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Match Report


Posted Tue 10 Feb 15 at 22:41 PM

Charlton 2 Norwich City 3

Olly Groome reports from The Valley

A stunning second-half fightback was not enough to earn Charlton any points as they fell to a 3-2 defeat to Norwich City at The Valley on Tuesday evening. 

The Addicks looked down and out by the time Lewis Grabban had added to Johnny Howson’s earlier strike to put the Canaries 2-0 up at the break. 

But with an hour gone, the hosts sprung into life – netting through Tony Watt’s first for the club, before Igor Vetokele made it 2-2 just seven minutes later. 

The euphoria, however, was only temporary, as Cameron Jerome plotted to ruin the party with a headed winner in the 83rd minute. 

Guy Luzon made five changes to the side which suffered defeat at the hands of Middlesbrough three days earlier. 

Johnnie Jackson, Igor Vetokele, André Bikey-Amougou and Rhoys Wiggins all came back into the side as did Frederic Bulot who came back into the side having returned from international duty with Gabon at the Africa Cup of Nations. 

Making way were the injured Milos Veljković as well as Tony Watt, and Oguchi Onyewu who dropped to the bench, while Morgan Fox and Simon Church missed out altogether. 

After The Valley impeccably observed a minute’s applause in memory of the club’s popular Player Liaison Officer who passed away last week, the action got under way with Norwich the first to get a shot away with nine minutes on the clock when Bradley Johnson flashed a dipping shot wide of the post from 20 yards. 

And six minutes later they found themselves a goal up courtesy of Howson’s crisp strike into the bottom left-hand corner. 

Lewis Grabban was the provider, skipping down the left-hand side before finding the midfielder in acres of space in the centre of the penalty area, and he made no mistake – picking his spot to place the ball low past Marko Dmitrović for 1-0. 

In truth, the Canaries were well deserving of their lead. 

The visitors had moved the ball around with verve in the early exchanges as Charlton struggled to get to grips with their slick passing play. 

Indeed, the Addicks could easily have found themselves further ahead in the first half hour, with Nathan Redmond stinging the palms of Dmitrović with a driven effort before Gary Hooper fired wildly over from the angle when he really should have done better to hit the target. 

Shortly after, Grabban’s wicked ball from the right nearly caught out the hosts with Johnson lurking in the six-yard box. 

Thankfully, however, it flashed across the face of goal, allowing Charlton a rare opportunity to gather their senses as they went in search, somehow, of finding their way back into the game. 

Unfortunately, that challenge would get all the more difficult when the Canaries did, finally, double their lead two minutes before the break. 

Grabban was the man to punish the Addicks further, taking advantage of some confusion between Tal Ben Haim and Bikey to lob the stranded Dmitrović from 30 yards, much to the displeasure of the Valley faithful. 

With the hosts retreating for the dressing rooms to a chorus of boos, Luzon needed a serious fix for the second half. 

Tony Watt was introduced for Bulot at the break, while Callum Harriott replaced Jackson on the hour after the hosts continued their struggle to make an impact, with Norwich well in control.  

On 61 minutes, however, there was a breakthrough. 

Watt had shown a glimmer of class with a mazy run before being halted as he made his way to goal, moments before he finally did get his chance one-on-one with John Ruddy. 

Vetokele played in the pacy Scot with a clever through-ball and he kept his cool to flick the ball past the stopper and into the net to pull a goal back. 

Game on. 

Suddenly, there was some purpose in Charlton’s play. 

They finally looked like they could hurt their opponents with the two subs Harriott and Watt playing their part in some slick passing play of their own. 

Then, seven minutes after getting their first, they did something which no one gathered in SE7 truly thought was possible – they grabbed an equaliser. 

Harriott was the catalyst, breaking through the centre of the park to play through Watt who in turn squared the ball back to the winger to draw a good save from Ruddy. 

But there was absolutely nothing the England stopper could do about Vetokele’s rebound. 

Adjusting well, the Angola striker stretched to volley home his ninth goal of the season and send The Valley into raptures. 

However, although the Addicks had completed some comeback, there was still plenty of time for Norwich to make amends. 

Russell Martin headed over when he should, perhaps, have put his side back in front, while Harriott saw a good-looking volley well blocked at the other end. 

With the game beginning to stretch, it felt for all the world as if there would be one more goal left in it. 

Regrettably, it came the way of the Canaries to well and truly break Charlton’s hearts. 

A pair of substitutes combined to lay the fatal blow, with Wes Hoolohan supplying a deadly left-wing cross for an unmarked Jerome to nod past Dmitrović and seal a 3-2 win to leave the men in red feeling deflated. 

The second-half showing gave plenty of positives for the Addicks to take. 

But with their winless tally now stretching to 14 with Charlton only three points clear of the bottom three, Saturday’s clash with Brentford at The Valley becomes all the more important. 

Charlton: Dmitrovic, Solly, Wiggins, Ben Haim, Bikey-Amougou, Gudmundsson, Buyens, Jackson (Harriott 59), Cousins, Bulot, Vetokele.

Subs (not used): Etheridge, Wilson, Gomez, Onyewu, Lepoint.

Booked: Ben Haim 48 (foul on Grabban), Buyens 54 (foul on Redmond), Cousins 68 (foul on Grabban)

Goals: Watt 61, Vetokele 68

Norwich: Ruddy; Whittaker, Martin, Bassong, Olsson; Redmond (Jerome 79), Howson, Tettey, Johnson; Hooper, (Hoolahan 64), Grabban.

Subs (not used): Rudd, Cuellar, Andreu, Garrido, Murphy.

Booked: Johnson 42 (foul on Solly), Tettey 76 (foul on Vetokele)

Goals: Howson 14, Grabban 43, Jerome 83

Referee: A Woolmer

Att: 15, 094 (including 2,392 from Norwich)

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