Sunday, 2 October 2011

Put to the sword

Charlton pulled five points clear at the top of League One after a hard fought win against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

The Blades edged the first half and had plenty of chances to get themselves ahead, but some good defending and some fine saves from keeper Ben Hamer ensured that the hosts were denied, and the teams finished all square after the first 45 minutes.

The second half looked to follow a similar pattern to the first with United having the better chances in the early stages. That changed however after 65 minutes when Chris Powell replaced Paul Hayes with Yann Kermorgant. The Frenchman was sent on as The Addicks won a corner and immediately put the Londoners ahead with his first touch of the game. Midfielder Dale Stephens provided from the corner and Kermorgant headed home his second goal in as many games.

Two minutes later a lapse in the United defence gave Bradley Wright-Phillips a one on one with keeper Steve Simonsen. The former Stoke and Everton stopper did well to deny Wright-Phillips initial shot, but the ball fell well for BWP and he put it away for Charlton's second.

Sheffield United still had enough opportunities to make a come-back but were again denied by Ben Hamer and at one point, by one of his uprights. It was a game that I didn't expect to win and maybe if the hosts had their shooting boots on the result could have been very different. The result is what is important however and we've stretched our lead though Preston could close the gap if they win their game in hand.

With games against Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United and MK Dons now out of the way, we are slowly beginning to get a picture of the strength of our squad. We've played some of the better teams in the division and so far we haven't been found wanting. There are some big games ahead however, with Preston and Huddersfield still on the 'to play' list, but all in all we have done fantastically well to pick up 27 points from a total of 33.

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