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Charlton boss Powell left with plenty to think about

BEATEN: Charlton manager Chris Powell

CHARLTON ARE in real danger of being embroiled in a Championship relegation scrap after a 1-0 home reversal to Burnley.

A brilliant goal - in an ordinary match - by Charlie Austin just minutes before half time was the difference between two sides that were both devoid of confidence and ideas.
Charlton kicked off having won just four home Championship matches all season, the last of which was against Blackpool on January 12.

One stark casualty of Charlton’s recent poor form – one win in their last half a dozen matches – was ‘keeper Ben Hamer who had started all their League matches this term. He was dropped for David Button.

Charlton started without striker Yann Kermorgant who began a three-game ban. Strikers Ricardo Fuller and Danny Haynes were recalled, along with Tottenham loanee Jon Obika.

Sean Dyche’s outfit were in a familiar position to Chris Powell’s Addicks, both sides having tasted Premier League status and are now striving to return to the big time with a huge amount of difficulty.

Burnley were without a win in six, and bottom of the Championship's form table, with two points out of a possible 18. The start of the game underpinned the lack of form by both sides.

It would be fair to say that the opening exchanges, on a difficult pitch, were few and far between.

If anything it was the away side who showed a tad more fizz in their play. That was underscored when Martin Paterson had an effort disallowed for offside on 12 minutes.
Clearly lacking in confidence, Charlton tried their best to rally; Haynes’ 15th minute header gave Burnley ‘keeper Lee Grant something to do and the Addicks followed up just moments later with an even better attempt after a well worked home corner.

It was interesting that former Jamaica international Ricardo Fuller had to change his boots in the 29th minute; flip flops should have been the order of the day as there was so much sand on a difficult Valley surface.

The encouraged visitors bore down on Button’s goal yet again on 31 minutes, only a brave and timely intervention by Lawrie Wilson saved Charlton with the ball going out for a corner.

But Button was well and truly undone in the 43rd minute by a cracking 25 yard piledriver by the Burnley no. 23 Austin. The striker’s long range strike had so much ferocity that as it hit the back of the net the ball was still rising.

The half time whistle was greeted by boos and most of it not of the alcoholic variety.

The second half started with the hosts displaying more energy, no doubt shaken and stirred by Powell’s frank team talk.

Bradley Pritchard got the ball rolling, literally, with a right-foot drive that resulted in a corner. Thereafter Burnley defended manfully while the Addicks huffed and puffed.
Powell’s men looked sure to gain parity on the hour mark when Haynes’ powerful header was acrobatically turned round the post by the competent Grant.

In an attempt to spice things up Powell brought on Danny Green for the ineffective Obika and Callum Harriott for Dorian Dervite. Neither could conjure the desired effect.

Ironically in the 77th minute it was Charlton centre-half Michael Morrison who had the best chance to get his team back in the match. However, the giant defender managed to miss an open goal from three yards out after Haynes had adroitly headed the ball into his path after a corner.

It was one of those days when Charlton were never going to hit the target, no matter how long they had kept playing.

Powell’s men were energetic but just did not have the nous, or rub of the green, to genuinely test their visitors, a team that had started the day in 13th place in the table with 44 points, one point and two places ahead of their London opponents.

There are a growing number of dissenting voices among the Charlton faithful at present.
The Addicks have not kept a clean sheet in 16 league and cup games since a goalless draw at Millwall on 1 December. They will need to tighten up at the back and take their chances at the other end to stave of being engulfed by thoughts of relegation.

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