Football: Snow slows Charlton

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Charlton Athletic 0

Sunderland . . . .0

CHARLTON are having a merry old flirt with the FA Cup but, probably as a result, their weary troops looked impotent promotion contenders last night. In one magnificent moment in the second half, their left midfielder Garry Nelson turned and hammered a 25-yard shot against the post, then Alec Chamberlain flung himself to his right and luckily kept out the rebound. But this was the only time the Sunderland keeper was forced to save in the game.

To compound Charlton's injury problems, their skipper, Alan McLeary, sustained eight stitches in his calf after a terrible tackle from Lee Howey, but their most significant absentee was Carl Leaburn, their injured top scorer. The Robins laboured to hold their passing patterns together on a thin blanket of snow and Leaburn's height would have given his midfielders a target to aim at to avoid the slow surface.

To Chamberlain's one crucial save, Mike Salmon, the Charlton goalkeeper, had to pull off five. The first of these came after just 17 seconds when an interception had Craig Russell running into the box to be blocked by Salmon. This set the pattern for most of the first half, Charlton shouldering the possession but faltering in the snow.

Charlton's reaction was to try a long ball which, thanks to an embarrassing swing at thin air by Andy Melville, produced the best chance of the match. Kim Grant ran on to the pass from McLeary, went clear through on goal but shot wide.

Charlton Athletic (4-4-2): Salmon; Brown, McLeary (Chapple, 28), Balmer, Sturgess; Robson (Garland, 73), Pitcher, Pardew, Nelson; Grant, Gorman. Substitute not used: Vaughan (gk).

Sunderland (4-4-2): Chamberlain; Owers, Bennett, Melville, M Gray; Russell (Rush, 78), Ferguson (Sampson, 85), Ball, Atkinson; P Gray, Howey. Substitute not used: Musgrave (gk).

Referee: D Frampton (Poole).