Charlton Athletic 2 Birmingham City 0
Addicks: Myhre, Young, Fortune, Hreidarsson, Powell, Rommedahl (Ambrose 72), Kishishev (Lisbie 82), Holland, Hughes, Bartlett, Bent.
Subs Not Used: Kiely, Perry, Spector.
Goals: Hughes 29, Bent 90.
Blues: Maik Taylor, Melchiot, Cunningham (Forssell 76), Upson, Lazaridis, Pennant, Izzet, Johnson, Jarosik (Dunn 76), Sutton, Heskey.
Subs Not Used: Vaesen, Kilkenny, Gray.
Ref: G Poll (Hertfordshire).
In spite of having their injured men back and dominating the game from first to last Blues crashed again. The 2-0 reverse was an injustice, but as long as they can?t find the net this will keep happening and Blues will be relegated.
Attention was on the new man Chris Sutton wearing the number 40 and he made a good impression taking up the role filled by Heskey. Sutton won a number of headers with Heskey running on to them.
Sutton headed Hreidarsson in the side of the head on 6 minutes and both required treatment. Immediately the Heskey-Sutton duo combined to set up Jarosik who fired wide. They repeated the trick seconds later and this time Jarosik went close to Myhre right hand post.
Blues were totally dominant and Jarosik latched onto a weak header from Charlton?s pressurised defence but again the Czech?s volley was saved.
On the half hour a free kick for offside gave Charlton the first opportunity to venture into Blues? half. The kick unnecessarily headed out for a corner. From the corner Hughes headed in unmarked. First attack one goal. Hughes left Blues because Steve Bruce thought that he had better players. Hughes scored goals for Blues and wasn?t considered good enough. Embarrassing doesn?t really do the situation justice.
After the rude interruption of a goal Blues returned to attacking the Londoners but although the game was one way traffic, Charlton managed to protect former Blues keeper Thomas Myhre such that Blues? pressure was not resulting in shots on goal.
Second half saw Blues dominated with little to show for it. In the 57th minute Blues at last opened up the opposition when Sutton?s deft flick on left Heskey 10 yards out with just the goalie to beat. His shot was not even a back pass. Instead of a net buster Heskey rolled it. It was an absolute shocker. If the big man is going to play off Sutton then he is going to get plenty of goal scoring chances. He must now start doing what we bought him for eighteen months ago.
Three minutes later another Blues move on the edge of the box saw Izzet flattened with the goal in his sight. A free kick and a yellow card were deemed suitable punishment. (See the Vitalfootball?s exclusive Ref?s Review for a run down of Mr Poll?s performance)
On 70 minutes Blues substituted Dunn and Forssell for Jarosik and Cunningham. Blues left themselves open and Charlton almost extended their lead as Taylor made his first save to thwart Ambrose.
Still Blues piled on the pressure and Sutton put Forssell in on the left but his crisp shot went wide. The two centre forwards combined again as the Finn?s deft flick gave Sutton an opening. Sutton shot firmly but Myhre saved.
On the stroke of time and the home side still under siege Hughes hacked a clearance forward. The pace of Bent who ran past Melchiot and beat Taylor easily, undid Blues who were hopelessly exposed. More irony for Bruce as Bent, plucked from Championship Ipswich for a million pounds scored his second goal against us this season. One chance one goal. His goal scoring record so far dwarfs the combined efforts of Heskey, Pandiani, Forssell, and Sutton.
Unless the returning troops stiffen up overnight there appears to be no injury problems. Having rested them last week for today?s crucial encounter there may be changes for Tuesday. What an opportunity to get his shot shy front men the chance to find the net a few times. The defence could also do with the boost of a clean sheet.
Charlton Ath.. 2 Birmingham City 0
Charlton Athletic 2 Birmingham City 0