Addicks down Blues
By Paul Higham. Last Updated: 15/01/05 5:00pm
Charlton enjoyed a 3-1 win over Birmingham at The Valley.
The Addicks took the lead in bizarre circumstances inside ten minutes when Talal El Karkouri's long free kick was allowed to sneak in at the far post after a defensive mix-up.
Mario Melchiot's first goal for Birmingham got the visitors back into the game ten minutes after the break, but goals from Shaun Bartlett and Danny Murphy sealed the points for the hosts.
A scrappy opening brought a bizarre opening goal for the home side, after a dreadful defensive mix-up saw El Karkouri's free kick go directly in after nine minutes.
Matthew Upson left El Karkouri's floating free kick for Maik Taylor, but the goalkeeper was caught out by his decision and could not prevent the ball from bouncing into the far corner.
Charlton failed to build on their goal and it was still a muddling encounter when Bartlett had to clear the ball off his own line from Stephen Clemence, who had fired in a rebound from Darren Anderton's blocked free kick.
Damien Johnson ghosted into the box after some hesitant Charlton defending, but his lob over Dean Kiely went wide from a tight angle.
Hermann Hreidarsson powered in a great header from Murphy's 31st-minute corner, but Taylor pulled off a good stop to turn the ball over.
Steve Bruce's troops rallied after the break, and drew level ten minutes into the second half when Melchiot arrived with a towering header from Anderton's corner that flew past Kiely.
Birmingham improved after their goal, but it was Charlton who went back in front on 67 minutes with the game in the balance.
Substitute Francis Jeffers turned inside the box before slotting a great cross for Bartlett to slot the ball home at the far post.
Olivier Tebily was inches from slamming in a dreadful own goal on 70 minutes, when he fired Hreidarsson's cross narrowly past the foot of the post with Taylor helpless.
Julian Gray fizzed in a dangerous ball as Blues searched for a second equaliser, but they were caught out on the break by a sweeping Charlton move.
Jerome Thomas broke and supplied Jeffers, who in turn slipped in Murphy and the former Liverpool man slotted the ball coolly past Taylor for 3-0.
Melchiot had a late header just over as Birmingham searched for a way back into the match, but they never looked like troubling Charlton's lead.
|Charlton Athletic||Team Name||Birmingham City|
|6||Shots on target ( Inc Goals )||4|
|4||Shots off Target (inc woodwork)||4|
|11||Total Fouls Conceded||10|
Barclays Premier League
Barclays Premier League
|12||West Ham United||38||47|
|13||West Bromwich Albion||38||44|
|20||Queens Park Rangers||38||30|