Kevin Nolan’s Valley View: Charlton Athletic 2-0 Ipswich Town

Kevin Nolan's Valley View

Johnnie Jackson’s dominant Addicks notched up another convincing win at The Valley last night. KEVIN NOLAN reports.

After tasting the novel experience of cup success twice last week, Charlton returned to the bread and butter of League One competition to host Ipswich Town at a bouncing Valley.

A second Fill The Valley offer meant another bumper crowd was on hand to celebrate a repetition of the imperious performance which saw off Plymouth Argyle nearly three weeks ago.

The right result is always the priority on occasions like this and the Tractor Boys received the same short shrift as the Pilgrims. Only the lateness of Alex Gilbey’s clincher gave cause for concern but without an effort on target, Suffolk’s finest, supported by a subdued, sold-out Jimmy Seed stand, were second best throughout.

On Saturday, for the third of the club’s enterprising Fill The Valley initiatives, Cambridge United, themselves impressive 5-0 winners at Cheltenham last night, will provide the opposition. There’s no such thing as a walkover but they will have their hands full if the Addicks are in this mood again.

In this clash of interim managers, meanwhile, Johnnie Jackson’s men made an uneven start but still created what few chances there were. A restless bundle of fizzing energy, Conor Washington sent an optimistic lob over Christian Walton’s crossbar, Eliot Lee headed tamely wide and Diallang Jaiyesimi nodded Ben Purrington’s cross off target.

As Town’s early resistance crumbled, Jayden Stockley continued his hot streak in front of goal to put the Addicks ahead. The spadework was provided by George Dobson, who neatly evaded a midfield tangle to send Washington haring through the inside-left channel, with Sam Morsy in fruitless pursuit.

Opening his body to shoot right-footed for the opposite corner, Washington was foiled by Walton’s excellent save; following up alertly, Stockley confidently drilled the rebound through the goal area confusion and claimed his 13th goal of a productive season.

Charlton’s perfect evening was off and running and though the coup-de-grace eluded them for a further hour, they remained in effortless control.

The visitors were comprehensively outclassed, with the exception of the outstanding Walton, whose defiance kept his side in with a notional chance. During a one-sided second half, the big keeper made a string of superb saves to introduce an element of doubt.

In the home goal, Craig McGillivray sailed through 90+ minutes of complete unemployment, protected by the old-pro/young gun combination of skipper Jason Pearce and Akin Famewo.

Total midfield control was guaranteed by the tigerish Dobson, Lee and Gilbey, whose first goal of the campaign rewarded a tireless box-to-box contribution.

Supported by Jaiyesimi, versatile Sean Clare put in a faultless shift at right wingback with Purrington providing balance on the opposite flank.

The latter was among Walton’s second half victims, his point blank header somehow conjured clear by Town’s brilliant keeper. Stockley, Lee and Washington were also denied by Walton as the Addicks sought the security of that elusive second goal.

Aware of football’s axiom that you inevitably pay for your failure to seal an issue, The Valley shifted uncomfortably as the second half wore on without resolution of the problem. Not that the visitors looked even remotely likely to produce an equaliser, but you know how it is – you worry. Until, that is, Gilbey stepped up to lower a satisfying boom on the outclassed Tractor Boys.

Never one to hide, Lee’s had been a performance of uneven impact. One of his precise passes put Washington through, to be foiled by George Edmundson’s great recovery tackle. With a minute of normal time left on referee Sarginson’s watch, he produced another peach to send Gilbey accelerating through a square defence and into the penalty area.

A clever feint earned him room to pick an inviting spot and nonchalantly slot right-footed past the desperately advancing Walton. The tall playmaker’s first goal of an injury-hit season was saluted by a relieved crowd, fully aware that Gilbey’s form is vital to the second stage of Charlton’s mediocre campaign.

The injuries are healing, the squad seems strong, the future seems suddenly brighter… what could possibly go wrong?

Charlton: McGillivray, Clare, Pearce, Famewo, Purrington. Jaiyesimi (Leko 69), Gilbey, Dobson, Lee, Stockley, Washington. Not used: Henderson, Elewere, Souare, Watson, Kirk, Davison. Booked: Pearce.

Ipswich: Walton, Vincent-Young, Nsiala, Edmundson, Donacien, Evans, Morsy, Aluko (Chaplin 69), Fraser (Pigott 64), Edwards, Bonne. Not used: Hladky, Penney, El Mizouni, Burgess. Booked: Donacien.

Referee: Christopher Sarginson. Att: 26,272 (3,159 visiting).


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