Football: Charlton gain edge in nine-goal drama

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The Independent Online
First Division Charlton Athletic came out the winners of an extraordinary Coca-Cola Cup second round, first leg against Wimbledon at Selhurst Park last night when three goals in eight minutes turned likely defeat into a 5-4 victory, writes Clive White.

The game will live longest in the memory of the slightly built 18-year- old Lee Bowyer who scored a hat-trick. Bowyer, who was one of two young Charlton players tested positive for drugs last season, scored two of his goals in the space of two minutes late in the second half as Charlton came from behind for the second time in the game.

A brace from Dean Holdsworth and another from Robbie Earle appeared to have put the Premiership side in control, albeit somewhat shakily, until Bowyer's late strikes. Kim Grant added a fifth before Andy Clarke hit back for the Dons. The only pity was that this spectacular was watched by a crowd of just 3,717.

Leeds United were revisited by their old failings at this stage of the competition as last week's European heroes faltered to a goalless draw at home to Second Division Notts County. Last season the Yorkshire side succumbed at home to Mansfield while two seasons ago Sunderland beat them home and away.

Had County's finishing matched their ability to snuff out the opposition, they might have repeated the feat. As it is they are well placed to go through in a fortnight's time at Meadow Lane. Leeds, who lost 3-1 at home to Queen's Park Rangers on Saturday, were jeered off at the final whistle.

A last-minute header from Lars Bohinen gave Nottingham Forest an undeserved life-line back into a tie they eventually lost 3-2 at Valley Parade. Bradford City looked to have claimed a big advantage when Ian Ormondroyd claimed his first goal since returning to the club after Paul Showler and captain Eddie Youds had overturned the Norwegian's early opener.

A goal 11 minutes from time by Richard Sneekes saved Bolton some embarrassment at home to Second Division Brentford. It was a gritty defensive performance by David Webb's team which gives them every hope for the return leg. Indeed, Nicky Forster had enough good opportunities to have won the game for the Bees on the break.

Crewe's longest-serving player, Rob Edwards, scored twice for Crewe Alexandra against Sheffield Wednesday at Gresty Road, only to find his feat equalled by the Premiership side's Belgian international, Marc Degryse.

Similarly, a brace from David Hopkin - his first goals for Crystal Palace since his summer transfer from Chelsea - gave the Eagles a 2-2 draw against Southend at Roots Hall, the second of them coming in the 90th minute.

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