Addicks bounce back to see off Ipswich.
Charlton responded to two disappointing results with a welcome win over Ipswich at Portman road. Maiden league goals for the club from academy graduate Albie Morgan and summer signing Omar Bogle did the damage to Ipswich, turning up the heat on under-pressure manager Paul Lambert.
Both clubs were humbled by heavy defeats in midweek, which perhaps explained the cautious start made by both sides, as the first 15 minutes passed with little incident. It was the home side who had the first real sight of goal. A long ball downfield saw James Norwood win a trial of strength with Chris Gunter to break clear, but the tireless striker could only toe the bouncing ball over the bar on the stretch.
Defences struggling with longer balls forward was a theme of the first half and it was through this route that Charlton forged their first opening after 18 minutes, with the recalled Chucks Aneke providing a valuable aerial target for the visitors. His flick-on from a long ball was anticipated by Jonny Williams, but just as he looked to be in on goal, Toto Nsiala recovered to make a vital last-ditch challenge.
This sparked a good spell for the Addicks, and just minutes later Aneke broke through on the right and held off his man, but went for an optimistic effort from a tight angle when he might have tried to square for the unmarked Paul Smyth.
But soon after, Charlton did make the breakthrough. Again Aneke was central to it. His excellent tackle won back possession for the Londoners on the right-hand side. He shifted the ball infield to Shinnie who drove into the box and, via a deflection, pulled the ball back to the arriving Albie Morgan who smashed the ball home clinically for his first league goal for the club.
Charlton looked to strike while the iron was hot, threatening again as Smyth was released into the inside left channel, but he elected to check back onto his right foot which allowed the retreating Ipswich defence to get back and block the shot.
As the game ticked over the half-hour mark, Town managed to wrestle back some semblance of control of the game and finished the half encouragingly. A good free-kick from the right was flicked goalwards at the near post, forcing Ben Amos into a good save.
Then, as Darren Pratley tried to usher a long ball out for a goal kick, James Norwood managed to rob him and tee up Alan Judge, but he blazed the shot wildly over the bar to ensure the away side held the lead at the break.
Half time: Ipswich 0-1 Charlton
Lambert would have wanted his side to build on the bright end to the first period, but Ipswich were unable to muster much of a response to their predicament. Charlton had a couple of early counter-attacks whose potential was not maximised, but the second half otherwise ticked on with barely an incident to speak of, not helped by a handful of injury stoppages. The visitors came closest as a fine right-wing burst and cross from Morgan found Smyth at the back post, but he couldn’t connect properly with his volley.
With just over 20 minutes to go, Charlton doubled their lead out of the blue. A long throw was only half-cleared to Pratley, who drilled the ball dangerously back into the six-yard box. Omar Bogle, who had been the fall guy in midweek, hooked after half an hour, was waiting at the far post to tap in with his first touch after coming on as a substitute, for his first Charlton goal.
The away side were happy to retreat into their own half after that in a flat 4-5-1, content to let Ipswich have the ball and try to penetrate a low block. Though the Suffolk side probed, they were unable to conjure any meaningful openings, and Charlton held on comfortably to get their promotion bid firmly back on track.
Final Score: Ipswich Town 0-2 Charlton Athletic
There was not much in the game. Chances were at a premium and the first goal was always likely to be important between two sides who have yet to really click going forward. Once they had the lead, Charlton managed the game well and rarely looked troubled by a rather toothless Ipswich side. Though the Addicks would have wanted to make more of the attacks they did have, they saw out the game comfortably and were worthy winners.
Man of the Match: Ben Watson
The signing of Ben Watson was considered a bit of a coup for the club considering the FA cup winner’s excellent performances in the Championship last term, and the veteran midfielder demonstrated his experience and quality at Portman Road. Sitting in front of the back four, Watson snuffed out attacks and was always available for a pass. With the ball, his distribution was unfussy yet positive, with some excellent line-breaking passes.
Pratley, Shinnie, and Morgan also stood out for Charlton, whilst Woolfenden and Chambers looked assured for the home side.