Football: Jordan and Hartford endure early exits

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The Independent Online
Charlton Athletic. . . . 2

Stoke City. . . . . . . .0

STOKE CITY personnel, including the management team of Joe Jordan and Asa Hartford, were banished to all parts of The Valley last night as Charlton stopped the rot to rejoin the promotion debate.

It was a debate that accounted for the first dismissal for the Potters, Hartford, their assistant manager, being sent from the dug out for using abusive language during a conversation with the referee, Ray Bigger.

The former Scottish international suffered an embarrassing wander down the touchline as he searched for an escape route. 'He didn't know where to go so I helped him,' Alan Curbishley, one half of the Charlton management team, said. 'I got sent off at Southend and David Webb helped me. You don't know what to do in those situations.'

Just before half-time Gary Bannister also made his exit, after being adjudged to have struck Darren Pitcher in the face. These events so incensed Jordan, the visiting manager, that his half-time discourse with Mr Bigger ended in him, too, being dismissed, for persistent dissent. Both he and Hartford watched the second-half from the stands.

Jordan spent a few moments longer than usual to compose himself in the dressing-room before giving his version of events. 'Sometimes you have got to take a wee bit of time to calm down,' he said. 'There were certain events which didn't help us, and it's difficult to analyse our performance when we were handicapped so early.'

Much of Stoke's complaints surrounded an off-the-ball incident early in the game when Carl Leaburn kicked out at Steve Foley, and the striker compounded their misery by giving his side the lead in the 27th minute. Kim Grant held the ball up cleverly and, while the Potters' defence was disarranged, Colin Walsh crossed for Leaburn to head his eighth goal of the season.

As Stoke toiled, Charlton took full advantage to stop a slide that has seen four successive defeats, the latest of which, at Southend on Monday, was described by Curbishley as the worst performance from his side in two and a half years.

A rejigged home side, with three changes from earlier this week, made the game safe 10 minutes from time when Alan McLeary forced home from Garry Nelson's pull back.

Charlton Athletic (4-4-2): Salmon; Brown, Minto, Chapple, McLeary; Pardew, Robson, Pitcher, Walsh; Leaburn, Grant (Nelson, 74). Substitutes not used: Garland, Vaughan (gk).

Stoke City (3-5-2): Marshall; Sandford, Cranson, Overson; Orlyggson (Gynn, h-t), Foley (Carruthers, 74), Bannister, Regis, Clarkson; Bannister, Regis. Butler, Gleghorn. Substitute not used: Prudhoe (gk).

Referee: R Bigger (Norfolk).