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Match Report


Posted Sat 10 Jan 15 at 17:19 PM

Charlton 0 Brighton 1

Olly Groome reports from The Valley

Charlton suffered a second consecutive defeat at The Valley for the first time in nine months after falling to a 1-0 loss to Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday. 

Rohan Ince’s header just after the hour was the difference in a game in which the Addicks were unlucky not to emerge from with at least a point after new signing Tony Watt inspired a spirited second-half showing from the hosts which just could not produce a vital finish in the final third. 

The inclusion of Rhoys Wiggins in the starting line-up for the first time since suffering a broken bone in his foot in November’s 2-2 draw at Leeds United was the big news pre-match. 

Chris Solly also returned to the opposite side of the defence, while Lawrie Wilson started on the right of midfield, with Yoni Buyens and Callum Harriott missing out through suspension. 

Meanwhile, Igor Vetokele came back into the starting XI to join George Tucudean up top, while Watt joined fellow new arrival Marko Dmitrovic on the bench. 

There was an early scare for the Addicks when after four minutes Neil Etheridge dropped a deflected cross under huge pressure. 

With the ball falling loose in the box, André Bikey-Amougou struggled to clear his lines before finally getting in the way of Craig Mackail-Smith’s effort with the goal unguarded. 

It was an early let-off for the home side who had enjoyed some early possession, with George Tucudean seeing a powerful effort blocked on the edge of the box, leading to Wilson firing a follow up wildly over the bar. 

Meanwhile, the Seagulls were causing problems with their balls into the box, and an 11th-minute corner to the back post forced Etheridge into action when Sam Baldock headed straight at the Philippines international stopper. 

In truth, the opening half hour offered very little in the way of clear-cup opportunities, and indeed entertainment, as both sides continued to frustratingly exchange possession in the centre of the park. 

But with 31 minutes on the clock, Charlton enjoyed their best chance of the half via the unlikely source of Bikey. 

A stinging free-kick delivery from the left flank eventually fell to the big Cameroonian who patiently took a touch before drawing a save from David Stockdale at his near post. 

That signalled a good spell of pressure from the hosts who had finally found the space to be able to pass the ball around in Brighton’s half. 

And with 10 minutes of the first half remaining, the returning Wiggins showed what we had all been missing when he made a buccaneering run down the right, beating his man before cutting into the box and pulling the ball back for Tucudean, whose touch took it to Wilson six yards out, but he could not adjust to get the desired touch as it flew over for a goal-kick. 

Then, on the 43rd minute, Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s corner delivery was headed towards his own goal by Inigo Calderon under pressure from Johnnie Jackson to force Stockdale into a good, sprawling save. 

It was a good end to the first 45 for the Addicks and they were, perhaps, unfortunate not to have won a penalty on the stroke of half-time when Lewis Dunk appeared to have clearly handled a ball into the box from the left. 

But despite the hosts’ shouts, both on the pitch and in the stands, the referee waved play on leaving the sides to retreat to the dressing rooms all square. 
The break brought about one change for Charlton with Joe Gomez replacing the injured Jackson. The youngster slotted in at right-back, allowing Solly to move into the centre of midfield. 

But as Peeters’ men began to adjust to the switch, it was Brighton who very nearly took the lead after Baldock split apart the Addicks’ defence with a clever through-ball from which Jake Forster-Caskey found himself on-on-one with Etheridge. 

The keeper, however, came out on top, rushing out quickly before snuffing out the danger by smothering the shot brilliantly. 

Charlton were forced into another change just five minutes into the half when Tucudean limped off with an injury, and it signalled the arrival of Watt who was introduced from the bench to a hero’s welcome in SE7. 

Indeed, the striker breathed some life into the Londoners – his first touch producing a piece of class to take the ball past Calderon before making his way into the box and forcing a corner from Stockdale at his near post. 

The action was already far more abundant than it had been in the first period as the pendulum swung from one end to the other, and the Seagulls came close again when Joe Bennett, unmarked at the back stick, should have done better when heading straight at Etheridge. 

Just after the hour-mark, the Valley faithful were on their feet when Solly rattled the crossbar with a fine effort from 25 yards. 

After fantastic hold-up play from Watt, he laid off to the academy graduate who leathered a shot which beat Stockdale all ends up, but bounced down and away in agonising fashion. 

Just as Charlton were getting on top, however, they allowed Brighton the opportunity to go ahead when Bikey gave away an unnecessary foul on the right flank, immediately after the referee missed a blatant foul on Gudmundsson at the other end. 

And when the set-piece delivery was met by Ince, Etheridge stood no chance as the towering midfielder bulleted his header into the back of the net. 

The goal had undoubtedly come at a bad time for the Addicks, who were looking the more likely before falling behind, and Peeters threw on Simon Church in place of Wilson as his side went in search of an equaliser. 

Undeterred, Charlton remained on top with Vetokele coming close after stretching for a header before Watt came inches away from a debut goal. 

The Scot got on the end of his strike partner’s knockdown to fire an effort from 12 yards agonisingly wide of the post.

The Addicks were well on top as they piled on the pressure, but the goal they deserved was proving elusive. 

Gomez was next to come close when he poked a corner delivery goalbound, and any touch on the way would have done to help it through, but Stockdale was on hand to make the save to deny the youngster. 

As the clock ticked down, Brighton made it increasingly difficult for the hosts as they threw everything forward, and Bikey’s overhead kick at the death signalled the end of the last remaining piece of hope that the equaliser would be forthcoming. 

Despite the result, there were plenty of positives to take from the defeat, not least the effort of Watt, who certainly looks likely to cause some damage to Championship defences for the remainder of the campaign. 

Charlton: Etheridge; Solly, Wiggins, Ben Haim, Bikey-Amougou, Wilson (Church 66), Cousins, Jackson (Gomez 46), Gudmundsson, Vetokele, Tucudean (Watt 51).

Subs (not used): Dmitrovic, Onyewu, Fox, Muldoon.

Brighton: Stockdale; Bennett, Greer, Dunk, Calderon; Holla, March, Forster-Caskey (Halford 88), Ince (Bruno 71); Baldock, Mackail-Smith (O’Grady 71).

Subs (not used): Walton, Hughes, Teixeira, Colunga.

Booked: Bruno 74 (foul on Solly)

Goal: Ince 62

Referee: L Probert

Att: 17,865 (3,123)

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