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Match Report

 

Posted Wed 08 Apr 15 at 10:26 AM

Millwall 2 Charlton 1

Olly Groome reports from The Den

Charlton suffered yet another disappointing day at The Den on Friday as relegation-threatened Millwall came out on top with a late victory. 

The Addicks were truly up against it when Chris Solly was harshly shown a red card for a handball in the box after just 28 minutes. 

But despite the resulting penalty being saved by the impressive Stephen Henderson, the visitors faced a massive uphill struggle if they were going to take anything away with them. 

Indeed, the 10 men did superbly well to get themselves in front via Alou Diarra’s first of the season midway through the second half, but it would prove too far a stretch as the Lions netted twice in the last 11 minutes to snatch the points. 

Guy Luzon named two changes to the side which earned victory over Reading before the international break with Solly making a welcome return at right-back, while Igor Vetokele joined Tony Watt in attack. 

Alou Diarra made the move from defence into midfield with Yoni Buyens serving the first of his two-game suspension and Frederic Bulot took his place on the bench having only returned to training on Thursday following his trip away with Gabon. 

The early exchanges were played in a typical, tight and cagey fashion in front of a fantastically loud derby crowd in Bermondsey with Solly setting his stall out early with a crunching, well-timed sliding tackle in the first few moments which sent Dan Harding flying. 

In truth, the Addicks were made to weather an early storm as the Lions enjoyed some good possession and a series of corners without really testing Henderson. 

It was 18 minutes before the first real chance fell to Millwall when Ed Upson got in a good position to head Harding’s left-wing cross narrowly over while Charlton came close on 25 minutes when Chris Eagles got on the end of Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s clever chip over the top, stretching to toe his effort into the side netting. 

And moments later, Watt beat David Forde to another searching ball over the top to put the ball wide while clattering into the Irishman. 

But then, on 28 minutes, the visitors suffered a massive blow when Solly was shown a straight red card for handball in the box, denying a goalscoring opportunity.

After Joe Gomez had cleared away an initial goalbound effort, a scramble ensued before another effort was fired in. 

And although there didn’t seem to be anything the skipper could do about it, the ball struck him in the face with his arm raised. Despite the evident blood pouring from the defender's cut lip, the penalty was given. 

Lee Gregory was the man to step up, sending his effort low to the right only for Henderson to get down and make the save, much to the delight of the 2,235 travelling reds. 

Charlton had to regroup and Eagles was sacrificed for André Bikey-Amougou to come in at the back with Gomez slotting into the full-back position vacated by Solly. 

The Lions were, however, still enjoying most of the possession and Henderson was called into action to make another fine save five minutes before the break to come out Upson’s effort from distance, though Luzon’s men did come desperately close on the stroke of half-time when Diarra sent a bullet header just wide of the post. 

The second-half half started in a far more positive fashion with the ride side of South London and Gudmundsson enjoyed his first sight at goal when he curled a good-looking shot just wide from 25 yards early on. 

Just after the hour-mark, the superb Henderson answered yet another question of the hosts when he got down well to keep out Shaun Williams’ powerful drive from range as Millwall began to get a foothold back in the game.

Then, on 67 minutes, the away end erupted as the Addicks scored their first goal at The Den in nearly 20 years. 

When Morgan Fox meandered down the right, he combined well with Vetokele before biding his time and sending a sumptuous ball into the near post where Diarra diverted a classy flick looping over Forde and into the back of the net to spark unadulterated scenes behind the goal. 

Charlton had got themselves in control against a frustrated Millwall outfit, but with 11 minutes left on the clock the Lions dragged themselves back into it through Magaye Gueye. 

With the ball finding its way to the far post, the midfielder was there to drill home a powerful effort past Henderson from the angle, into the bottom right-hand corner to draw his side level. 

Unsurprisingly, that got the home side’s tails up as the Addicks were made to soak up the pressure while they looked to try and catch their opponents on the break. 

That very nearly came off when substitute Simon Church glanced a header narrowly wide before the Lions went straight back on the offence at the other end. 

Indeed, with just three minutes remaining, the Addicks suffered a heartbreaking blow. 

With the ball pumped into an overcrowded box, it fell to Jos Hooivld to tap the ball home from close range as Charlton’s hopes of a long-awaited derby victory crumbled in front of their very eyes. 

Henderson threw himself forward for a late corner but it would not be enough as the visitors were left, once again, left feeling disappointed on their way out of The Den.  

Charlton: Henderson; Solly, Fox, Gomez, Johnson; Gudmundsson, Diarra, Cousins, Eagles (Bikey-Amougou 33); Vetokele (Bulot 72), Watt (Church 78). 

Subs (not used): Dmitrović, Wiggins, Lennon, Lepoint.

Sent off: Solly 28 (denying a goalscoring opportunity)

Goal: Diarra 67

Millwall: Forde; Cummings, Harding, Nelson, Hooiveld; Upson (Bailey 76), Abdou (Gueye 58), Williams, Woolford; Gregory, O’Brien. 

Subs (not used): Archer, Beevers, Dunne, Maierhofer, Taylor-Fletcher.

Booked: Hooiveld 35 (foul on Watt), Williams 71, Woolford 77 (foul on Cousins)

Goals: Gueye 79, Hooiveld 87

Referee: M Russell

Att: 14,722 (2,235)

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