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Powell's men keep it a happy Valley

UNBEATEN: Chris Powell

A TOUCH of reality returned to The Valley after a 0-0 stalemate with Hull City this afternoon (August 25).

Charlton came into this match on the crest of a mini wave having beaten Leicester City in their last home match and taken a point off Birmingham City on the opening day.
However, today the home side were fortunate not to lose their unbeaten status against a vibrant City side.

The first half took a while to ignite which was surprising bearing in mind that the protagonists were playing on a lush surface that Arsenal would have been proud of.

Save for the promptings of the lively Bradley Pritchard and Bradley Wright-Phliips and the home side were shot shy.

But it was the Tigers that were the first to roar into life with the game’s best opportunity on 25 minutes. Sone Aluko, who has managed to escape the turmoil at Glasgow Rangers, had a crisp shot saved by Charlton ‘keeper Ben Hamer. The African was a thorn in Charlton’s side all game with his direct running and nimble feet.

The effort seemed to galvanise Chris Powell’s men and there followed a period of decent Charlton attacking intent. Defender Leon Cort saw a header blocked on 36 minutes after more good work by the industrious Pritchard.

Moments later, after a fine run and cross into the penalty area by home skipper Johnnie Jackson, Yann Kermorgant was denied by Ben Amos in the City goal.

And as if to signal that they had truly awoken from their slumber, from a corner, Charlton centre-half Michael Morrison headed his effort into the ground and the ball looped up and over the bar seven minutes before the break.

A nondescript second period was punctuated by bad weather and good periods of City pressure. On 48 minutes, Charlton had the ball in the back of the net after a Wright-Phillips shot was saved by Amos and the rebound was knocked home by Kermorgant. However, the goal was chalked off as the linesman deemed that Wright-Phillips to be offside at the start of the move.

There followed a period of thunder and lightning which confirmed that the Bank Holiday was here! In the last quarter of the match, when Powell’s men ran out of steam and ambition, Steve Bruce’s side had the better of things.

Hull, under the stewardship of their experienced manager, can have some optimism for the months ahead if they continue to play with the organisation and verve they displayed today.

Hull will feel disappointed not to have got the holiday off to winning start. A left-foot drive by the classy Robert Koren went just wide on 74 minutes. Then Aluko, with another piece of trickery, put Cort on his backside in his own area but the subsequent shot in the 75th minute was blocked by more desperate Charlton defending.

City sub Jay Simpson screwed a good chance wide on 85 minutes as the visitors piled on the pressure. Once again Aluko’s neat control was at the heart of City’s dominance.

With just two minutes to go, Aluko and Leroy Rosenoir contrived to miss another golden opportunity for Bruce’s side and the ball bobbled out for a corner.

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