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Match Report

 

Posted Tue 29 Apr 14 at 22:28 PM

Charlton v Watford

Olly Groome reports from The Valley

Finally. 

After a gruelling season the fear of relegation has been lifted from The Valley as Charlton sealed their Championship status with a classy 3-1 victory over Watford on yet another glorious Tuesday night under the lights. 

Callum Harriott proved to be the ultimate hero, plundering two sumptuous strikes either side of Johnnie Jackson's goal to cancel out Troy Deeney's impressive, yet ultimately futile, equaliser. 

And with Albert Riera given his marching order in the latter stages, Charlton proved just too much for the Hornets as the Addicks' quality shone through.

There was just one change to José Riga's starting XI with Astrit Ajdarević making way for Lawrie Wilson.

The wide man returned to the side to combine with Chris Solly down the right-hand side in a partnership not seen since the New Year's Day draw at Ipswich Town. 

With the Valley faithful providing a strong vocal backing it was the Addicks who started the better enjoying the vast majority of possession in the opening exchanges, playing their football from the back with patience. 

But with 11 minutes gone Watford very nearly stole a lead when Deeney got in round the back following a launched long ball forward. 

But Hamer was alert to the danger, racing out to meet the forward and make the save before he could get a shot away. 

Two minutes later the hosts responded with a fine attacking move which saw Jackson rake a ball wide to Wilson who combined brilliantly with Solly before playing in Jordan Cousins. 

The youngster then went in search of fellow academy Callum Harriott who met his pass with a stinging effort from 12 yards which was deflected wide for a corner. 

Riga's men were looking confident and had another sight at goal when Marvin Sordell was sent sprawling 25 yards from goal. 

Jackson stepped up to bend a free-kick goalwards but could only sting the palms of Hornets stopper Jonathan Bond who very nearly made a mess of things when he dropped the save, but was able to clean up the mess before clearing to safety. 

Despite Charlton's confidence the visitors' fire power in the final third meant that it was vital to keep wary of the likes of Deeney. 

And the Watford captain kept them on their toes when he met a knock-down to send a ferocious volley straight at Ben Hamer with 17 minutes gone. 

But the Addicks remained dominant with the covered end in fine voice as Wilson and Solly provided the entertainment with successive nutmegs down the right while skipper Jackson saw far-post header well saved by Bond. 

Then, on 22 minutes Charlton struck to take a richly deserved lead via the tricky left foot of Harriott. 

The winger picked up possession on the left before driving forward, biding his time and then pinging a shot from 25 yards straight into the bottom corner past Bond. 

The Valley was bouncing with the Addicks sticking to the script. As it stood, they were in a position of safety. 

Watford, however, had ideas of their own and responded well to going behind. 

Essaid Belkalem's header forced Hamer into a sprawling save shortly before the lively Sean Murray  drilled a powerful effort to the left of Hamers goal – so powerful, in fact, that it punctured a a hole in the sturdy advertising hoarding behind. 

Deeney and his strike partner Mathias Ranegie were proving a real physical threat as they hustle and bustled  their strength towards the Addicks' backline. 

It was a storm which Charlton had to ride and they did just that, seeing matters through until the referee, Mr Bond, blew his whistle to signal half-time. 

The hosts emerged for the second-half in a similar fashion to that of the first as they went in search of an increase to their lead. 

Harriott was alive with confidence, taking on anyone and anything in yellow with his trickery while Wilson and Solly continued to be a thorn in the Hornets' left side. 

Seemingly camped in their own half, Watford were getting nowhere near Hamer's goal. But there could be no compensating for the strength of Deeney when, on the hour mark, he drew his side level completely against the run of play. 

The striker took a nice touch to pluck the ball out of the air before turning and sending a stunning half-volley over the Addicks' custodian, off the underside of the bar and into the net. 

Charlton certainly did not deserve to lose their lead but there could be no arguments. Deeney's strike oozed quality. 

The visitors grew in confidence as Deeney, again, threatened when he fizzed a powerful shot over from the corner of the box and it was back to the drawing board for Riga's side.

The Belgian rang the changes, introducing Jonathan Obika in place of the hard-working Sordell and  it paid dividends as three minutes later the Addicks dragged themselves back in front.

Morgan Fox curled in a truly sumptuous cross between the Hornets' defence which fell to the feet of Jackson and the captain showed superb steel and tenacity to take a touch before fashioning a shot which rolled past Bond and nestled inside the post. 

With tails well and truly up Charlton went again. They wanted more to ensure their Championship safety and on 77 minutes they only went and got it. 

A fine run down the right by Wilson resulted in the ball being played floated over into the box where Harriott was on hand to beautifully finish a half-volley on the angle. 

The Valley erupted. Reach out and you could almost touch survival, it was that close. 

And moments later it got even better with the Addicks' task becoming somewhat easier with thanks to the dismissal of Watford's Albert Riera for a second-bookable offence. 

The former Liverpool man launched a high boot on Diego Poyet leaving Mr Bond with no choice but to brandish the red card and leave the Hornets to struggle on with 10 men. 

There was still time for Fox to bamboozle a visiting defender before getting the right side and attempting a curled shot with the outside of his boot which, unfortunately spun well wide. 

But it mattered not, as after a hefty five minutes of time added on it was all over. 

SE7 celebrated with gusto – the Addicks were finally safe!

It now means that the South Londoners can travel to Blackpool without fear and look back on the pack scrambling to keep their heads above water knowing that they will, without a shadow of a doubt, be playing in the Championship next season. 

See you on the beach!

Charlton: Hamer; Solly (Hughes 90), Fox, Dervite, Morrison; Wilson, Poyet, Cousins, Jackson, Harriott; Sordell (Obika 67). 

Subs (not used): Thuram-Ulienm Wood, Petrucci, Ajdarević, Pigott. 

Booked: Hughes 90+2

Goals: Harriott 22, 77, Jackson 69

Watford: Bond; Doyley (Angella 52), Hoban, Belkalem; Faraoni (Ranegie 15), Battocchio, Tozser, Murray (Diakite 75), Riera; Deeney, Anya.

Subs (not used): Woods, Merkel, Pudil, Jakubiak.

Goal: Deeney 60

Booked: Belkalem 45 (foul on Wilson), Riera 65 (dissent) 79 (foul on Poyet)

Sent off: Riera 79 (second bookable offence)

Referee: D Bond

Att: 15,185 (1,062)

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