Greg Stubley reports from The Valley
Charlton secured themselves a morale-boosting victory in their quest to beat the drop as they defeated Middlesbrough 2-0 at The Valley.
Jorge Teixeira’s first goal for the club and a Callum Harriott’s strike has given Jose Riga’s side a much-needed win that gives some glimmer of hope that the Addicks can potentially stay-up in the Championship.
The result means that the Addicks remain in 23rd place but are now five points off the relegation zone with nine league fixtures remaining.
Charlton took the lead through Teixeira after the former Standard Liege man headed in from Johann Gudmundsson’s corner.
The Addicks’ second came with ten minutes remaining as Harriott netted his third in as many games, firing from close-range to give the hosts a two-goal lead.
Second-placed Middlesbrough, who were without Aitor Karanka through a club incident on Friday, tried to create late opportunities but with no success as Charlton held out for their first home victory since November.
Riga’s men next travel to Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday in what will be another crucial match for his side.
Riga opted to switch to a 4-4-2 formation, making two changes to the side that drew 0-0 to MK Dons in the week.
Simon Makienok’s illness meant he had to be withdrawn from the squad and was replaced in the starting eleven by Ademola Lookman.
Alou Diarra, who missed the draw in midweek through injury, was able to return to the side, filling in at central midfield in place of Diego Poyet as the West Ham loanee dropped to the bench.
Gudmundsson switched back to his favoured right-wing position, while Harriott partnered Lookman upfront.
Within moments of kick-off, the game had to be delayed as beach balls invaded the pitch. Referee Darren Deadman halted play as they were removed from the pitch before restarting play after four minutes.
After the match resumed, it was Charlton who created the first opening of the match.
Harriott played a clever ball into the Boro penalty area and Lookman nearly found himself with a terrific opportunity. However, Dael Fry managed to recover and clear the ball for the visitors.
Middlesbrough, with Steve Agnew on the sideline as caretaker boss, created their first chance just before the 20th minute mark. Gaston Ramirez, on loan from Southampton, picked up the ball from the edge of the area and unleashed a stinging shot that tested the palms of Nick Pope, but was easy enough for the Charlton keeper to gather.
Moments later, Johann Gudmundsson was presented with an opportunity from just outside the penalty box. The Icelandic winger then drove the ball powerfully towards goal and forced Dimi Konstantopoulos into a decent save.
With neither side creating too much, it was Charlton who were the side trying to take the initiative. With 37 minutes on the clock, a nice Addicks move culminated in Harriott trying his luck from range, but the academy graduate slightly miscued his shot as it flew over the bar.
Down towards the Covered End, Boro themselves pushed players forward looking for the lead before half-time. George Friend managed to knock the ball down into the six-yard box and it need some composed defending from Jorge Teixeira to chest it down to Pope to deny the visitors an opportunity that would have surely seen them take the lead.
With five minutes of added time prior to the break, Boro were the side who looked more likely to score. It took a fantastic save from Pope to deny a certain Rod Fanni own-goal after the centre-back diverted a cross towards the Addicks’ net as the first half concluded in a stalemate.
With neither team making changes at the break, it was the Addicks who created the first chance of the second half.
Teixeira played a neat ball into Jordan Cousins and the stand-in skipper raced towards the Boro goal before narrowly firing over Konstantopoulos’ net.
It was the centre midfielder who had Charlton’s next opportunity as well. The ball was switched to Yun Suk-Young and the South-Korean found the youngster only to see his shot deflected behind for a corner.
And it was the subsequent set-piece that saw Riga’s side take the lead.
Gundmundsson’s delivery found an unmarked Teixeira and the centre-half rose high before firing home with a powerful header that was placed into the corner of the net.
Charlton could have made it two moments later. Another set piece caused havoc in the Boro defence and it took brave goalkeeping from Konstantopoulos to deny Fanni from close-range.
Middlesbrough then looked to immediately respond. First Albert Adomah had two chances. The winger saw his initial save well parried by Pope, before firing over seconds later.
The visitors continued to press forward. Ramirez saw his free-kick tipped over by Pope and then Adam Clayton tried his luck from long-range but to no avail with the Addicks standing strong.
Nonetheless, Charlton were to cause further upset for the visitors with ten minutes of time left. A neat Addicks’ move saw Gudmundsson reach the byline, pulling the ball back into a dangerous area. Boro then failed to clear their lines and Harriott pounced to convert to give the home side a two-goal cushion.
Boro tried to get themselves back into the game with minutes remaining, but only a David Nugent header really tested Pope, with Charlton managing to see the game out to secure an impressive victory against the odds.
Charlton: Pope, Motta, Fanni, Teixeira, Fox, Gudmundsson (Lennon 90 +3), Diarra, Cousins, Suk-Young, Harriott (Bergdich 88), Lookman (Ghoochannejhad 78).
Subs (not used): Mitov, Johnson, Holmes-Dennis, Poyet.
Booked: Diarra 64 (foul on Adomah) Harriott 80 (removing shirt during celebration), Fox 90 + 2 (foul on Stuani)
Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulous, Nsue, Gibson, Fry, Friend, Leadbitter, Clayton, Downing (Nugent 74), Adomah, Ramirez, Rhodes (Stuani 74).
Subs (not used): Agazzi, De Laet, De Sart, Kalas, Forshaw.
Booked: Rhodes 66 (foul on Pope) Clayton 75 (foul on Fox).
Attendance: 14, 636 (2,342 Middlesbrough fans)
Referee: D Deadman