By Alex Stedman – http://theendofthedayfootball.blogspot.co.uk/
Charlton came away from Portman Road with all three points on Saturday as they heaped more misery on a struggling Ipswich side. The win was the Londoners second of the season, and the perfect way to get back on track after three straight defeats.
Both teams went close early on, first Bradley Wright-Phillips shot wide after a header down from Leon Cort and then former Addick Lee Martin pulled the ball back for Jason Scotland who failed to find the target.
Charlton continued to put the Tractor Boys under pressure, and Salim Kerkar was inches away from connecting with a Lawrie Wilson cross. The former Stevenage man was involved again minutes later, as he exchanged passes with Danny Green down the right, before the latter fired into the side netting.
Ricardo Fuller earned himself a starting place after three impressive appearances from the bench in recent weeks, and he showed a touch of class as the powerful front-man surged past Luke Chambers to cut the ball back for strike partner Wright-Phillips, but his shot was blocked after he was closed down by the home defence.
Charlton went close again before the game reached the 30 minute mark, as Johnnie Jackson’s dangerous corner was well met by Cort, but the towering defender could only watch as his effort flew into the side netting.
Frustration was beginning to grow for the visitors, as they went close again when Dale Stephens collected the ball 20 yards out and unleashed a powerful drive towards goal, but he was foiled by Scott Loach to keep the scores level at the interval.
The Addicks started the second half how they’d ended the first – on the front foot, and got what they deserved. Danny Green whipped in a superb cross from the right, and after Wright-Phillips narrowly missed out on connecting with the ball, Kerkar was on-hand to knock it back into the path of Jackson who made no mistake in firing the ball into the roof of the net.
Before the home side had time to re-group, the visitors had doubled their advantage. The impressive Fuller showed outstanding strength to dispossess Massimo Luongo on the halfway line, and embarked on a powerful run before dispatching the ball past a despairing Loach for 2-0.
Just as it seemed the Addicks luck had turned after recent weeks, Ipswich dealt them a sucker punch as Jason Scotland’s effort took a deflection off Michael Morrison to bring the Suffolk side back into the game. The striker wasn’t closed down by the Charlton defence and he was given too much time to line up the shot.
The away side had to dig deep as the half wore on to preserve their lead. First a combination of Wilson and Cort thwarted Nathan Ellington and Jason Scotland respectively, before Ellington then saw his curling effort sail agonisingly over as the pressure began to mount.
As Ipswich pushed forwards, their opponents sensed an opportunity to land the killer goal on the break. After good work from Wright-Phillips to fend off his defender, he fed the ball to substitute Bradley Pritchard, who moved the ball on well to the on-rushing Stephens in the middle, but the midfielder fired straight at Loach who did well to block the shot.
As the game entered injury time Ellington hoisted a chance over the bar, before a last gasp free-kick from Andy Drury was wasted – and Charlton had won.
The win demonstrates the outstanding character and spirit amongst the squad. There was a real sense of togetherness in what is sure to be a morale boosting performance. Manager Chris Powell will be hoping that his side can now push on from here, as they entertain Steve Kean’s Blackburn at the Valley next weekend.