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Match Report


Posted Sun 08 Mar 15 at 11:25 AM

Cardiff City 1 Charlton 2

Olly Groome reports from Cardiff City Stadium

Charlton pulled off a late turnaround to earn a fifth victory in their last six thanks to a 2-1 win at the Cardiff City stadium on Saturday. 

After a lacklustre first-half from both sides, the game sprung into life in the second when Federico Macheda put Cardiff into a 56th-minute lead. 

But that gave the Addicks, who had not shown much in the way of going forward until they had fallen behind, the incentive to go on the attack with Tony Watt taking the game by the scruff of the neck before netting an equaliser with 16 minutes left on the clock. 

And when Simon Church did well to win a penalty in the dying minutes, there was only going to be one outcome when Yoni Buyens confidently stepped up to the penalty spot to nestle the ball safely in the net to ensure a haul of 15 points out of a possible 18. 

Guy Luzon made four changes to the side which impressed in the victory over Nottingham Forest in midweek, with Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Roger Johnson and Chris Solly making their return from injury with Lawrie Wilson, Alou Diarra and the injured Callum Harriott gave way. 

Meanwhile, Christophe Lepoint came in for his first start in a red shirt in place of Igor Vetokele who was lacking full match fitness and took his place amongst the substitutes. 

Cardiff were the first to make an impression when a good early spell of possession saw Craig Noone run down the right, beat his man and send a menacing shot goalbound from the edge of the box. 

Stephen Henderson, however, was equal to the rasping effort to palm it over for the safety of a corner from which Matthew Connolly headed wide at the back stick. 

The Bluebirds proved threatening from set-pieces early on and they came close again when Henderson failed to claim a corner only for Kenywyne Jones to head into the side-netting from close range providing the Addicks with a let-off. 

In truth, there was very little to write home about with the game being played at a snail's pace.

Morgan Fox’s wild shot over the crossbar was the visitors’ only shot of any note in the first half half, while Conor McAleny’s speculative effort in time added on saw Henderson get down well to ensure the two sides would go into the break with the score goalless. 

Charlton suffered a blow at the break when Henderson was forced to withdraw from the action, replaced by Marko Dmitrović. 

The stopper had received treatment in the first 45 when he was clattered at a corner and the injury would prove too troublesome to continue ahead of the second half. 

The action carried on in much the same vein as the first period with both sides conspiring to give away possession to each other in the centre of the park with the Cardiff faithful, in particular, growing increasingly frustrated. 

The always-assured Joe Gomez did very well to beat the powerful Jones to a header on 54 minutes before McAlney curled one over the bar. 

But just two minutes later, the Bluebirds took the lead through Macheda. 

Noone got down the left to chip in a dangerous ball to the back stick which Jones did well to cut back, and with the initial cross taking Dmitrović out of the equation, the former Manchester United youngster had the easy task of stroking home the opening goal from 10 yards. 

That gave the hosts some momentum as the Addicks struggled to get hold of possession prompting Luzon to bring Chris Eagles off the bench in place of Lepoint and he very nearly made an immediate impact, firing a shot from the edge of the box which was well held by Cardiff stopper Simon Moore. 

With 20 minutes remaining, Charlton began to see much more of the ball and saw an impressive move down the right result in Jordan Cousins’ shot coming inches away, only to be deflected narrowly wide. 

Watt slowly began to assert his qualities and the Scot won a free-kick right on the edge of the box following one of his mazy runs shortly before he struck his fourth goal for the Addicks to draw them level with 16 minutes remaining. 

After a corner was cleared, Eagles returned the ball into the mixer before it fell to Johnson on the right. 

And the defender did well to square for the man in form who was lurking around the penalty spot to stroke a left-footed shot expertly into the bottom right-hand corner for 1-1. 

Suddenly, the game was wide open as both sides stepped up a gear in search of a winner and with three minutes remaining, it was the Addicks who were given a golden opportunity from the penalty spot when Simon Church received a shove from Sean Morrison in full view of the referee.

Buyens was the man to step up, and he made no mistake, stroking the ball to the left of the keeper with what was a carbon copy of his four previous spot-kicks this season to put Charlton into a 2-1 lead with just three minutes remaining. 

Bar a few punts into the box, the last few minutes went off without fear as Luzon’s men, once again, showed how to run down the clock, keeping hold of the ball until the referee’s whistle signalled yet another three points to send the Addicks home happy. 

Charlton: Henderson (Dmitrović 46); Solly, Fox, Gomez, Johnson; Gudmundsson, Buyens, Cousins, Bulot (Church 74); Lepoint , (Eagles 61), Watt. 

Subs (not used): Bikey-Amougou, Diarra, Vetokele, Lennon. 

Booked: Fox 35 (foul on Noone), Lepoint 42 (foul on Whittingham)

Goals: Watt 74, Buyens 87 (pen)

Cardiff City: Moore, Peltier, Connolly, Ecuele Manga, Morrison, Whittingham, Gunnarsson (Ralls 30), McAleny (Kennedy 62), Noone, Macheda (Revell 84), Jones.

Subs (not used): Wilson, Fabio, O’Keefe, Doyle. 

Booked: Connolly 40 (foul on Lepoint)

Goal: Macheda 56

Referee: P Miller

Att: 20,488

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