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Ten man Watford put Charlton to the sword

FULLER PROMISE: Charlton's Ricardo Gardner in action against Watford

A RESOLUTE Watford side - who played the second half with ten men - beat Charlton Athletic 2-1 with after a gutsy display at The Valley.

The home side made a bright opening. In the 12th minute Salim Kekrer passed to Ricardo Fuller but Neuton intercepted the ball before the striker could pull the trigger.

Two minutes later Troy Deeney saw his long range shot gathered by Ben Hamer at the second attempt. Watford got the first goal in the 25th minute as Tomie Hoban, who was unmarked in the Charlton box, headed home from a Fernando Forestieri corner. The goal was totally against the run of play as up till that stage Charlton had most of the possession.

In the 32nd minute Charlton midfilder Dale Stephens played a defence splitting pass to Fuller who composed himself and slotted the ball past the advancing Manuel Almunia to equalize for Charlton. On 39 minutes Kekrer was played in but Almunia was quickly at his feet and caught the ball before he could shoot.

Just before half time the controversial moment of the game arrived. Forestieri was shown a second yellow card by ref Mike Dean for diving, thus reducing Watford to ten men. The decision seemed harsh, as it had rained shortly before the game commenced and he seemed to lose his footing in the box. The Watford players protested but to no avail.

On 52 minutes Bradley Wright-Phillips saw his shot saved by Almunia. Two minutes later Stephens tried a curling shot but it was deflected for a corner.

On 59 minutes Wright-Phillips waltzed his way into the box and appeared to have his shirt tugged by Neuton but the referee waved play on. Three minutes later Fuller had a shot saved. It seemed only a matter of time before Charlton took the lead but it was not meant to be.

Many times we have seen ten-men dig in resolutely and take the only chance that comes their way to win a game. That moment duly arrived in the 69th minute when Almen Abdi curled a brilliant free kick past the wall and Hamer to restore Watford’s lead. The Charlton crowd was stunned.

Deeney could have made the game safe for Watford but he wasted time on the ball and saw his shot saved by Hamer. The Watford defence then put up a rearguard to make sure they left south London with all the three points.

Watford boss Gianfranco Zola said: “For a manager you could not ask for more. It was a very good free kick and I was impressed with him (Abdi). I saw him take free kicks in training. It is one thing to be good on the training ground but in the game it is different

Chris Powell, the Charlton manager, though reflected on the loss of three points. He said: “We have been hurt by two set plays. I suppose things are not falling for us at the moment. You have to keep calm at times.

"I need us to be a bit more clinical. We got quality crosses in but they put bodies in front of them and it just did not fall for us.”

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