Match report: Charlton Athletic 2 Leeds United 1

editorial image
0
Have your say

GOALS in the final fifteen minutes from Tony Watt and Yoni Buyens gave Charlton Athletic a fortituous 2-1 success over Leeds United - on a day when the travelling Whites support voiced their anger towards owner Massimo Cellino.

A first goal in 25 months in Leeds colours from Steve Morison gave United the lead on 40 minutes, three minutes after Billy Sharp saw his penalty saved by Stephen Henderson.

Buyens was not so wasteful from the spot ten minutes from time to win the game for Charlton after Stuart Taylor was penalised for a foul on Igor Vetokele.

Buyens’ eighth successful spot-kick of the campaign arrived five minutes after Watt volleyed the Addicks level, with the hosts inflicting a fifth successive defeat on Leeds for the first time in just over 12 months.

Leeds were the better side for the majority of the encounter, but the 3,140 away fans, in raucous voice all afternoon, were left to contemplate another defeat on a day when a barrage of anti-Cellino songs made an appearance in the Jimmy Seed Stand.

Chants of We Want Our Club Back and Sell the Club and **** off home and Massimo, Time to Go were among chants which arrived from the packed away end.

Fans also voiced their support from head coach Neil Redfearn at regular intervals.

Leeds were good value for their interval lead, which would have been more emphatic if they had not spurned a 37th-minute penalty.

Sharp took responsibility after Buyens brought down Sam Byram in the box and saw his steered effort parried impressively onto the post by Henderson, who guessed right and made an excellent save after flinging himself to his left.

Fortunately, Sharp’s blushes were spared not too long after with Morison ending his epic scoreless run with a sweet finish following Murphy’s corner on the left.

The ball fell to him in the 18-yard box and his finish was too powerful for Henderson, who could not keep out his angled shot on 40 minutes.

It was Morison’s first goal for Leeds since netting in the 2-2 draw across South London at Crystal Palace in March 2013.

A quiet start was perhaps only noteworthy for an airing of various songs against owner Cellino from the packed away end, sung in defiance and with regularity.

The main talking point ahead of the game was the decision by six United players - Marco Silvestri, Giuseppe Bellusci, Mirco Antenucci, Souleymane Doukara, Edgar Cani and Dario Del Fabro - to inform head coach Redfearn that they were unfit and unable to feature at The Valley.

The absence of Silvestri, with a back problem, resulted in Redfearn handing a debut to Stuart Taylor, making his first league start in almost two years since May 2013.

Rudy Austin also returned to the starting line-up in place of Granddi Ngoyi, who dropped to the bench, with Morison also handed a start alongside Sharp up front with United fielding a 4-4-2 formation.

Austin fired an early sighter off target before at the other end, Igor Ventokele found Frederick Bulot on the left and his low cross-shot flashed across the face of goal.

Vetokele then headed wide before the Addicks were forced to make an early change on 11 minutes when Alou Diarra, struggling with a knock was replaced by Jordan Cousins.

It was Cousins who felled Austin to give Leeds a dangerous free-kick opportunity, but the Jamaican saw his strike cannon into the wall.

Leeds then spurned a good chance to draw first blood on 22 minutes when Alex Mowatt’s well-delivered cross was flicked on by Morison and Murphy arrived right on cue in the box, but saw his volley fly wide.

Soon after, Morison almost punished a slow cleanrace from Henderson, with his chargedown veering wide before Henderson gathered a Murphy long-ranger.

It was proving a probing spell from Leeds and just before the half-hour, the Whites manfactured another good chance with Byram’s cross finding Sharp unmarked in the box, but his header from six yards out flew just over with plenty of the goal to aim at.

At the other end, Leeds were given a real scare when Taylor punched a corner clear with Tal Ben Haim’s follow-up from distance diverted against the post by the outstretched leg of Vetokele.

Leeds then spurned a golden opportunity to take the lead from the spot after neat play ended with Sharp supplying Byram, who was haring into the box, only to be unceremoniously brought down by Buyens for a clear penalty.

But Sharp see his effort splendidly saved, only for Morison to bail him out to a degree with his strike five minutes before the break.

Charlton - who received a few boos at the half-time whistle - made an interval change with 11-goal top-scorer Johann Berg Gudmundsson replacing Chris Eagles.

The hosts showed a bit more purpose without truly being convincing in the early sparrings of the second half, with Vetokele off target before Morgan Fox’s dangerous left-wing cross just evaded Bulot.

At the other end, Mowatt fired a curler harmlessly over as Leeds sought a killer second before Austin’s low shot was held by Henderson.

Charlton were struggling to carve open Leeds, but found a way through on 69 minutes with Taylor making a tidy save to turn away Buyens’ precision shot in a rare cameo of danger from the Addicks.

The game was showing signs of petering out from a home perspective, but redemption was at hand on 75 minutes.

The ball was played out to Gudmundsson on the right and his centre was latched onto at the far post by Watt, whose run wasn’t tracked and he coolly steered a low volley past Taylor.

Five minutes later, the Addicks were awarded a penalty with Stuart Taylor the guilty party.

The keeper parried Gudmundsson’s shot and was slow to react to the rebound, with Vetokele about to latch onto the loose ball, only to be brought down by the United keeper.

Referee Tony Harrington showed no hesistation in pointing to the spot and Buyens coolly converted, seeing Taylor the wrong way.

United couldn’t manufacture, with their best moment seeing Austin’s deflected shot turned away by Henderson.

Charlton Athletic: Henderson, Solly, Fox, Gomez, Ben Haim, Eagles (Gudmundsson 45), Buyens, Diarra (Cousins 11), Bulot, Vetokele (Church 90), Watt. Substitutes unused: Etheridge, Wiggins, Church, Johnson, Lepoint.

Leeds United: S Taylor, Wootton, Bamba, Cooper, C Taylor, Byram (Dawson 89), Murphy, Austin, Mowatt, Sharp (Montenegro 85), Morison. Substitutes unused: Cairns, Berardi, Phillips, Ngoyi, Sloth.

Referee: T Harrington (Cleveland).

Attendance: 18,053 (3,140 Leeds fans).

Leeds United goalkeeper, Felix Wiedwald.

Phil Hay – Inside Elland Road: Getting the basics right still vital for Leeds United’s Felix Wiedwald