George Jones reports from The Valley
Charlton’s winning run came to an end as they suffered a disappointing defeat against Ipswich Town at The Valley on Saturday afternoon.
Two goals from Daryl Murphy, the first somewhat controversially allowed after a foul on Chris Solly inside the box went unpunished, and another from Freddie Sears were the difference between the sides.
The Addicks, who lost captain Johnnie Jackson to an early injury, kept pushing until the end and saw home debutant Ricardo Vaz Te twice denied by stunning saves from Dean Gerken late on but they were un able to prevent their first defeat in three.
Karel Fraeye decided to stick with the eleven that earned the hard-fought victory at Birmingham City last time out, meaning that youngsters Tareiq Holmes-Dennis and Ademola Lookman retained their starting berths, while, on the bench, Chris Solly and El-Hadji Ba returned from injury and suspension respectfully.
Charlton forced the first opportunity of the game when a low cross from Morgan Fox picked out Ademola Lookman on the edge of the box. He took aim and his strike was deflected behind for a corner.
Lookman was involved again two minutes later when he reached the byline and whipped in a centre towards the far post. Jackson did well to beat Ainsley Maitland-Niles to the ball but could not dig out a shot on goal.
Brett Pitman fired an on-the-turn strike straight into the arms of Stephen Henderson for the Tractor Boys’ first effort, and imposing forward Murphy then nodded narrowly wide from Maitland-Niles’ cross.
The Addicks were dealt a blow just before the game reached the quarter-hour mark when Jackson pulled up with a hamstring complaint. The skipper, so influential in recent matches, was unable to continue and was replaced by fit-again Solly.
Things could have been made worse when Sears met Luke Chambers’ deflected cross on the half volley, but Henderson got down low to keep his strike out.
A quick Henderson clearance set teenager Lookman on his way after 26 minutes. He held off the challenge of Luke Chambers and cut inside from the left before dragging a shot wide of the near post.
But Ipswich went in front on 28 minutes, and in controversial circumstances. Maitland-Niles hooked the ball high into Charlton’s penalty area and Smith, with his arms all over the face of Solly, flicked on and Murphy nodded into the net.
The Addicks almost levelled immediately when Lookman was presented with a shooting opportunity inside the box but, from a narrow angle, he could only fire at visiting stopper Gerken.
Jordan Cousins headed Fox’s centre into the arms of Gerken on 36 minutes as the Addicks continued to look for a quick response but unfortunately one was not forthcoming and the scoreline was made worse before the break.
Sears, right on the cusp of being offside, got in down the right and sent a shot towards goal that deflected off Patrick Bauer and bobbled into the net.
Charlton almost pulled one back before the whistle sounded but, after recycling possession at a corner, Simon Makienok couldn’t get his head to Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s stood-up cross and the Tractor Boys managed to clear.
Fraeye introduced Vaz Te at the interval in place of Fox and the home debutant almost had an immediate impact as he rose to meet Solly’s high ball into box. Gerken managed to pluck it out of the air.
Vaz Te then sent a left-footed drive towards goal, having been teed up by Gudmundsson, but Gerken was again equal to it. Ipswich weathered Charlton’s brief storm, and extended their lead on 67 minutes.
Sears picked up possession on the right and sent the ball across the edge of the box. Douglas intelligently dummied, allowing possession to run through to Murphy, who controlled with one touch before burying into the corner with his next.
Substitute Reza Ghoochannejhad was unable to dig out a strike on goal as Charlton looked to respond, after Vaz Te had squared to him 18 yards from goal and, at the other end, Brett Pitman fired a looping drive into the arms of Henderson.
Ghoochannejhad then did superbly to head Gudmundsson’s deep free-kick back across goal, where it was met by Bauer who was denied by Gerken.
The Ipswich stopper was again called into action shortly afterwards as he made a stunning stop to prevent Vaz Te opening his Addicks account by plunging to his left to keep out the striker’s corner-bound header.
Gerken foiled the home side once more on 86 minutes. Again it was Vaz Te that was denied. The forward thumped a strike at goal from 20 yards and the goalkeeper again flew to his left to ensure that he departed from SE7 with his clean sheet in tact.
Charlton: Henderson, Holmes-Dennis, Bauer, Sarr, Fox (Vaz Te 46), Diarra, Cousins, Jackson (Solly 13), Gudmundsson, Makienok (Ghoochannehad 73), Lookman.
Subs (not used): Pope, Lennon, Ahearne-Grant.
Booked: Fox 45+4 (foul on Maitland-Niles), Makienok 63 (foul on Berra)
Ipswich: Gerken, Knudsen, Chambers, Smith, Berra, Maitland-Niles (Coke 84), Skuse, Murphy, Pitman, Sears (Oar 90), Douglas.
Subs (not used): Bialkowski, Parr, Tabb, Malarczyk, Robinson.
Goals: Murphy 28, 68 Sears 45+2
Referee: S Duncan.
Attendance: 15,870 (2,678 Ipswich fans)