Football: Italian adds a tasty finish

Sheffield Wednesday 3 Booth 13, Carbone 64, Rudi 77 Charlton Athletic 0 Half-time: 1-0 Attendance: 26,010
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The Independent Online
WEDNESDAY'S REVIVAL continued as Charlton's worries deepened at Hillsborough, where the brilliance of Italian forward Benito Carbone in the second half ensured the points went into the home side's account. Danny Wilson's team have lost only once in their last eight Premiership matches, pulling away from the bottom, compared with a run of no wins in seven matches for their opponents, who slip closer to it.

Andy Booth gave Wednesday a first-half lead and after a long passage in which Charlton began to anticipate at least a share of the spoils, Carbone's superb strike put the hosts back in control before Petter Rudi put the result beyond all doubt 12 minutes from time.

It was not an outstanding performance by Wednesday, but the feeling that they have become much harder to beat was confirmed by another show of defensive strength by Des Walker and Emerson Thome.

Their early lead came as a surprise perhaps only to Booth, who would surely be replaced if a more effective target man became available. He had not scored at home since 21 November last year. Andy Hinchcliffe's cross from the left seemed too deep but Emerson headed back across goal and Booth had time to drag it onto his left foot before shooting past Sasa Ilic from eight yards.

Charlton missed a chance to draw level within two minutes when Mark Kinsella directed an unchallenged header wide, but Carbone's pace might have brought two more goals. Ilic raced out of his area to intercept when Carbone's pass sent Niclas Alexandersson clear, and Chris Powell did well to stay with Carbone after Wim Jonk sent him through the middle.

Curiously, the middle phase of the match was controlled by Charlton. They did not create much but by the time Steve Jones, on 59 minutes, missed by inches with a spectacular overhead kick, Wednesday's lead was looking fragile - until a moment of Italian magic crushed Charlton's hopes of a recovery.

Controlling the ball deftly on his chest wide on the left, Carbone skipped effortlessly past right back Danny Mills before curling a sublime right- footed shot beyond the outstretched arms of Ilic into the far corner.

It was a goal to raise the spirits as Wednesday took control, adding a third. Carbone turned provider, crossing on the right for Rudi to volley in fiercely.

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