George Jones reports from Craven Cottage
Charlton fell to a London derby defeat on Saturday afternoon, losing 3-0 away at Fulham.
Despite a strong, first-half performance, the Addicks found themselves a goal behind at the break after Tom Cairney thumped the home side in front on 31 minutes.
Michael Madl doubled their advantage on the hour mark and Cairney’s second of the game, a well-placed volley, completed the scoring 10 minutes from time.
Head Coach José Riga made three changes to the eleven that started in last weekend’s goalless draw against Cardiff City at The Valley.
El-Hadji Ba and Diego Poyet came into the heart of midfield, replacing injured duo Jordan Cousins and Johnnie Jackson, while Callum Harriott also earned a recall.
There was also a starting berth for Chris Solly, who made his 200th appearance for the club.
A dangerous cross from Jamie O’Hara created the opening opportunity of the game. Harry Lennon was well positioned to cut it out and Stephen Henderson claimed the resulting corner.
Harriott was hauled down by Cairney as he looked to attack the Fulham back line three minutes later. The Whites did well to head Gudmundsson’s free-kick clear and Simon Makienok then curled over the bar after a good interception from Ba.
With nine minutes gone, a superb save from the Whites’ Andy Lonergan denied Charlton the lead. Zakarya Bergdich did well to reach the byline and cut the ball back to Harriott, who aimed a low strike at goal that the stopper tipped to safety.
Double centurion Solly bravely got his head in the way of a 20-yard drive from Scott Parker and there was then a short break in play after Luke Garbutt’s fierce clearance smashed into the face of the linesman.
Harriott, operating just behind lone frontman Simon Makienok, won the Addicks a free-kick on the edge of the box on 21 minutes. Gudmundsson stepped up and his effort was deflected away for a throw-in.
The visitors were ejoying the better of the opening exchanges and they came close again when Harriott skipped beyond Garbutt to reach the byline. His deep cross found Bergdich at the far post and, after the Morroccan’s strike was blocked, the loose ball fell for Gudmundsson who volleyed wide.
A neat flick from Bergdich set Morgan Fox away down the left soon afterwards. He zipped in a low centre that Garbutt scrambled behind behind for a corner.
At the other end, Stephen Henderson made a routine stop from Ross McCormack’s low strike. The corner that followed led to the Cottagers’ opener.
McCormack’s delivery was only cleared as far as Parker, who fired against the crossbar, and the ball then dropped to Cairney to turn home from 12 yards.
The opener had come against the run of play but, undeterred, Charlton immediately tried to get back on the front foot. Gudmundsson flighted in a ball from the right that Bergdich glanced a yard-or-so wide.
Makienok volleyed Fox’s cross past the near post seven minutes before the break and the latter then arrowed a 30-yard free-kick over the bar.
The hosts surrendered a great chance to double their lead on the stroke of half time. Cairney led a counter attack down the right and, after playing a one-two with Moussa Dembele, he laid off McCormack, who curled off target.
Fulham made two changes at the break, introducing Madl and Chris Baird in place of O’Hara and Alex Kacaniklic, but it was the Addicks who forced the opening chance of the half.
Harriott unleashed a 25-yard strike that Lonergan could only push out in front of him. Sadly for Charlton, the ball dropped for a man in White and the hosts were able to clear.
Lonergan came off his line to smother Bergdich’s attempted through ball and Dembele then curled wildly off target for Fulham on 55 minutes.
They doubled their lead five minutes later. Substitute Madl escaped his marker to head beyond Henderson from six yards.
Now with the wind in their sails, it was close to three almost immediately afterwards. Dembele advanced to 25 yards from goal and crashed a strike against the underside of the bar.
Harry Lennon made an important block from Ryan Fredericks’ shot from a narrow angle and Cairney then poked over the bar after making his way into the box.
Fredericks’ dangerous centre eluded Dembele at the far post and Gudmundsson drilled a strike into the arms of Lonergan as the Addicks tried to hand themselves a lifeline.
It was three on 78 minutes. A Fulham corner was headed out as far as Cairney and he volleyed home from the edge of the box.
Henderson saved well from McCormack’s point-blank finish as the hosts quickly looked to make it four and Reza Ghoochannejhad saw a deflected effort drop kindly for home stopper Lonergan.
Gudmundsson curled a free-kick over the top and Harriott then did likewise with a shot from the edge of the box, with the visitors looking for a consolation goal.
Fox jinked away from Fredericks two minutes from time and picked out Makienok at the far post. He nodded down to Harriott, who blazed over the bar.
A stoppage-time, Gudmundsson strike was then spilled by Lonergan, with Makienok firing the rebound straight at the goalkeeper, as the home side kept their clean sheet in tact.
Charlton: Henderson, Solly, Teixeira, Lennon, Fox, Gudmundsson, Poyet (Motta 67), Ba (Lookman 67), Bergdich (Ghoochannejhad 79), Harriott, Makienok.
Subs (not used): Pope, Fanni, Suk-Young, Johnson.
Booked: Fox 85 (foul on Fredericks)
Fulham: Lonergan, Fredericks, Burn, Amorebieta, Garbutt, Parker, O’Hara (Baird 46), Cairney (Tunnicliffe 84), Kacaniklic (Madl 46), McCormack, Demebele.
Subs (not used): Lewis, Richards, Smith, Hyndman.
Goals: Cairney 31, 79, Madl 59
Booked: Amorebieta 20 (foul on Harriott), Burn 43 (foul on Gudmundsson), Tunnicliffe 86 (foul on Fox)
Referee: K Friend
Attendance: 16,565 (1,776 Charlton fans)