Greg Stubley reports from Griffin Park
Callum Harriott’s double secured Charlton a vital three points in their quest to beat the drop as they defeated Brentford 2-1 at Griffin Park.
The winger’s strikes, a day after his 22nd birthday, either side of Yoann Barbet’s first-half header, was enough for Jose Riga’s side to go back to The Valley with an away league win for just the third time this season.
The result means that the Addicks rise one place to 23rd and are seven points outside the relegation zone with 11 league fixtures remaining.
The visitors took the lead within the first minute when Callum Harriott was presented with the opportunity to notch home from close range after Morgan Fox’s cross deflected off Yaya Sanogo into the path of the academy graduate.
Dean Smith’s side then levelled after 26 minutes when Alan Judge’s corner found the head of Yoann Barbet, who dually dispatched from close-range to level the scores.
Despite late pressure, Charlton remained the side more likely to extend their lead but Simon Makienok’s late volley cannoned off the crossbar.
However, the Addicks held on through some resilient defending to give the side a morale-boosting victory ahead of the visit of MK Dons on Tuesday evening.
Riga opted for a change in formation, reverting to a 4-4-1-1 system as well as making four changes to the side that lost to Reading last weekend.
Nick Pope was given his first start in-between the sticks since January and Morgan Fox was recalled to the starting eleven in place of Roger Johnson to play left-back while, Harriott and Jordan Cousins returned to the side as –the latter having recovered from a hamstring knock, made captain in the absence of Johnnie Jackson, Chris Solly and Stephen Henderson.
Yun Suk-Young was pushed to left-wing, as Marco Motta, Rod Fanni, Jorge Teixeira and Fox occupied a back-four defensive unit with Gudmundsson playing just behind Yaya Sanogo.
Brentford, meanwhile, made one change to their team who lost 2-1 away at Rotherham last Saturday.
With just 19 seconds on the clock, Fox crossed from the left hand-side, the ball deflected off Sanogo into the path of Harriott, who slotted the ball past David Button to give the visiting Addicks the lead.
Harriott’s strike was his first of the season for the South East Londoners having scored seven whilst on loan at Colchester United earlier in the campaign.
As expected, Brentford looked for an immediate reply. The lively Alan Judge crossed towards the back post, but John Swift was unable to get header on target as the ball sailed wide.
Charlton could have doubled their lead after 15 minutes, Gudmundsson’s corner found Teixeira at the back-post via a touch off Sanogo. However, the centre-half could not quite adjust his feet in an acrobatic manner and the ball was cleared.
Judge, the Bees’ top scorer this season, created a half-chance for his side with a mazy run that concluding in mild panic within the Addicks defence as they saw the ball flash past the Brentford forward Marco Djuricin.
The Irishman was soon involved again as he was picked out on the left wing and a slip from Motta allowed the midfielder to curl an effort towards the back post that was brilliantly kept out by Charlton’s keeper.
As the ground rose to applaud the life of Bees fan Dean Langford in the 24th minute, Djuricin raced through on goal for the hosts and it took another wonderful save from Pope to maintain Riga’s side’s lead with a fine low save to push it out for a corner.
The Brentford pressure then finally paid off as their subsequent corner found an unmarked Yoann Barbet at the far post, who calmly headed past Pope from close-range to level the ties.
Charlton aimed to seize the initiative again shortly after the goal, as Harriott cleverly made space for himself before delivering a blistering cross that took a deft touch off Sanogo as it sailed wide.
With Diego Poyet on the pitch following an injury to Alou Diarra, Brentford looked to take the lead before the break but were restricted to long-range efforts from Ryan Woods and Judge as the scores stayed level at half-time.
It was the Bees who started the second period the better of the two teams. Sergi Canos was played through, two minutes after the restart, but somehow, managed to slide his shot wide.
Brentford then worked a short corner well to find the impressive John Swift on the edge of the box although, the Chelsea loanee’s effort was tame and was comfortable for Pope to deal with.
Moments later, a superb piece of distribution from Pope picked out a superb run from Motta, whose tenacity won his side a corner. The subsequent delivery from Gudmundsson picked out Teixeira at the far post however, the Portuguese defender could only float his header into Button’s arms.
Charlton were then close to having an opportunity on the counter-attack. Cousins did magnificently to win possession for his side and played an intelligent ball to Sanogo who was then unfortunate to not pick out the run of Gudmundsson as the Icelandic winger was bearing down on the Brentford goal.
Nevertheless, the Addicks weren’t going to be denied shortly after that chance.
With 69 minutes played, Gudmundsson did brilliantly to get down the Charlton byline before depositing a cross to the centre-circle. Button and Sanogo then engaged in a dual that allowed the ball to fall into the path of Harriott, who used his composure to take the ball round the Brentford keeper and then superbly smash the ball home from close-range to put Riga’s men back into the lead.
Despite the visitor’s advantage, Brentford still looked to threaten. Nico Yennaris cleverly found Judge outside the penalty area, he then was unable to divert the ball past Pope, much to the frustration of the home supporters.
With four minutes of added time give, Charlton had a glorious chance to seal the three points. Sanogo flicked the ball into the path of substitute Simon Makienok and the forward with a left-foot half-volley, unleashed a sublime shot that smacked against the crossbar before being cleared.
Brentford then went in search of a late equaliser themselves, but Judge’s ambitious volley flew over the bar and Charlton were able to hang on for just their second victory of 2016.
Charlton: Pope, Motta, Fanni, Teixeira, Fox, Gudmundsson (Ghoochannejhad 90+ 4), Diarra (Poyet 34), Cousins, Suk-Young, Harriott (Makienok 86), Sanogo.
Subs (not used): Mitov, Johnson, Bergdich, Lookman.
Goals: Harriott 1, 69
Booked: Sanogo 13 (Handball), Motta 56 (foul on Bidwell), Fanni 87 (timewasting)
Brentford: Button, Yennaris, Barbet, Dean, Bidwell, Woods, Canos (Saunders 71), McEachran (Hofmann 82), Judge, Swift, Djuricin (Vibe 61).
Subs (not used): Bonham, McCormack, Kerschbaumer, O’Connell.
Goals: Barbet 26
Booked: Canos 53 (Foul on Suk-Young), Judge 89 (foul on Cousins), Hofmann 90 + 3 (foul on Cousins)
Referee: B Malone
Attendance: 10,108 (1,175 from Charlton)