Saturday, 19 January 2013

Charlton warm hearts on a cold day

It was an unchanged side and a 4-5-1 formation for Charlton at Ewood Park, reports Paul May where it was freezing cold but the pitch looked fine, benefitting from the under soil heating. Blackburn lined up as 4-4-1-1 in front of the crowd of 13,647. The Darwin End set up a chant of ‘We want Venky’s out’, the owners having turned up, intrigued by ‘village side’ Charlton just one place behind Rovers in the table.

Lawrie Wilson was able to track back after Wagstaff gave away the ball cheaply. There were a few loose passes from the Addicks. Evina was looking effective. Wilson kept a Jackson free kick in play, but Blackburn headed the ball out and counter attacked. Morrison anticipated the threat and dealt with it.

Ruchina, playing in the hole, went for goal after a solo run, but his effort was too high. He was a potential threat, however. Vukcevic tried to get a shot away but was distracted by Wagstaff. Rhodes, making his first intervention, was fouled by Taylor in a dangerous position. Murphy took it and Hamer decided to palm the ball away.

It looked as if Wagstaff had won a corner, but the referee gave a goal kick. It was all a bit disjointed, but Blackburn were not able to impose themselves on the game. Kane advanced, but was closed down by the Addicks defence. Rovers won a corner which was taken well but Kazim-Richards headed straight at the well positioned Hamer.

Solly beat Olsson for pace and Stephens took a shot from distance: it was a looping shot and went over the keeper into the top corner to make it 1-0 to the Addicks. Jackson shot at the keeper, there was panic stations in the Rovers defence but the Addicks were unable to take advantage, Wilson failing to make contact.

The home fans didn’t seem to be very happy and there were quite a few groans. As a pass from Murphy was cut out, there were plenty of groans from the home supporters who are do not think he is the answer to their prayers. Murphy looked a bit stressed.

Wilson made a timely defensive tackle. Kazim-Richards put in a cross, but Morrison was in control. Hamer did well to deal with a move from a free kick, but the flag was up anyway. As Murphy intercepted, the charm merchant was booed by the Addickted.

Kermorgant was fouled twice and received a free kick. The Addicks were pressing well and making it difficult for the home side in the middle of the park. The home fans became more restless.

Pritchard was penalised for allegedly shoving Kazim-Richards off the ball. The free kick was headed away well. A Blackburn free kick by Murphy was poor. Stephens put a nice ball through, but the Addicks were crowded out. The home side was booed off.

HT 0-1

Kazim-Richards and Ruchina seemed to have swapped positions. After being quiet all game, Jordan Rhodes, who had not had much service, made use of a good ball from the right to put in a well-directed header past Hamer, who had no chance, to make it 1-1.

Morrison made a very good defensive header. Wagstaff put a great ball in, Pritchard put the ball in and it came off a defender, Stephens put in a shot from inside the penalty area but the ball spun away from goal.

Solly was having a bit of a battle with Ruchina. Murphy needed some treatment after a knock in the face. Kazim-Richards put in a snap shot from 20 yards out. Hamer had to dive to the left and put the ball round the post for a corner which was poor.

Dann nearly put the ball in his own net. The corner was a good one and led to a second. This time Jackson’s effort was poor. Jackson kept the attack alive, he fed Pritchard who looped the ball over the defence and Kermorgant headed into the back of the net to make it 1-2.

The boos started up again. Hamer was beaten, but Kazim-Richards at the back post put the ball into the side netting. The home fans started chanting ‘There’s only one Jack Walker’, recalling when Blackburn won the Premiership title. From steel to chickens.

Blackburn brought on Pedersen for Vukcevic. Ruchina, who had faded, was taken off and Gomes came on. Wagstaff was taken off and replaced by Dervitte to take on a defensive midfield role, man marking Gomes. Pritchard moved out to the left.

Home supporters were streaming out. Three minutes were added on. Blackburn applied some late pressure. Solly fired away a ball that came into the six yard box. The Blackburn corner was unproductive. Dervitte sliced a clearance for a corner. Hamer pushed the ball away, the danger was not cleared, but the shot that came in was way over the top. Harriott replaced Wilson. He put a low shot in but it was dealt with comfortably by the keeper.

The final whistle was sounded and the boos ran out except among the Addickted who made the trek north. Charlton had won at three northern B’s: Blackpool, Burnley and Blackburn.

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