Football: Mortimer rouses happy Valley

Charlton Athletic 4 Bright 14, Mortimer 60, Mendonca pen 89, Kinse lla 90 Nottingham Forest 2 Campbell 16, 90 Attendance: 15,815
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The Independent Online
WITH the scent of a place in the play-offs for a Premiership place in their nostrils Charlton summoned up the energy and skill to give the First Division leaders, Nottingham Forest, another afternoon to forget at The Valley. The visitors had ample quantities of salt rubbed in the wounds they suffered here when they were dumped out of the FA Cup earlier this year.

The scoreline may not be an accurate indication of the differences on the field but until the substitute Paul Mortimer restored Charlton's lead in the 60th minute it was Forest who had created the better scoring chances. However, Kevin Campbell's 15th-minute headed flick was the only attempt that had found Sasa Ilic's net. This made the match all square as Mark Bright had managed to direct a 12-yard header through the obstacles of a crowded penalty box to open the scoring in the 13th minute.

Charlton must have regretted losing Shaun Newton's pace in the 42nd minute when he was replaced by Mortimer - but the substitution provided a subtlety they had been missing, brilliantly illustrated on the hour when he went through two tackles before picking his spot in Dave Beasant's net.

The downside for the Charlton defence was that Alan Rogers's nose for space allied to a blistering turn of speed came more into play. The full- back had already clattered a first-half shot off Ilic's legs and then a 50-yard burst took him through a hesitant defence and ended with a shot that shaved the Charlton crossbar.

Perhaps Forest should have grasped that it was not to be their day when, still pressing for that elusive equaliser, Pierre Van Hooijdonk's free- kick hit a post and Ilic's shoulder much to the keeper's astonishment - and no little relief.

As the visitors' pressure grew more frenetic a long clearance reached their penalty box where Steve Chettle and Colin Cooper seemed bemused by its bounce. Clive Mendonca was not and Cooper was forced to bundle him over. The striker got to his feet and confidently struck the penalty past Beasant.

There were only three minutes left but Charlton were on a high and Mark Kinsella collected the substitute Paul Emblen's pass, waltzed round an unprotected goalkeeper to stroke in their fourth. In injury time Van Hooijdonk slipped a clever pass into Campbell's stride and in went his 19th goal of the season.

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