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Match Report


Posted Tue 30 Jun 15 at 21:34 PM

Charlton 2 Queens Park Rangers 0

Olly Grome reports from The Valley

Charlton got their season off to a perfect start, beating Queens Park Rangers 2-0 in convincing fashion at The Valley on Saturday. 

Despite being left on the bench from the off, Tony Watt emerged at the break to punish the side recently relegated from the Premier League. 

His goal got things under way shortly after the restart before Morgan Fox netted his first for the club 20 minutes later as the Addicks impressed in front of over 19,000 at The Valley. 

Guy Luzon handed full league debuts to Ahmed Kashi, Patrick Bauer, Simon Makienok and El-Hadji Ba, who all impressed on a warm day in SE7, while fellow new arrivals Cristian Ceballos and Zakarya Bergdich started on the bench.

Nick Pope took his place between the sticks, and there was one surprise in the form of 17-year-old Karlan Ahearne-Grant, who was given a big opportunity to impress on day one, with Watt taking his place amongst the substitutes. 

With the game getting under way in front of a truly electric Valley crowd, the visitors from West London applied some early pressure, with the Addicks having to withstand a barrage of early corners. 

Tjaronn Chery enjoyed the first shot of the encounter, although his tame effort was saved easily by Pope, before Charlie Austin drove a fierce shot wide. 

At the other end, Charlton came close when Kashi saw a low volley saved by Robert Green, while Johann Berg Gudmundsson tried his luck with a powerful 30-yarder, which was just about held by the former England stopper,  before the 10-minute mark

On 14 minutes the prolific Austin threatened again when a corner fell to his feet some eight yards from goal, but the striker could only turn his effort wide of the post, with referee Robert Madley, bizarrely, offering Rangers a resulting corner. 

As the clock ticked on, Luzon’s men grew into the game as they began to hassle and frustrate the QPR midfield, with the half becoming somewhat more of a physical battle. 

As a result, the Addicks saw more of the ball and enjoyed plenty of possession, while both sides struggled to create anything clear cut.  

Pope was called into action, however, on 39 minutes when Chery sent a swooping effort towards goal from 30 yards, which moved in the air dramatically. 

But the young stopper was equal to it, adjusting brilliantly to pull off an outstanding save which earned a standing ovation from the covered end. 

Three minutes before the break, a neat corner routine saw Gudmundsson’s placed effort well-blocked, while Cousins’ shot suffered a similar fate as Charlton ended the first half strongly. 

The break saw Watt unleashed from his shackles on the bench in place of Ahearne-Grant, but it was Rangers who, once again, made a strong start to proceedings. 

Just a minute into the second 45, Pope was forced into another good save to keep out Matty Phillips’ close range drive, palming over the bar to safety. 

But on 52 minutes, it was that man Watt who ran amok amongst the Rangers’ defence, firing his side into the lead. 

Ba’s pass was cleverly dummied by fellow new boy Makienok and fell to the Scot on the edge of the box. 

He turned his defender one way, then the other, before firing towards the near post and past Green to leave the Addicks’ faithful jubilant. 

Despite an immediate spell of pressure from QPR in response, Luzon’s side began to take control and the visitors became increasingly frustrated. 

Bauer came close with a bullet header from a corner with 25 minutes remaining before Watt was at it again moments later, showing great skill to get himself into a dangerous position, only to see shot blocked inside the box. 

With 20 minutes remaining, QPR boss Chris Ramsey made a double sub in an attempt to turn things round, but it seemingly had the opposite effect, as the Addicks fired themselves further in front on 72 minutes. 

Indeed, it was a special moment for one of the four of the club’s academy graduates on show, with Fox claiming his first goal for the club. 

The young full-back picked up the ball on the edge of the box, shaped up and delivered a perfectly-placed shot into the bottom right-hand corner, far out of the reach of Green, to put his side within touching distance of an opening day victory. 

As full-time drew near, the home side continued to dominate and were desperately unlucky not to make it three when Gudmundsson rattled the crossbar with a classy free-kick five minutes from the end as the Rangers fans headed for the exits en masse. 

There was still time for Bauer to smack a volley from halfway which nearly caught out Green in injury-time, but two goals would do as Luzon’s men sent the Valley faithful home happy on day one. 

Charlton: Pope; Solly, Fox, Diarra, Bauer; Gudmundsson (Ceballos 89), Kashi, Ba (Bergdich 76), Cousins; Ahearne-Grant (Watt 46), Makienok.

Subs (not used): Mitov, Jackson, Lennon, Charles-Cook.

Booked: Diarra 57 (foul on Mackie), Ba 60 (foul on Austin), Watt 90 (foul on Luongo)

QPR: Green, Konchesky, Onuoha, Hill, Perch, Luongo, Chery (Emmanuel-Thomas 71), Henry (Faurlin 71), Mackie, Austin (Polter 84), Phillips.

Subs (not used): Lumley, Hall, Doughty, Hoilett.

Booked: Hill 84 (foul on Watt), Konchesky 89 (foul on Gudmundsson)

Referee: R Madley

Att: 19,469 (3,126 from QPR)

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