By Alex Stedman – http://theendofthedayfootball.blogspot.co.uk/
Charlton slipped to their first defeat of the season on Saturday, as Nottingham Forest proved why they will be pushing for promotion this season. The hosts dominated the game for large spells, with Charlton unable to rescue the game late on.
Forest started on the front foot and began moving the ball about quickly and concisely, with the visitors unable to gain a foothold in the opening exchanges. The first chance of the game fell to Forest when Andy Reid’s cutback found Adlene Guedioura, who smashed the ball against the crossbar.
On the balance of play Forest deservedly took the lead shortly afterwards, although the goal could have easily been avoided. After Chris Solly was adjudged to have impeded Simon Cox on the far touchline, Lewis McGugan fizzed in a dangerous set-piece that evaded everyone inside the box. The ball whistled into the far corner and Charlton found themselves 1-0 down.
The onslaught continued and Forest went close to doubling the lead when McGugan’s strike caused the Londoners more problems. The ball took a wicked deflection and sailed narrowly wide – it was another let off for a side that just hadn’t been able to get out of the blocks in the opening period.
Charlton eventually managed their first efforts on goal when Chris Solly’s cross found captain Johnnie Jackson, but his header went wide. Then just before the break Michael Morrison’s towering header was well held by keeper Lee Camp
Tactical changes arrived in the second half, as Danny Haynes was brought on in place of Jordan Cook, as the Addicks searched for a way back into the contest. Bradley Pritchard went close following a throw in from the right, and the Addicks began to build some attacking momentum.
But just as they did so, they were hit with a sucker punch. Sam Hutchinson’s long ball was brought down by Dexter Blackstock, before neatly laying the ball back into the path of the on-rushing right-back, who slotted the ball under Ben Hamer for 2-0.
Two more changes followed as Chris Powell’s side attempted to pull a goal back. Bradley Wright-Phillips and Danny Hollands made way for Salim Kerkar and Ricardo Fuller and it was the latter of the two substitutes who had the most impact on the game.
Yann Kermogant saw his header blocked by Blackstock, before the visitors grabbed themselves a lifeline minutes from the end. Solly’s powerful run down the right allowed him to produce a pinpoint cutback that was met by the head of the impressive Fuller. The Jamaican watched as his header come off the post before being spilled by Lee Camp into the net.
The 1000 strong travelling fans behind the goal were dealt a glimmer of hope, and the game was agonisingly close to being rescued when Fuller out muscled two defenders before sending in an inviting cross. The ball was met by Kerkar but the former Rangers man fluffed his lines as his protests for handball were waved away by the referee.
There was still time for new Forest signing Billy Sharp to go close to opening his account in the dying seconds, but he was thwarted by a combination of Rhoys Wiggins and Chris Solly as the game came to a close.
The late show by the visitors will have given Powell and the fans encouragement for the coming matches. But Forest were simply too good for a spirited Charlton side, and although the defeat brings the Addicks unbeaten run to a close, positives have to be taken from what was another defiant performance.