Monday, April 09, 2007

Clean sheet, no goals, one point

Alan Pardew made fewer changes than expected for the match against Reading, reports Erith Addick Paul May from The Valley. Darren Ambrose returned at the expense of Amdy Faye in midfield (Zheng Zhi moving into a more central role) with Ben Thatcher being confined to the bench. Some fans would like to have seen him back, but Alan Pardew decided to stick with the defence that has had a series of clean sheets. The home defeat of faltering Fulham gave some hope to the Addickted, whilst at least Wigan did not win at Villa. One worrying feature was the presence of the Thing from Tring, Graham Poll, as referee.

Lita tried to get in an early shot, making use of a ball from Harper on the wing, but Diawara defended well and won a free kick for the Addicks. El Karkouri put in a hard tackle on Hunt. Lita tried to put in a shot and it went high over Scott Carson's bar.

Charlton won a free kick down by the corner flag against Hunt, Poll over ruling his assistant who had gone for a throw in. The free header from El Karkouri from six yards hit the crossbar (he should have headed it down) and bounced on the line, Hanhemann in the Reading goal gathering. At the other end, the Royals won a corner.

Song did well to take the ball away from the Reading midfield. The Herminator put in a long throw, Bikey put his keeper under pressure and Hahnemann had to punch the ball out. Song won a free kick after dealing with the attentions of three Reading players.

Lita gave his opinions to Graham Poll, never a smart move, and was told to shut up and had a free kick awarded against him. Bent was pushed over in the centre circle and the Addicks got a free kick. El Karkouri's free kick found the Herminator's head, but there was no one there to take advantage of his downward header and Bikey was able to clear.

Song made a vigorous challenge on Sidwell and was shown the yellow card. Sidwell marched up to Song and almost grabbed him.

Charlton made a break with a good run forward by Ambrose, with Zheng Zhi also bursting forward, but Hahnemann was fortunate in being able to gather. A free kick by Shorey was awful and Carson was able to put the ball down field to launch a Charlton attack. This one failed, but Charlton tried again. Then it was Reading's turn to come forward in this end to end match between two sides that looked evenly managed.

Bikey shoved over Darren Bent at the expense of a Charlton free kick. Good movement from a throw in gave the ball to Luke Young in the penalty area, but it came off his left foot and Hahnemann in the Reading goal was able to take the ball.

Marcus Bent sent in a good cross but Bikey was able to head it away. Reading launched an attack, Ki-Hyeon put in a shot, but Carson parried the ball in a super save. Hreidarsson had to go off down the tunnel injured and Ben Thatcher came off the bench to replace him.

Reading threatened again, but the Charlton defence was eventually able to clear. Ambrose was caught in possession, but El Karkouri put in a great tackle on Lita at the expense of a Reading corner which was eventually cleared.

Marcus Bent had to come off with a recurrence of his hamstring trouble and Matt Holland came on in a second substitution for the Addicks with Zheng Zhi moving up to assist Darren Bent.

Thomas broke away effectively for the first time in the game and had a couple of chances but it didn't work out for him to his evident disappointment. Darren Bent put a good ball forward but both Matt Holland and Darren Ambrose managed to fall over.

Thomas broke away on the wing again, but then managed to lose his footing. Reading won their third corner of the game. Sidwell headed Hunt's corner towards goal and Carson tipped it over. The second corner ended in a Charlton free kick.

Darren Bent made a good lay off to Zheng Zhi, but the Chinese captain's finish was disappointing. Darren Ambrose forged forward, Ingimarsson defended, Thomas got the ball but Hahnemann was able to collect it. In time added on, Darren Bent raced forward, but Hahnemann made sure he got the ball. Diawara made a good tackle on Lita on the edge of the Charlton penalty area.

The half time score reflected the balance of the game and the relative lack of chances.

Half time: Addicks 0, Royals 0

Reading got a free kick about 25 yards out, Charlton lined up a five man wall, it was deflected over the crossbar for another Reading corner. A Hunt cross was grabbed by Carson. Charlton broke with a fantastic run by Zheng Zhi, Darren Bent sent the ball wide.

El Karkouri nearly got into danger, Charlton broke again, but Hahnemann was able to make the save as the crowd responded to the energy surging through Charlton. But then Reading advanced from inside Charlton's half and Shorey's effort was not too far wide.

Song tripped Sidwell again and Poll advised the loan player to calm down. Reading won yet another corner. Hunt advanced and went down under a fair tackle from Holland. Charlton surged down the other end, but it only resulted in a throw in near the corner flag.

Diawara was able to prevent Long having a shot. Charlton were having difficulty clearing their lines and Sidwell put in an effort that was just wide. A cross just missed Zheng Zhi and Charlton won a corner. It was punched away by the Royals keeper. Bent went down when he ran into Sidwell.

Song did well, but the flag went up against Bent. Luke Young made a great tackle and raced forward, but Long tracked back with him. Lita went down on the edge of the box and Poll awarded the free kick. Carson gathered well.

Ambrose put in a great ball with Bent through on goal but Hahnemann came off his line to put it into touch with the halfway point in the half reached. Super Kevin Lisbie was readied to come on for the Addicks in place of Song who was in real danger of being sent off.

Reading won a corner, Diawara clearing. Reading threatened again and El Karkouri had to head over the bar. Ambrose had to clear at the expense of a second corner but this time Carson got hold of the ball well.

Lisbie fed Thomas well on the left, but he couldn't find Bent whose positioning was not ideal. Reading advanced on the left, but Diawara cleared again. El Karkouri took a smack in the face from Lita and went down injured. Diawara tackled Hunt who went down. Sidwell put in an effort from 30 yards that was well wide. A Sidwell header was claimed by Carson who was under pressure from Lita.

The game entered the last ten minutes of normal time. Diawara made an unusually poor clearance to give Reading another corner. Lisbie caught Harper by surprise and won the ball.

De la Cruz turned provider for Hunt but his header went past Carson's left hand post.
The Valley had become subdued as the nerves of the Addickted showed. After an error by Holland, Reading came forward, to produce yet another corner for the Royals, although they seemed to be able to make little of them, although this one was followed by some frantic play. After a poor shot by Lita at Carson, Charlton went on the attack. But Reading got back quickly.

Ambrose put in a fierce shot, but it was straight at the keeper. Three minutes of time were added on. Charlton have a habit of leaving it late recently, but this was very late. The offside flag went up against Darren Bent who had been less than his best. From about seven yards out, Zheng Zhi had a chance from a good ball from Luke Young but his header was straight at the keeper.

One win, one defeat over Easter would have been better than two goalless draws. Charlton are not in the relegation places, but are still in great danger.


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