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The Keepmoat Stadium (ATT 10,483) 16th September 2008 - Kick off 19:45 Ref: N Miller

Doncaster Doncaster Rovers vs Charlton Athletic Charlton

Gray seals Addicks success

Rovers fail to make pressure count

Last Updated: 16/09/08 10:45pm

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Gray: Struck early

Gray: Struck early

Charlton brought their recent poor form to an end with a 1-0 win away at Doncaster.

Alan Pardew's side had tasted defeat in each of their last two Championship fixtures, but took all three points at The Keepmoat Stadium thanks to Andy Gray's early strike.

Doncaster dominated for large periods of the contest and manager Sean O'Driscoll will be left to contemplate how his side have taken nothing from the game.

Despite Saturday's 3-1 reverse against Wolves, Pardew kept faith with the same starting 11 and he was rewarded for his persistence with the opening goal on three minutes.

There appeared to be little danger when Jonathan Fortune floated a hopeful free-kick long into the box, only for Gray to take everyone by surprise with an innocuous flick header that looped over Neil Sullivan and into the net.

Even at that early stage the goal came against the run of play, as Doncaster had nearly gone ahead in the opening minute when Nicky Weaver pushed James Hayter's drive into the path of Lewis Guy who would have scored on the rebound were it not for Martin Cranie's fine block.

Luke Varney almost followed up Gray's effort with a second for the visitors moments later with a long-range effort that crept narrowly over the bar, but beyond that Doncaster controlled proceedings until the half-time interval and for most of the game.


Despite Gray and Lloyd Sam always looking lively for Charlton on the break, Doncaster remained the most industrious of the two sides and registered more than enough efforts on goal, even though they were often void of any real conviction.

Brian Stock and Hayter both saw efforts mopped up by Weaver, while their best chance of levelling matters before the whistle came when Hayter saw his close-range header inadvertently blocked by Guy.

The home side, though, remained unable to find a way through Charlton's resolute defensive pairing of Fortune and Mark Hudson.

Instead they had to resort to threading balls around the pair, although when they did finally get the better of them Gareth Taylor seemingly had too much time when he found himself one-on-one with Weaver and could only slip his effort wide.

With Doncaster's need to attack now greater, they began to increase the pressure on Weaver's goal with both Taylor and Hayter causing havoc with headers amid a flurry of home corners.

Taylor failed to find the target with a stabbed effort, whilst Sam gave the hosts a reminder of the danger Charlton posed on the break with a cross-cum-shot that sped across Sullivan's goal.

With O'Driscoll throwing on Darren Byfield and Stuart Elliott for some added firepower, Doncaster continued to pour forward but ultimately they ran out of ideas, allowing Charlton to cling on.

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Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bournemouth 39 73
2 Watford 39 72
3 Middlesbrough 39 72
4 Norwich City 39 70
5 Derby County 39 67
6 Ipswich Town 39 67
7 Brentford 39 66
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 39 65
9 Nottingham Forest 39 57
10 Blackburn Rovers 39 54
11 Charlton Athletic 39 54
12 Sheffield Wednesday 39 53
13 Leeds United 39 52
14 Cardiff City 39 51
15 Birmingham City 38 47
16 Brighton and Hove Albion 39 45
17 Bolton Wanderers 39 45
18 Huddersfield Town 39 44
19 Reading 38 44
20 Fulham 39 43
21 Rotherham United 39 40
22 Wigan Athletic 39 35
23 Millwall 39 33
24 Blackpool 39 23