since 1878

Charlton Athletic (3) 3 - 1 (0) Ipswich Town

Coca-Cola Championship 2007-08

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Referee: Neil Swarbrick

Manager: Alan Pardew

The Valley 15:00

Attendance: 24,680

Manager: Jim Magilton

Match Number: 3230


 Ambrose (5)
 Iwelumo (30)
 Ambrose (39)
 Pablo Counago (70)


SamSemedo (72)
ReidVarney (83)
PowellBougherra (87)


 Fortune (76)
 Mills (85)
 Fortune (90)
 Jason DeVos (57)
 Alan Lee (90)
 David Wright (90)





















Match Report

Ambrose's spark sets the home fires burning

Travel sick Ipswich allow Charlton to halt Valley decline

When you have lost four of your last five home matches, Ipswich are just the visitors you want to welcome. Charlton, whose promotion campaign had stuttered at the Valley in recent weeks, restored their confidence yesterday by sweeping aside opponents who have now taken just four points from their 11 away matches this season.

Ipswich were struck by a flu bug in the week, though the manner of their second-half revival, compared with a pitiful first-half display, suggested that their problems were in the mind rather than the body. Jim Magilton's team have played some sparkling football at Portman Road, where they have dropped only two points, but the way they conceded three goals in the first 39 minutes here was evidence of a chronic lack of confidence on their travels.

Magilton, who made his first substitution at 2-0, described the first-half performance as embarrassing and unacceptable. "If we had had six substitutes and I'd been allowed to use them all, I would have done so," he said.

However, credit had to go to Charlton, whose start gave no indication of their own recent problems. Matt Holland and Andy Reid took immediate command of the midfield, while Darren Ambrose and Chris Iwelumo were always a threat in attack.

Alan Pardew's team went in front with a beautifully constructed goal after less than five minutes. Lloyd Sam fed the overlapping Holland and the veteran midfielder delivered a perfect cross to the far post, where Ambrose, playing against his former club, headed his first goal of the season. Iwelumo scored his eighth of the campaign 25 minutes later, the ball bouncing off the striker's shoulder and over the line after Neil Alexander failed to gather Reid's inswinging corner.

Magilton responded by replacing Gavin Williams, his holding midfielder, with a striker, Pablo Counago, but within three minutes his team had conceded another goal. Reid, cleverly controlling the ball on the edge of the penalty area, rolled it back to Ambrose, who buried a sweetly struck shot from 25 yards into the corner of the net. No wonder Ipswich left the field at half-time to chants, from their own fans, of "what a load of rubbish".

However, Magilton made another positive substitution at the break, Danny Haynes replacing Dan Harding, and Ipswich immediately looked a different team. Haynes' ability to run with the ball added a new dimension and within three minutes Charlton had conceded a penalty, Neil Swarbrick, the referee, spotting a handball in a crowded box.

Nicky Weaver's save from Alan Lee's poorly struck kick would have deflated most teams, but Ipswich continued to pour forward. Haynes headed against the crossbar and although Holland hit a post at the other end Ipswich sensed they could still make a game of it. After 69 minutes Jon Walters and Lee set up Counago, who brilliantly backheeled the ball into the net from eight yards.

Although Charlton weathered the storm, their afternoon ended in ignominy when Jonathan Fortune was shown a red card after clashing with Lee off the ball. Pardew said he would fine his defender but hoped the incident would not detract from his side's performance. "It was a terrific game," he said. "We were really good in the first half. Not many teams would have matched us in that period."

Paul Newman (The Independent)

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