Match Report

 

Posted Tue 18 Feb 14 at 05:03 AM

Charlton v Barnsley

Olly Groome reports from The Valley

Two chances, two goals. 

That was all Barnsley needed at The Valley on Tuesday night as Charlton suffered defeat in the crucial relegation six-pointer. 

The result in no way reflected the balance of play with the Addicks on top throughout, but despite a late consolation sparking a final flurry at the death, that all-important lack of a cutting edge proved to be the difference yet again. 

The big news pre-match was that Chris Solly was back in the starting lineup. 

The reigning Player of the Year followed up his substitute appearance at Brighton on Saturday by reclaiming his right-back berth with Lawrie Wilson reverting to the bench.

Elsewhere, Michael Morrison took his place among the substitutes as Richard Wood took his place in the centre of defence while Jonathan Obika started in place of Astrit Ajdarević.

After both sides had impeccably observed a minute's silence to remember the 25-year anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster the action got under way with Charlton looking the more dangerous early on. 

A pair of Ben Hamer clearances sent Obika on his way down the left as he tried to put a dent in the Tykes' defence but in the early exchanges, the men in blue stood firm. 

The Addicks were looking to get out of the traps early and with 11 minutes on the clock Jordan Cousins did well to hold up a long ball before turning and bending a low effort from 25 yards narrowly wide as Barnsley stopper Luke Steele was sent scrambling across goal. 

José Riga's pre-match chat was clear – to get at Barnsley and that is exactly what they did. They harried and hustled to deny the Tykes time on the ball and the instruction was emphasised by Diego Poyet's tenacity in front of the covered end, crunching Chris O'Grady with a sliding tackle before giving him the nutmeg treatment and drawing a foul. 

And moments later at the other end Johnnie Jackson's powerful drive came off a defender for a corner before Richard Wood struggled to direct a free header from the resulting set-piece. 

The Addicks were looking likely and on 28 minutes Callum Harriott missed a glorious chance when he was the recipient of a sumptuous Marvin Sordell cross. But completely unmarked at the back stick, he fluffed his lines as he failed to connect with a header.

Two minutes later, Jackson shaped up just inside the box to curl a superb effort marginally over the bar as the home side continued on the front foot. 

But on 32 minutes and completely against the run of play, Barnsley took the lead. 

With O'Grady winning the visitors their first corner of the match, Jean-Yves M'voto steamed in at the back post to powerfully head his side in front. 

The goal had come as a shock to the system and, in truth, Charlton did not deserve to be behind. 

The Addicks took their time to adjust but came close to drawing level just before the break when Rhoys Wiggins powered a ball into the box in hope more than expectation. Indeed, the ball came cannoning off a Tykes defender and into the side netting to leave Barnsley with their hearts in their mouths. 

Their was a flashpoint on the stroke of half-time when Jordan Cousins was harshly booked during a scuffle with Stephen Dawson who appeared to be the instigator, showing aggression as he went for the young midfielder's throat. 

But as it was, both players had their names taken and the two sides retreated for the break as Captain Jackson rallied the covered end, asking for more ahead of the second-half. 

Indeed, Charlton started quickly.

Poyet powered through midfield before shrugging off the attention of Tykes defender a pile-driving an effort goalwards from 25 yards which flew just right of the upright. 

The opening stages of the second 45 was following a similar pattern to that of the first as the Addicks regained their foothold, piling forwards in search of that crucial goal. 

Cousins found an opening, scuffing a shot wide before Sordell just could not get on the end of the academy product's dangerous pass into the box with 57 minutes gone. 

And seconds later the Olympian failed to take advantage of a misplaced back-pass when he curled his shot wide with just Steele to beat. 

Charlton were plugging away but the age old struggle in the final third was once again rearing its ugly head and that would prove to be crucial because on 63 minutes Barnsley would score again from nothing. 

Tom Kennedy collected a throw-in on the left-hand side before sending a cross-shot across the Addicks' box which freakishly spun over the head of Hamer for 2-0. 

The Valley was hushed into a stunned silence as the SE7 faithful tried to fathom just how they found themselves with a two-goal deficit in this encounter. 

Regrettably, the answer lied in the fact that the Addicks were simply not taking their chances and another was missed on 67 minutes when Sordell was again clean through. 

The striker hesitated for a second, perhaps waiting for an offside flag which never came and failed to get his shot away before M'voto cleared away. 

With 13 minutes remaining substitute Reza Ghoochannejhad forced Steele into a save following Obika's flick on but the home side just were not doing enough to get themselves back into the tie. 

The Addicks were enjoying all the possession, just as they had done throughout the evening, but nothing would fall into place. 

Crosses were either too long or not long enough and, in truth, Charlton were far too blunt. 

The effort was there in abundance but it always felt like it just was not going to be alright on the night. 

That was rubber-stamped five minutes from time when Wiggins limped off with a suspected broken bone in his foot as the hosts were forced to plod on with ten men. 

But as the clock ticked into injury-time there emerged a very faint light at the end of the tunnel. 

A goalmouth scramble ensued which saw Ghoochannejhad block a teammate's shot on the line but Ajdarević was on hand to poke a goal back just over to make it 2-1. 

This was not over. 

Charlton piled forward. Balls came in but the Tykes held firm and that cutting edge was not forthcoming. 

There was outrage at the death when Cousins was clearly hacked down on the edge of the box in full view of the referee but somehow, Mr Williamson waved play on to deny the Addicks one final chance. 

The result does not change the fact that Riga's men remain in pole position above the bottom three. 

And with a game in hand over both Blackpool and Birmingham City above them and with plenty more football to be played, this fight is not over. 

Not by a long shot. 

Charlton: Hamer; Solly (Wilson 71), Wiggins, Dervite, Wood; Harriott (Ghoochannnejhad 55), Poyet (Ajdarević 78), Jackson, Obika; Sordell.

Subs (not used): Thuram-Ulien, Hughes, Morrison, Fox.

Booked: Cousins 45 +2 (scuffle with Dawson), Ajdarević 80 (dissent)

Goal: Ajdarević  90+1

Barnsley: Steele, Kennedy, McLaughlin, M'voto, Cranie, Jennings, Dawson, Lawrence, Etuhu (Hunt 45, (Mellis 74)), O'Grady, Cywka.

Subs (not used): Turner, Woods, Hassell, McCourt, Proschwitz. 

Booked: Dawson 45+2 (scuffle with Cousins), Cranie 90 (kicking the ball away)

Goals: M'voto 32, Kennedy 63

Referee: I Williamson

Att: 16,320 (965 from Barnsley)

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