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Match Report


Posted Thu 03 Jul 14 at 05:11 AM

Charlton 1 Fulham 1

Olly Groome reports from The Valley

Charlton recovered well from the disappointment of a derby defeat on Good Friday as they played out a score draw with Fulham at The Valley on Tuesday evening. 

After Ross McCormack had given the Cottagers an early lead, the Addicks did not take long to strike back with Johann Berg Gudmundsson netting another goal to reach double figures for the season. 

And after a keenly-contested second half with few clear-cut chances for either side, both London outfits were happy with a point apiece as the visitors strengthened their case for survival while Charlton enjoy a record of just one defeat in their past six home matches.  

There were two changes to the side which suffered disappointment at The Den with Tal Ben Haim and Frederic Bulot coming in for Chris Eagles and the suspended Chris Solly who was serving his one-match ban while Yoni Buyens served the second of his two-game suspension. 

After a fairly even start on a balmy evening in SE7 it was the visitors who fired the first shot when they took the lead with just eight minutes gone. 

When a ball was pumped forwards into the box, Matt Smith won an initial header which completely took skipper Stephen Henderson out of the equation and as the ball looped up in the air, £11m man McCormack was there to nod home into an empty net to put the Cottagers in front. 

The striker proved to be the danger man early on and nearly rounded off a swift counter attack five minutes later as he beat the offside trap to cut inside only to be denied by Ben Haim’s sliding block at his near post. 

Then, from the resulting corner, Tim Hoogland very nearly banged in a second from close range but for Henderson’s smart, smothering stop to keep the arrears down to one. 

Despite falling behind, the Addicks, as ever, remained potent in attack with Igor Vetokele and Tony Watt causing problems. 

On 16 minutes the two combined well following the latter’s smart dummy and with the ball falling loose to Morgan Fox, the left-back swung in a deadly low ball from which Charlton equalised. 

It was the youngster’s second such assist in as many games with his perfectly aimed cross getting in behind the Fulham defence and just missing Bulot before Gudmundsson slid in at the back post to divert the ball into the roof of the net for the equaliser and his 10th goal of the season. 

Ten minutes later, the Iceland international was presented with an almost identical opportunity after yet more superb link-up play between Vetokele and Watt. 

The ball, once again, found its way to the back post where the winger lay in wait, but somehow, he put this effort, which was arguably more straight forward, into the side-netting. 

After the early setback, the hosts had found their flow as they slowly took control of the first-half, although McCormack did come close to a second when he drew a good save from Henderson from his free-kick 25 yards from goal on the stroke of half-time. 

Fulham made a quick start to proceedings after the break, very nearly going ahead within a minute of the restart when Smith diverted McCormack’s cutback past Henderson, but not past Joe Gomez who cleared off the line to safety. 

It was a strong start to the half by the West Londoners who enjoyed the lions’ share of possession until the Addicks slowly began growing back into the game. 

On 63 minutes Watt started, and nearly finished a flowing move when he picked up possession on halfway before surging forwards. 

Playing a one-two with Bulot, the Scot was played into the box wide left and shot across Marcus Bettinelli’s goal, beating the England U21 stopper but not the post as it rolled agonisingly wide before the striker fizzed another shot past the opposite post from the next attack. 

Gudmundsson, meanwhile, had his eyes on a another strike and hit a low, powerful effort towards the bottom left-hand corner which the Fulham keeper got down well to keep out. 

At the other end, the Cottagers’ goalscorer continued to look dangerous and sent a curling effort goalwards from just outside the box in the 69th minute which saw Henderson leap to his left to make a superb, one-handed save. 

Then, with 13 minutes remaining, Smith fired in a powerful shot from the edge of the box which only just whistled over the bar before the hosts went straight down the other end to come even closer. 

The speedy counter saw the ball cut back into the box where Eagles teed up Watt who sent an awkward shot towards the bottom corner, only for Bettinelli to wriggle down and tip it wide for a corner. 

The action had been fairly even throughout and the visitors missed a golden opportunity to take the points with a minute left on the clock when Smith fired over after a free kick settled at his feet 12 yards from goal. 

There would be one final opportunity for the Championship strugglers when McCormack stood over a central free-kick deep into injury time, but his shot flew over as the two sides shared the spoils. 

In truth, the draw was a fair result and the point was enough to ensure the Addicks' mathematical safety with five games remaining.

Charlton: Henderson, Gomez, Fox, Ben Haim, Johnson, Gudmundsson, Cousins, Diarra, Bulot (Eagles 69), Watt, Vetokele (Church 79).

Subs (not used): Dmitrovic, Bikey-Amougou, Lennon, Lepoint, Wiggins.

Goal: Gudmundsson 16

Booked: Ben Haim 30 (foul on Husband)

Fulham: Bettinelli, Hoogland, Turner, Burn, Husband, Tunnicliffe, Guthrie (Kacaniklic 67), Parker, Kavanagh (Ruiz 67), Smith, McCormack.

Subs (not used): Kiraly, Donnelly, Stafylidis, Woodrow, Rodallega.

Booked: Burn 57 (foul on Gomez), Parker 70 (foul on Watt)

Goal: McCormack 8

Referee: A Madley

Att: 16,521 (1,620 from Fulham)

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