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Charlton victims of home horror hammering

EYE ON THE BALL: Charlton Athletic's Bradley Pritchard, centre, sees off Nicky Bailey's challenge

MIDDLESBROUGH CAME back from behind to thrash Charlton Athletic 4-1 and moved to second in the Championship table.

Goals from Jonathan Woodgate, Scott McDonald, Emmanuel Ledesma and Richard Smallwood put to bed a jittering start as Charlton went ahead thanks to Rob Hulse.

The result will start to heap pressure on the promoted Addicks who have found encounters in the Championship testing, to say the least.

The last time these sides locked horns was six seasons ago when they both played Premier League football. This afternoon’s outcome demonstrates why the visitors were considered among the pre-season favourites for a return to the top-flight.

Victory for the ruthless Teesiders capped off an impressive week for Tony Mowbray’s team, which in addition to picking up three points at the Valley, advanced to the Capital One Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday.

In contrast, Charlton boss Chris Powell stressed in his programme notes the importance of his side rediscovering their home form. Disappointing at home and impressive away, there has been no middle ground for his side in recent times.

The reds started the game brightly and presented themselves with chance inside the first minute of the game. Bradley Wright-Phillips drifted out to the far left, playing in Bradley Pritchard but the all-action midfielder’s headed effort rose over the bar.

A read in the stats book would have informed you Charlton headed into this game as the second lowest scorers in the division. Only basement boys Ipswich had netted on fewer occasions than the Addicks' 14.

Rob Hulse made a frontline return with a bang to brighten up the problematic ‘goals for’ column.
The journeyman starting in place of the injured Ricardo Fuller, put Charlton in front inside 12 minutes capitalising on a misplaced Boro pass in the danger zone.

Tony Mowbray's team showed their resilience, with a response midway through the first half. Skipper Jonathan Woodgate left unmarked in the box from a set piece scored his first goal since returning to the club.

From then on Charlton were made to look second best. The remainder of the game failed to delivered few positives as far as the Londoners were concerned. The Halloween hangover got to Charlton as they were unable to find a way through the north east club’s defence.

The superior quality of the victors was firmly illustrated by how they controlled the game, bossed the duals in midfield and broke away into the final third with ease.

On the counter Middlesbrough got in front with Scott McDonald unleashing a left-footed strike on 53 minutes.

A route one attack resulted in Ledesma lobbing the ball over Hamer from 20 yards, making the game safe just after the hour mark.

A fabulous fourth was not beyond them and the scoreline was enhanced shortly after Lukas Jutkiewicz had hit the post. Richard Smallwood slid in to seal a memorable victory – one which confirms their best start to a league season in 26 years.

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