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Match Report

 

Posted Sat 18 Apr 15 at 17:05 PM

Charlton 2 Leeds United 1

Olly Groome reports from The Valley

Charlton completed a swift second-half turnaround to secure a 2-1 victory over Leeds United at The Valley on Saturday. 

After the visitors took the lead through Steve Morison just before the break, the Addicks rallied in the second-half, scoring two goals in five minutes to earn all three points. 

Tony Watt bagged an equaliser 16 minutes from time with a sweet volley, while Yoni Buyens netted a trademark penalty to complete the comeback, making it a tale of two penalties after Stephen Henderson had saved Billy Sharp's earlier spot-kick. 

There were three changes to the side which shared a draw with Bolton Wanderers in midweek, with Joe Gomez, Morgan Fox and Chris Eagles all coming back into the starting XI, while Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Jordan Cousins were rewarded with a rest on the bench alongside Rhoys Wiggins. 

The Addicks started brightly at the sun-kissed Valley as Eagles embarked on a 40-yard run upfield to show some early intent, while Frederic Bulot showed some trademark skill wide left before sending in a low, dangerous cross which was hacked away. 

There would, however, be an early blow as Alou Diarra was forced off after just 11 minutes following a hefty challenge which meant Cousins would emerge from the bench earlier than expected. 

And as Charlton were made to settle following the change, Leeds slowly began to take control, seeing all of the ball before Luke Murphy missed a gilt-edged chance to put the visitors in front after 20 minutes. 

With the ball falling to the midfielder unmarked at the back post, he really should have done better than to scoop his shot over the bar, while former Millwall man Steve Morison very nearly punished Henderson’s hesitancy moments later. 

The goalkeeper dwelled on a back-pass and eventually saw his kick closed down by the forward as it ricocheted behind for a goal-kick. 

The chances kept coming for Neil Redfearn’s men as Sharp nodded a header over the bar but it was the Addicks who very nearly went in front just after the half-hour mark when Igor Vetokele diverted Tal Ben Haim’s driven effort onto the post. 

Four minutes later, Leeds were given a golden opportunity to go in front when Ben Haim mistimed a sliding challenge just inside the box to send a Leeds man sprawling as the referee pointed to the spot, leaving the Israeli arguably lucky to escape further punishment. 

Sharp stepped up but Henderson produced another good penalty save, sprawling to his left to tip the well-struck effort onto the post and away to safety. 

The joy, however, would be short lived with the Yorkshireman taking a lead five minutes before the break which was, in truth, deserved. 

Morison was the man to get it, reacting quickest to a corner to send a first-time volley into the top left-hand corner despite the best efforts of Henderson, who got a palm on the effort. 

Charlton looked to make an immediate impact in the second period, with Gudmundsson being introduced in place of Eagles at the break, while Vetokele enjoyed an early chance to draw level. 

Having found space, the Angola international bounded towards goal before unleashing a shot on the edge of the box which missed the target. 

Indeed, it was a barnstorming start to the half for Guy Luzon’s men who saw Bulot come inches away from turning in Fox’s cross while Vetokele almost provided Watt with a killer cross of his own, but the Scot just could not get there in time to make a connection. 

As the half wore on, the game was interrupted by a number of stoppages as the visitors began to regain a foothold, but the Addicks still posed a threat up top with Buyens making Stuart Taylor work with a good save from his placed effort which looked to be heading for the bottom right-hand corner. 

Charlton had stepped back into contention for an equaliser and with 16 minutes left on the clock, they got it. 

Gudmundsson was the provider, sending in an inch-perfect cross towards the back stick which was met by the class of Watt, adjusting superbly to send a powerful volley past Taylor and into the back of the net. 

Suddenly, the Addicks were flying as Gudmundsson looked to take on Leeds single-handedly. 

His mazy run upfield resulted in a low shot which was parried by Taylor, who could not react quick enough to Vetokele, who pounced on the rebound before being totally taken out by the former Arsenal goalkeeper. 

The referee had no choice but to point to the spot and there could be no other candidate to take it but Buyens. 

The Belgian had a perfect record from 12 yards and he showed no signs of that letting up, striding up confidently before stroking his shot to the right of the keeper for his eighth penalty conversion of the season as the hosts claimed the lead. 

It was certainly a quick turnaround in a game which Leeds had controlled for large parts, but the quality of the football that Charlton had provided at times could not be questioned. 

The victory thrust Luzon’s side back into the top 10 and with two games of the season left to play, puts the Addicks in excellent stead for a hugely respectable seasonal finish. 


Charlton: Henderson; Solly, Fox, Gomez, Ben Haim; Eagles (Gudmundsson 46), Buyens, Diarra, Bulot; Vetokele (Church 90+1), Watt.

Subs (not used): Etheridge, Wiggins, Johnson, Lepoint.

Booked: Vetokele 59 (foul on Taylor), Watt 75 (excessive celebration)

Goals: Watt 74, Buyens 79 (pen)

Leeds United: S Taylor, Wootton, Bamba, Cooper, C Taylor, Byram (Dawson 88), Murphy, Austin, Mowatt, Sharp (Montenegro 84), Morison.

Subs (not used): Cairns, Berardi, Phillips, Ngoyi, Sloth.

Goal: Morison 40

Referee: T Harrington

Att: 18,053 (3,140 from Leeds)

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