Murphy makes point for Addicks
By Tom Adams. Last Updated: 17/10/05 7:57pm
Danny Murphy sent yet another signal to Sven Goran Eriksson as his second half goal handed Charlton a 1-1 draw at home to Fulham.
The visitors had taken the lead thanks to a beautifully-executed volley from Collins John, making it a happy 20th birthday for the Dutchman, but Murphy continued to shine as he equalised soon after the break.
The former Liverpool star was snubbed by England for the final World Cup qualifiers against Poland and Austria, but again proved to be an influential presence before a energetic first hour gave way to a more measured London derby at The Valley.
Fulham packed the midfield anticipating another virtuoso display from Murphy, and the unfamiliar tactic ensured an open start to the tie as Alexei Smertin and Papa Bouba Diop had efforts within the first ten minutes.
Murphy began to exercise the influence that made him an England prospect as his defence-splitting pass found Dennis Rommedahl - although after sidestepping Alain Goma the winger's curling effort rebounded off the post.
Darren Bent had miscontrol and misjudgement to blame as he failed to capitalise on two openings, and opponent John was also unable to convert as he shot wide after being fed by Moritz Volz from the right.
The young Fulham striker failed to connect with a diving header from Luis Boa Morte's cross, although he made the breakthrough just before the half hour as Radostin Kishishev was shown the yellow card for a push on Claus Jensen. The Dane, on his return to The Valley, took a quick free-kick and found Steed Malbranque lurking on the right.
As the Frenchman crossed John was ready, and, perched on one foot, the youngster executed an exquisite volley and smashed the ball right-footed past Stephan Andersen.
Murphy was a threat from range but his efforts were wayward, although his passing was unerring and another penetrating ball saw Rommedahl dive in behind Niclas Jensen - only to find Carlos Bocanegra well-placed to block his dangerous centre.
Fulham were not playing like a side who were yet to record an away victory, and they were good value for money in an entertaining opening period as the influential Malbranque blasted wide before substitute Tomasz Radzinski, on for Philippe Christanval, fired agonisingly past the post as Claus Jensen's free-kick eluded a clutch of players.
Charlton continued to search for the equaliser and could have grabbed it just before the break although Hermann Hreidarsson's desperate lunge at Smertin's cross could not trouble Crossley even with a helpful deflection from Alain Goma.
However they did not have to wait long after half time to deservedly draw level as Chris Powell's hopeful cross from the left somehow found its way to Murphy past two Fulham defenders.
On his current form Murphy was not likely to pass up such a glorious opportunity and the former Liverpool man duly obliged as he thundered a low first-time shot back across goal to beat Crossley.
With neither side in the ascendancy the urgency of the first half fizzled out, and Malbranque offered a poor sliced attempt for the visitors on 51 minutes before Bouba Diop headed over when well placed from Claus Jensen's free-kick four minutes later.
Charlton continued to probe and Bent could only find Crossley with a first time shot whilst substitute Jay Bothroyd collected from Smertin wide on the right, drove across the face of Goma and Bocanegra and failed to beat the Fulham keeper.
The second period was an altogether tamer affair and Fulham were unable to provide a cutting edge, Radzinski's whipped cross-cum-shot on 69 minutes containing too much pace for an onrushing John.
Volz let fly with a speculative shot from distance that brushed the side-netting, and at the other end Perry was at full stretch as his diving header from Murphy's set-piece lacked accuracy.
The introduction of Talal El Karkouri on 75 minutes provided a minor flashpoint as he was immediately booked for a crunching tackle on Boa Morte, but the game failed to kick into life as Rommedahl, effervescent in the first half, summed up the malaise with a poor scuffed volley when well placed.
Bouba Diop launched a wild strike for Fulham as Rommedahl matched the Senegal star's waywardness when found on the edge of the penalty area from a Murphy corner, but the best chance of the closing stages fell to Boa Morte as the Portuguese forward sliced a volley wide in injury time.
Click here for Charlton v Fulham player ratings.
|Charlton Athletic||Team Statistics||Fulham|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|3||Shots on Target||1|
|12||Shots off Target||14|
Barclays Premier League
|12||West Ham United||35||37|
|16||West Bromwich Albion||33||33|