Addicks overcome Cottagers
By Peter ORourke. Last Updated: 20/12/04 6:05pm
Charlton climbed up to seventh spot in The Premiership after a deserved 2-1 win over London rivals Fulham at The Valley on Monday night.
Goals from Jerome Thomas and Talal El Karkouri were enough to give Charlton their third successive victory, although they were made to sweat for the win after substitute Tomasz Radzinski had pulled a goal back late on for The Cottagers.
Charlton started in the ascendancy and had early claims for a penalty rejected when Danny Murphy's cross appeared to strike the arm of Fulham defender Carlos Bocanegra.
Fulham goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar had a lucky escape on seven minutes when he dropped a cross under pressure from Hermann Hreidarsson and was relieved to see Ian Pearce back to clear the danger.
Andy Cole thought he had given Fulham the lead on 16 minutes when he slotted the ball past Dean Kiely, but the goal was ruled out for offside.
Charlton had the first noteworthy chance of the contest a minute later when Talal El Karkouri rose highest to power Murphy's corner goalwards, but van der Sar was down quickly to save his effort.
The home side broke the deadlock on 27 minutes when Thomas sweeped home his second goal of the season.
Shaun Bartlett was the creator of the goal with a cross from the right which both Papa Bouba Diop and Liam Rosenior could not cut out and Thomas superbly controlled the ball before dispatching it past van der Sar.
Fulham responded quickly and Sylvain Legwinski forced Kiely into a good save with a fine swerving shot from fully 25 yards.
Charlton had a half chance to double their lead two minutes before the break when Hreidarsson headed Murphy's corner down into the path of Jonathan Fortune, but the defender could not get his shot on target after being put under pressure by Cole.
The home side continued to call the tune in the second half and El Karkouri struck the woodwork on 51 minutes when he got on the end of Hreidarsson's knock-down inside the box.
Murphy was unlucky not to double Charlton's advantage just past the hour mark when he weaved his way inside the box and hit a sublime curling shot which bounced off the far post.
Young defender Liam Rosenior tried to lift his Fulham team-mates on 64 minutes with a driving run to the edge of the box, but his shot lacked the necessary power to trouble Kiely.
Charlton gave themselves a two-goal cushion on 66 minutes when El Karkouri converted Murphy's inviting free kick with a powerful header, which although van der Sar got a hand to, he could not keep out of the net.
Cole missed the chance to drag Fulham back into the game 13 minutes from time when he robbed the ball from Hreidarsson inside the box to leave him with a clear sight of goal, but he drove his shot into the near side-netting.
Fulham came close to pulling a goal back on 80 minutes when Bouba Diop saw his fierce free kick right on the edge of the box clip off the top of the crossbar.
The visitors gave themselves hope two minutes later when substitute Radzinski netted from close-range after Murphy had initially cleared Brian McBride's header from Mark Pembridge's corner off the line.
Charlton substitute Francis Jeffers should have made the game safe in the final minute when fellow substitute Paul Konchesky sent over a dangerous cross from the left right across the six-yard box towards Jeffers, but the striker somehow knocked his shot wide of the target.
|Charlton Athletic||Team Statistics||Fulham|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|3||Shots on Target||4|
|6||Shots off Target||2|
Barclays Premier League
|9||West Ham United||27||39|
|13||West Bromwich Albion||28||30|
|18||Queens Park Rangers||26||22|