Football: A sore point for Charlton
Sunday 18 April 1999
Leeds United 1
Half-time: 1-1 Attendance: 20,043
REDUCED TO 10 men and in spite of missing a penalty, Charlton did more than cling on to a valuable point that should have been three at The Valley yesterday. Their defiance emphasised that the improving Leeds are still prone to the occasional haphazard performance which will give heart to the three real championship challengers, all of whom they meet before the end of the season.
David O'Leary said afterwards that he would still be delighted with fourth place behind Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea, which would be like winning "that other league" - the one starting below the super-rich top trio. All Charlton wanted was a trio of points to keep half a step ahead of the bottom three and reinforce their hopes of making it a full stride by beating Everton at Goodison next weekend. Their need was the greater but having to call upon their third-choice goalkeeper, Andy Petterson, and losing Clive Mendonca to a back injury, prompted only pessimism which they quickly did remarkably well to quell - Andy Hunt had three moderately hopeful opportunities frustrated by hurried defending, all in the first 13 minutes. None was clear-cut but Leeds were unsettled.
The unsettling process continued. A high ball drifted across the goalmouth by Richard Rufus totally bemused Nigel Martyn, who was worriedly falling backwards. He probably felt sure the ball was veering inside his far post but he was wrong and it passed a shade beyond it. Nevertheless, it was great encouragement for Charlton who, in the 20th minute, took the lead when Hunt headed on to Graham Stuart who enterprisingly raised the ball over Martyn.
Within five minutes, but not within the trend of the game, Leeds were back on terms. Harry Kewell was carelessly brought down, Ian Harte slung the free-kick across the penalty area, and Jonathon Woodgate, slipping in behind the defence, competently slid the ball past Petterson. Nevertheless, Leeds were having problems some of which were not of Charlton's making - David Hopkin and Jimmy Hasselbaink had to be substituted before the half-hour - but many of which were. Any ball driven low across the face of their goal almost always arrived at Charlton feet, usually those of Hunt or Martin Pringle.
Charlton's opportunity to take a serious advantage came 10 minutes into the second half. Woodgate's clumsy tackle on Pringle was perhaps not as troublesome as the Swede made out but was bad enough for the referee to award a penalty. Paul Mortimer will not rapidly forgive himself for a slovenly kick - the ball virtually rolled into the post.
The self-inflicted pain was made even worse when Rufus appeared to kick the face of the young Leeds substitute, Matthew Jones. As Charlton's manager, Alan Curbishley, said, appearances can be deceptive - the referee sent off Rufus for "stamping". Curbishley said: "Rufus told me he was trying to avoid the player by jumping over him. It's inconceivable that he would have kicked him on purpose - especially in our situation." Jones recovered so quickly that it was easy to sympathise with Curbishley, but the fact was that Charlton were left to endure the last 25 minutes with 10 men.
Far from slowing the game with possession play which would have taken advantage of Charlton's numerical deficiency, Leeds allowed them to dictate the pace. For almost the entire final 15 minutes they were prepared to hold on to their point. Petterson retained Charlton's by stifling a late shot from Kewell.
Latest in Sport
Kevin Garside: Manchester United may have history and tradition but, as David Moyes never realised, a big-time manager always bends such things to his will
Louis van Gaal denies problem with Wilfried Zaha despite Manchester United forward being given no game time
Manchester United latest: Angel Di Maria move no closer as Juan Mata emerges as Louis van Gaal's favoured No 10 as prospect of signing
Arsenal: Arrival of Calum Chambers and David Ospina puts Arsène Wenger's spending past £50m
Tour de France 2014: Vincenzo Nibali confirmed as champion as he puts Italy back on the map with triumph
- 1 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 2 Israel-Gaza conflict: The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 3 Thatcher ‘was warned of Tory child sex party claims’
- 5 The Simpsons Family Guy trailer: First look at crossover episode after Comic-Con debut
Israel-Gaza conflict: The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Car, Healthcare, Pensions: Progressive Recruitment...
£45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Leading Sof...
£90 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are looking fo...
£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...