George Jones reports from The Valley
Charlton fell to a disappointing defeat to Brentford at The Valley on Saturday afternoon.
After a promising opening quarter to the game, in which the Addicks carved out a number of goalscoring opportunities, they were punished for their profligacy when John Swift nodded the visitors in front.
Strikes from Alan Judge and Lasse Vibe completed the scoring after the break, which extends Charlton’s poor run of results.
The South Londoners were able to make six changes to the eleven that started in Tuesday’s defeat to Preston North End, with a number of his senior players having recovered from injury problems.
Stephen Henderson made his first start of the season in goal, with Johnnie Jackson, Franck Moussa, Johann Berg Gudmundsson and Simon Makienok also coming in, while Patrick Bauer returned from suspension.
Charlton made a bright start and a crunching midfield tackle from skipper Jackson got the home side on the front foot. He slid in on Alan McCormack to find Jordan Cousins, who, in turn, slipped in Tony Watt. The Scot twisted inside the box before eventually being snuffed out by an important tackle from James Tarkowski.
Watt was central to the game’s next chance, which arrived on four minutes. And what an opportunity it was. He spun away down the right and crossed low into the box. The Brentford defence scrambled the initial danger clear but the loose ball fell for Moussa, who placed wide of the target from 10 yards.
The wideman probably should have scored but, undeterred, the Addicks soon carved out another chance.
Watt was again the initiator. He released Gudmundsson and, after getting the ball out of his feet, he fired straight at David Button, with the former Addick clutching the ball at the second attempt, having spilt the initial effort.
Another opening was not far away. Gudmundsson headed a poor clearance from Button back the way it came and Watt latched upon it before shooting inches wide from a narrow angle.
At the other end, a header that looped over the bar from Tarkowski provided the Bees with their first goalscoring opportunity. McCormack then zipped a long-range effort over the bar on 19 minutes as Brentford began to get a foothold.
Henderson palmed John Swift’s angled drive away from danger soon afterwards, while, following a superb piece of control on the left flank from Watt, Makienok hooked over the bar for the Addicks.
Moussa forced Button into a save low to his right, which he again plunged upon at the second attempt, as Charlton looked to re-kindle their early-game pressure. Unfortunately, they almost immediately fell behind.
Alan Judge whipped in a a superb cross form the right that Swift met with a bullet header, which flew beyond Henderson and into the net.
A neat one-two between Marco Djuricin and goalscorer Swift gave the visitors an immediate chance to to double their lead but Charlton were able to cut out the latter’s cross in the middle.
Djuricin sliced well wide of the target when unmarked at a Judge corner and Charlton responded with Jackson seeing an 18-yard strike well blocked by his old teammate McCormack.
The Brentford man then came within an inch of doubling his side’s lead. He let fly with a first-time strike from 30 yards three minutes before the break that cannoned down off the crossbar and back out.
Djuricin looped a volley over the bar in what was the first opportunity of the second half on 52 minutes. Three minutes later Brentford made it two.
Judge latched onto a defensive header on the edge of the box, steadied himself and curled into the far corner of the net.
Charlton introduced Reza Ghoochannejhad and and Conor McAleny on the hour mark and the pair combined five minutes after their introduction. The former switched the play out to the left, where McAleny was positioned, and he cut in inside and forced Button to tip away his curling shot.
McAleny again drifted in from his flank a minute later. Twisting and turning, he made himself a yard and aimed at goal, though Button was easily able to hold his effort.
Fellow replacement Karlan Ahearne-Grant blazed high over the bar 15 minutes from time, while a dangerous cross from Ryan Woods was too far ahead of all Brentford’s attackers inside the penalty area.
Jackson then did likewise at the other end, with his centre proving just too high for the head of the incoming Gudmundsson.
The Icelandic fired over from the edge of the box on 84 minutes as the home side continued to try and force their way back into the game but, sadly, such a response was not forthcoming and the Bees made it three before the end.
Judge won possession in his own half and picked out Lasse Vibe with a raking, diagonal pass. He controlled and slotted beyond Henderson to compound the Addicks’ misery.
Charlton: Henderson, Solly, Bauer, Sarr, Fox, Gudmundsson, Cousins, Jackson (c), Moussa (McAleny 60), Watt (Ahearne-Grant 76), Makienok (Ghoochannejhad 56).
Subs (not used): Pope, Bergdich, Ba, Holmes-Dennis.
Booked: McAleny 77 (foul on Yennaris)
Brentford: Button, Bidwell (c), Dean, Djuricin (Vibe 73), McCormack (Canos 89), Woods, Judge, Swift (Kerschbaumer 62), Diagouraga, Tarkowski, Yennaris.
Subs (not used): Bonham, Hoffman, O’Connell, Gogia.
Goals: Swift 27, Judge 55, Vibe 86
Referee: S Attwell
Att: 14,585 (1,638 from Brentford)