As the Addickted gathered at Vicarage Road for the evening match at Watford they heard that Palace had gone above Charlton in the table after beating Bristol City 2-0 at Selhurst Park. Stoke beat Preston 3-1 at home while the Baggies fought back from being 1-3 behind at home to Cardiff City to draw 3-3. Watford could get within a point of the Baggies if they won, writes Erith Addick Paul May.
Varney and Big Chris started up front. New signing Andy Gray was on the bench. Watford created an early chance with a cross after Youga was beaten but Francis put the ball over the bar under some pressure from the Addicks defence. Ambrose was booked as he fouled Smith after he broke down the right. The Hornets free kick was poor.
Moutaoukil took a knock. Watford broke on the right again, after Youga slipped on the wet pitch, but McCarthy headed clear. Charlton seeming to be alternating passing the ball on the ground and using the long ball to Iwelumo. The striker was asked to leave the leave of field of play as he had blood in his face.
A shot by Ambrose led to the first corner for Charlton and the Addickted burst into a chant of 'Come On You Reds'. Watford were awarded a free kick from the corner as Lee was judged to have been fouled.
The referee spotted something off the ball and spoke to Mouataoukil about his reaction. Sam tried to put in a cross, but Lee made an easy catch and Watford counter attacked, but Holland got back well. After slipping, Youga did well to deal with Smith on the wing.
Ellington put in a cross for the Hornets, but no one was able to connect. Iwelumo put in a half volley from distance but it went over the top of the near post. Weaver made a catch from Ellington after the Watford player had got past McCarthy.
Doyley put in a long throw, Francis got the header in, but Weaver was able to deal with it. A ball in by Doyley was headed clear by Bougherra. Smith continued to look a threat on the right and seemed to have the measure of Youga who was finding the slippery surface difficult. Iwelumo put in a volley that was well wide.
The Addicks had a good chance, Sam ran in behind the defence but put it fractionally wide. After a run by McAnuff, Watford got their first corner. Matt Holland put the ball out for a second corner. This time the ball was headed away and Moutaoukil tore into the Watford half.
Moutaoukil challenged McAnuff from behind and got a yellow card. McAnuff had set him up for it. Varney got the ball down by the corner flag, Ambrose put in a good ball to the far post, but a disappointing header from Iwelumo went out for a goal kick.
Holland forged forward well down the right and got in behind the full back, he provided a good ball along the ground, Ambrose had a great chance eight yards out, but his side footed shot was poor and went wide. It was Charlton's best chance and it was wasted. From a Youga free kick, Iwelumo laid it off to Ambrose, but he took time to make his shot and it went straight to Lee in the Watford goal.
Watford applied a little pressure, Ambrose managed to get the ball away, but Iwelumo clattered into Williamson and gave away a free kick. It was headed down by Henderson, but Weaver was able to save. Travelling journeyman and towering hulk Callum Davenport went down flat on his back after being hit by one of his own players when he jumped, hitting the ground with a mighty thump. In the coinfusion, Bougherra stepped on Davenport, but it was accidental. The stretcher came on, although the player was conscious of the fact that he was at Vicarage Road and not Upton Park. There was a long hold up in play while he was strapped up on the stretcher and carried down the tunnel. Adrian Mariappa came on in his place.
Four minutes of time were added on. Charlton got a free kick after Varney was fouled, but it was an easy save for Lee from Ambrose. Youga got in a dangerous position, but his ball was blocked by Lee. A ball in from Henderson was cut out by Bougherra. Sam turned well in the centre circle, Varney put in a good ball, but DeMerit defended well. Ambrose put in a strike, but he sliced it well wide, ruining another good chance. Charlton had had their chances, but failed to take them.
Half time: Hornets 0, Addicks 0
Charlton got an early corner in the fine rain in front of the crowd of 17,214. It was a decent corner, Lee failed to collect, Watford managed to clear, but Mariappa was down with a head injury but was soon up again. McCarthy picked up a knock to the head in a challenge with Henderson.
Watford were awarded a corner taken by Stewart. The Addicks were able to head clear.
Iwelumo was given a warning by referee Marriner for what was seen as an unfair challenge. Charlton put together some nice passes, but Varney's cross drifted behind the ball. McAnuff tried to set up a shooting opportunity from the edge of the box, but sliced it wide. However, it woke up the occupants of the local cemetery who seemed to make up the bulk of the home support.
Youga went forward well, he turned provider for Ambrose and Lee had to turn his shot round the post for a corner. Lee then saved from a Lloyd Sam header from the corner. Sam and Zheng Zhi combined well, the keeper was beaten, but the Sam's strike hit the outside of the post.
Charlton continued to look more of a threat. Francis managed to win the ball off Zheng Zhi, but Bougherra was able to snuff out the counter attack. Varney was caught offside. Bougherra was being booed by the Watford fans.
It had been all Charlton, but 13 minutes into the second half from nowhere Ellington, in the side for Marlon King, buried it into the bottom corner of the net from eight yards to score his first goal for Watford. The goal gave the Hornets a boost and Weaver had to palm a cross from Smith over the bar.
Charlton applied some pressure but were unable to pose a real threat. Watford launched a counter attack, good defending from McCarthy at the expense of a corner stopped it being 2-0 from a free header from Henderson. Mariappa's header was wide.
Charlton raced forward but Francis made a cynical heavy challenge on Holland and he got a yellow card. Ambrose hit the ball over the crossbar from the free kick. New signing Andy Gray was brought on to replace Iwelumo who had not been involved that much in the second half. Holland urged his teammates to make the best of the last 20 minutes. Mariappa was taken off by Watford and 19-year old midfielder O'Toole came on.
Bougherra intervened at the expense of a corner, drawing loud boos from the Hornets. Holland put in a good header to defend the corner. McAnuff outwitted Motaoukil and Watford had the ball by the corner flag. The Watford shot was blocked and Charlton got a throw in. Zheng Zhi put the ball into the box, but Varney put it out wide for a goal kick, holding his head in frustration.
With the clock ticking, Watford were taking their time over throw ins. Ambrose put in a poor and unnecessary tackle, conceding a free kick. Youga headed the free kick clear. McAnuff fouled Sam who was away down the right and got a deserved yellow card. Varney was caught again by the offside flag, although it was a marginal decision.
Gray found Sam who made a little run, but Williamson was able to get the ball away. Ambrose put in a shot from 25 yards out, Lee made a bad mistake and palmed it into his own net. Andy Gray put in a header but it was straight at the keeper. Moutaouakil gave the ball away, but McCarthy cleared. Bangura, who had been threatened with deportation to Sierra Leone, came on for Ellington. Chris Dickson came on to replace Sam.
Dickson troubled DeMerit, but then gave away the free kick. Charlton applied good pressure through Gray and Dickson. Dickson broke down the right, Varney was behind him, but he went for a straight cross which was easily intercepted rather than laying it back to Varney. Dickson broke through one or one, tried to take it round the keeper, but Lee was able to save.
Smith tried to break down the right, but Zheng Zhi made the challenge. Watford put Charlton under some pressure, but it ended in a throw in for the Addicks. Then Charlton had to engage in some desperate defending and Bougherra had to put the ball out for a corner, but Weaver hit him in the head as he came out, meaning that there was no Magic on the pitch when the corner was taken. Charlton made the smart move of getting Fortune on to replace Bougherra. A shot from Williamson from 16 yards out went wide as the crowd vented their fury on the departing Bougherra.
Four minutes were added on in the swirling rain. Watford were awarded a free kick. It was headed out by Moutaouakil. Charlton got a free kick in a dangerous position, effectively a short corner just a yard outside the penalty area. Ambrose took it, Zheng Zhi tried to sidefoot it in but got it wrong and Watford had a goal kick.
Watford came forward and won a corner but the delivery by McAnuff was poor, but they managed to win a second corner. Henderson pushed a defender, the referee spotted it and awarded a free kick. Watford were denied their first win since mid-October and Charlton were level on points with Palace, although I am not sure whether goal difference allowed them to occupy their customary 5th place. Charlton had the better chances, but were not always able to take them.
(Charlton remain 6th as their goal difference is +8 compared with +9 for the Glaziers - Wyn).