Chris Powell faced a test of his managerial skills after Charlton suffered their fourth defeat in a row, going down 1-3 at The Valley to Carlisle United, their second successive home defeat by this scoreline.
Kyel Reid and Scott Wagstaff started on the wings for Charlton at a bitterly cold Valley tonight reports Philippa Nicholson. With Anyinsah sidelined because of a training ground niggle, Eccleston and Wright-Phillips started up front.
Carlisle managed to snuff out the early attempts by Charlton. On 9 minutes Eccleston provided the assist for Wright-Phillips who provided a clinical finish to put the Addicks 1-0 ahead. Francis advanced down the right and his low cross was put behind for a corner. Reid’s corner was not initially cleared.
Carlisle won their first corner after 12 minutes off a block by Francis. A shot from Noble was blocked and eventually Francis was fouled to give the Addicks a free kick.
Reid laid off the ball to Jenkinson creating a good chance but the youngster blasted into Finn air.
Reid and Jenkinson provided good overlapping play, but Carlisle counter attacked. A throw in was cleared by Dailly, but Francis made a mess of his clearance. Carlisle won a dubious free kick off Semedo some 25 yards out. Amid some jostling, Murphy went to ground dramatically in the box, but the free kick was unproductive.
Carlisle won another free kick, but it was gathered very well by Elliot with two Carlisle players around him. Wagstaff was dispossessed and stayed down as Carlisle counter attacked. They advanced again through the middle of the pitch and Marshall put the ball beyond Elliot who was wrong footed by a deflection to make it 1-1.
Carlisle continued to dominate. As Reid advanced down the left wing he was fouled and the Carlisle right back received a yellow card. Reid’s free kick was plucked out of the air by the keeper. A cross by Marshall with the Charlton defence caught out was headed towards Elliot by Noble. Once again the defence was caught out as Doherty laid off the ball and no one picked up. Fortunately, it went through to Elliot. The Addickted were getting restless.
Reid and Jenkinson applied some pressure. Wagstaff had a half chance in the box, but he didn’t get hold of it. Carlisle counter attacked, but Elliot gathered comfortably. Doherty was feeling his hamstring and the physio was allowed on. Fortune came on in Doherty’s place on 41 minutes.
Carlisle won a corner. There was a real scramble and it was bundled behind for a second corner. Wagstaff headed it away and Charlton won a throw in. Charlton attacked, but the cross from Francis was too close to the keeper.
Three minutes were added on. Carlisle won a free kick 30 yards out which hit the wall and gave the visitors another corner. Murphy’s header was tipped over the bar by Elliot who punched away the second corner.
Half time: Addicks 1, Carlisle 1
Jenkinson put in a cross and Racon tried to shoot but there was a line of blue shirts in the way. Reid put in a good cross, but the sting was taken out of Eccleston’s shot and the keeper gathered. The unmarked Curran had a chance, but Elliot pushed the ball away. Charlton counter attacked.
The play was end to end as both sides looked for the goal that would put them in the lead. Reid put the ball way over the bar. Carlisle won a corner after Charlton surrendered possession. It was headed off the line by Racon but Charlton were given a free kick anyway.
Fortune conceded another corner but Elliot should have taken the initiative. Reid advanced well in a good counter attack and put in an early cross. Wright-Phillips put in a good volley but it was blocked more through luck than judgement.
Wagstaff went down under a challenge from Murphy who just got a talking to from the referee. A block from Francis led to another Carlisle corner. It was punched away, there was a real scramble and Curran got it in to make it 1-2, the ball trickling under Elliot’s body.
Marshall made an attempt from 20 yards out and Elliot had to go to full stretch to put it round the post. Carlisle won a second corner, their tenth of the game. Eventually Elliot was able to gather.
Wagstaff was brought down just outside the area, giving Charlton a free kick in a promising position. The ball went into the far post, the one area where there were no red shirts. Charlton kept up the pressure and won their second corner of the game. Somehow the ball found a blue shirt. The ball went into the box and found a blue shirt again. A free kick was taken quickly and Reid’s effort led to another corner.
Paul Benson was brought on and Eccleston came off. Reid broke forward, Jenkinson put in a cross, but Carlisle were able to clear. Marshall’s shot was pushed away by Elliot but not convincingly and Lloyd was able to score in the top corner to make it 1-3. The Addickted started to leave in numbers.
Wagstaff’s cross was too far in front of Benson and the ball was snatched out of the air. Charlton won a corner. It was headed away and a cross from Francis failed to find a Charlton player. Our set pieces had been poor all evening.
Benson nearly met a good cross from Reid at the far post. A Racon effort was deflected and led to a corner. Wright-Phillips headed over the top. Curran shot from long range and nearly made it four, but Elliot just managed to push it away.
After the Carlisle equaliser the confidence drained out of the team. There was no lack of effort, but there was a lack of skill. Once again Charlton showed themselves vulnerable at set pieces.