Football: Pringle's precision bolsters Charlton

Crewe Alexandra 0 Charlton Athletic 2

CHARLTON SHRUGGED off Saturday's setback at Birmingham with a relatively straightforward victory last night, first-half goals by Graham Stuart and Martin Pringle lifting them above Ipswich into second place in the First Division. Crewe, enterprising but outclassed, remain rooted in the bottom three after a sixth match without a win.

Mark Kinsella and his cohorts controlled the midfield as Charlton demonstrated their counter-attacking prowess. Crewe stuck manfully to their task, yet did not bring a save worthy of the name from Dean Kiely until he acrobatically tipped over Colin Little's header midway through the second half.

Barely six months ago Charlton were scuffling for Premiership points at places like Old Trafford, Highbury and Anfield. Coming to the Alexandra Stadium was not, however, the culture shock it might have been.

A massive new stand has risen at Gresty Road, dwarfing the other three sides but also depriving Crewe of the cramped setting which might have unsettled Charlton. Alan Curbishley's side certainly settled quickly, Andy Hunt forcing Jason Kearton to save with his leg before they took an early lead.

A 13th-minute thrust along Crewe's right flank led to Pringle reaching the penalty area. The former Benfica striker selflessly squared the ball for Stuart, who more or less ran it in at the far post.

Crewe's bold response belied their lowly status. Eddie Youds' blocking tackle denied Rodney Jack a certain equaliser, before Little volleyed wildly over after Colin Cramb had twisted round Youds.

Charlton's second goal, on the half-hour, also had its origins on their left wing, Pringle heading Hunt's cross down past Kearton. Crewe's frustration immediately intensified when Cramb, presented with a simple tap-in by Little's pass, connected only with fresh air.

One of the keys to Charlton's recovery since their relegation has been continuity; Greg Shields was the only outfield player last night not involved last season. The Scottish right-back, watched by Craig Brown's deputy, Alex Miller, showed his attacking ability with a powerful drive which Kearton did well to push aside at full stretch.

Crewe, by contrast, cashed in their prize asset for pounds 3m, and some cynical locals call the new structure the Seth Johnson Stand. Dario Gradi's positive principles have not changed, but luck has temporarily deserted them. One almighty scramble in the visitors six-yard box in the second half saw the ball strike all manner of Charlton limbs before being cleared.

Crewe Alexandra: (4-4-2): Kearton; Bignot, Lightfoot, Macauley, S Smith; Collins (Lunt, 79), Charnock, Sorvel, Little; Jack, Cramb. Substitutes not used: Unsworth, P Smith, Wright, Welsby (gk)

Charlton Athletic (4-4-2): Kiely; Shields, Brown, Youds, Powell ; Stuart, James, Kinsella, Robinson (Newton, 74); Pringle (Salako, 80), Hunt. Substitutes not used: Barness, Parker, Fortune (gk).

Referee: J Kirkby (Sheffield).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas