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Match Report


Posted Sat 21 Mar 15 at 17:10 PM

Charlton 3 Reading 2

Olly Groome reports from The Valley

A scintillating second-half showing helped Charlton to a 3-1 victory over Reading at The Valley on Saturday afternoon. 

After falling behind before the break to Pavel Pogrebnyak’s strike, the Addicks emerged for the second period with purpose and were simply irresistible as Guy Luzon’s men turned on the style. 

Yoni Buyens levelled from the spot before sealing his brace shortly after and Simon Church scored his second goal in as many games to put the game beyond the Royals who were reduced to 10 men with five minutes left thanks to Danny Williams picking up his second yellow card. 

There was a late scare when Pogrebnyak netted a second deep into injury time but the win was never in doubt as Charlton’s hugely impressive run continues. 

There were two changes to the side which earned victory against Blackpool in midweek, with both Frederic Bulot and Buyens coming back into the starting XI. 

That allowed Chris Eagles, who also found the net at Bloomfield Road, to play in a more central position of Tony Watt who led the attack while Buyens took up his usual position in the centre of the park.

Alou Diarra, meanwhile, moved back into defence alongside Roger Johnson after Chris Solly, who was due to start, was injured in the warm-up. 

The Addicks played some very attractive football in the early exchanges, keeping the ball on the deck in the fashion we have become accustomed to under Guy Luzon of late. 

But it was the Royals who saw the first half-chance of the game when Pogrebnyak nodded former Bromley winger Garath McCleary’s narrowly wide after 15 minutes. 

Although the hosts enjoyed the majority of possession for much of the first half, there was very little to show for it. Indeed, there was a distinct lack of urgency from either side until the visitors took the lead five minutes before the break. 

After the ball was drilled into the box, the Russian forward took a neat touch before turning a firing past Stephen Henderson to put the Royals 1-0 to the good going into half-time. 

The second period got under way with a wayward, long-range effort from McCleary while the Addicks’ finally sparked into life in the final third shortly after. 

Morgan Fox’s menacing, bouncing cross from the left was met by Watt at the far post, but as he met the ball on its upward motion, he sent it sailing over the bar. 

Charlton came closer yet from the next attack as Bulot laid a header into the path of Buyens 12 yards from goal and the Belgian looked certain to score, only to be denied by an impressive last-ditch block courtesy of Michael Hector. 

Then, on 58 minutes, the Addicks were awarded with a golden opportunity to equalise, ironically given to them by Hector. 

The big defender handled the ball in the area as he jumped for a header with Watt and the referee had no choice but to point to the spot. 

Buyens, of course, was the man to step up and the Belgian simply does not miss them. 

Sending his spot-kick into the top right corner he drew his side level and maintained his 100 per cent record from the spot, making it seven from seven.

Suddenly the hosts had come alive, showing off some scintillating play which had the Valley faithful on their feet. 

Eagles came agonisingly close to putting the Addicks in front when he sent a free, diving header dipping over the bar from Gudmundsson’s ball in following superb forward lay by Watt. 

And the Scot burst through to come close moments later when he drilled an effort straight at Adam Federici in the Reading goal. 

But with 20 minutes remaining, Charlton did, finally, grab the goal and lead that they so deserved. 

Joe Gomez claimed the assist, crossing from the right for Buyens to seal his brace, showing great technique to divert the ball to the left of the keeper and into the net to prove that he is just as deadly in open play as he is from the spot. 

Clearly, Luzon’s men were not completely satisfied as they continued on the front foot in search of a third which should probably have come on 76 minutes when substitute Church drew a superb save from the Royals’ Australian stopper. 

Yet another superb piece of build-up play resulted in Buyens cutting the ball back to the Welshman, but his placed effort from 10 yards was met by Federici who came steaming off his line well. 

That save would count for very little, however, as Church would eventually get the better of him to put Charlton into a commanding position with 10 minutes left on the clock. 

And it was all thanks to the tenacity of the fantastic Watt, who hounded the Royals’ defence, ran to the byline and squared for his strike partner to tap home from a yard for the Addicks third of the afternoon. 

If that was not to prove to be the final nail in Reading’s coffin, Williams sealed his side’s fate in the dying minutes when he embarked on a spat with Watt. 

With both players booked, it proved to be the end of the Royals midfielders’ afternoon as he received his second yellow card and was given his marching orders to leave the visitors a man down. 

Steve Clarke’s men did reduce the arrears deep into injury time when Pogrebnyak turned in his second from close range, but it would be nowhere near enough as the Addicks claimed their seventh victory in nine games to ensure their impressive run of form would continue with Millwall next on Luzon’s agenda.

Charlton: Henderson; Gomez, Fox, Diarra, Johnson; Gudmundsson, Buyens, Cousins, Bulot; Eagles (Church 68), Watt (Lepoint 88).

Subs (not used): Dmitrovic, Bikey-Amougou, Lennon, Ahearne-Grant.

Booked: Johnson 29 (foul on Mackie), Watt 85 (coming together with Williams), Buyens 88

Goals: Buyens 58 (pen), 70, Church 80

Reading: Federici; Gunter, Pearce, Norwood (Karacan 63), Pogrebnyak, Robson-Kanu (Blackman 83), Obita, McCleary, Hector, Mackie, Williams. 

Subs (not used): Andersen, Akpan, Taylor, Cooper, Stacey. 

Booked: Norwood 56 (timewasting), Hector 57 (handball)

Sent off: Williams 85 (second bookable offence)

Goals: Pogrebnyak 40, 90+4

Referee: D Deadman

Att: 15,007 (953 from Reading)

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