REPORT | Blackburn Rovers 1 Charlton 2

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Charlton battled brilliantly to secure a hard-earned three points beating Blackburn Rovers 2-1 at Ewood Park in the club's return to the Championship.

The home side had the better of possession but a great effort off the ball and well taken goals by Ben Purrington and Lyle Taylor sent the travelling Charlton supporters home happy.

The Addicks defended with a spirit typical of Lee Bowyer's team, with captain Jason Pearce leading by example, restricting Rovers to few clear cut chances. Indeed when Blackburn's goal did come it was in bizarre fashion off the back of the head of Dillon Phillips. 

Bowyer handed a full debut to summer signing Tom Lockyer, setting his side out in a 5-diamond-1 formation with Jonny Williams looking to use any opportunity to support Taylor up front.

It was a difficult opening half hour for the Addicks though as the hosts dominated possession. Their best chance fell to veteran Stewart Downing after Sam Gallagher had got in behind the Charlton defence. The former England international failed to connect fully with his right foot and Charlton breathed a sigh of relief.

As the half went on Charlton’s confidence slowly began to build and the Addicks had a shout for a penalty turned down in the 33rd minute when a Williams cross looked to have hit a Rovers arm.

Then Taylor forced a save out of Christian Walton when he capitalised on a mistake by Charlie Mulgrew and broke towards the Blackburn goal. His powerful left-footed strike was parried away by the Rovers stopper. 

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Charlton took a 43rd minute lead through a swift counter attack. Forster-Caskey fed Williams on the right who chipped a beautiful cross to the back post where Purrington was on hand to half-volley in from less than six yards.

The Addicks nearly doubled their lead one minute later again winning the ball high up the pitch. Taylor drove an effort across goal from just inside the area but Walton gathered comfortably. 

Blackburn started the second half as they did the first but when they did level the scores it was in particularly fortuitous fashion. A quick corner from Downing caught the Addicks off guard. The ball was met by the head of Bradley Johnson whose header was cleared off the line by Anfernee Dijksteel but bounced off the head of Dillon Phillips and into the Charlton goal.

Charlton nearly responded just minutes later when Naby Sarr found Taylor with a sweeping long ball but his chip went just over the Rovers crossbar.  

With the Addicks under pressure Bowyer sacrificed defender Sarr who was replaced by midfielder Conor Gallagher. The youngster, who signed on loan from Chelsea on Friday, had an early impact when he had a shot on target blocked behind for a corner with his first touch after some clever movement from a Dijksteel throw-in.

The Addicks weren’t able to make that corner pay but the following one definitely did. Forster-Caskey drove the ball in, Pearce did brilliantly to rise and head at goal where Taylor reacted quickly to flick in at the back post to put Charlton back in front. 

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With minutes to go the Addicks had a great chance to put the game to bed. Taylor again won the ball high up the pitch substitute Albie Morgan drew a defender and cleverly played in Forster-Caskey whose effort was expertly smothered by Walton. 

Bowyer couldn’t believe the Addicks had six minutes of stoppage time to see out but his team did it bravely with Pearce, who was outstanding throughout, making sure Charlton managed the clock correctly. 

Blackburn Rovers: Walton, Bennett, Mulgrew (C), Lenihan, Bell, Travis (Buckley 80), Johnson, Downing (Rothwell 68), Dack, Armstrong (Graham 68), Gallagher

Subs (not used): Leutwiler, Nyambe, Evans, Brereton

Goal: Phillips (og) 54

Charlton: Phillips; Lockyer, Pearce (C), Sarr (Gallagher 66); Dijksteel, Purrington; Forster-Caskey, Pratley, Lapslie (Oshilaja 90), Williams (Morgan 79); Taylor

Subs (not used): Amos, Bonne, Solly, Wiredu

Goals: Purrington 43, Taylor 77

Booked: Sarr (8, foul on Gallagher), Forster-Caskey (73, foul on Johnson), Lapslie (79, foul on Rothwell)

Referee: A Woolmer

Attendance: 14,184 (1,077 from Charlton)

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