Football: Take two for Walsh

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The Independent Online
Leicester City . . . .3

Charlton Athletic. . .1

LEICESTER must play West Ham, Swindon and Millwall in the space of six days next month, so the points acquired during their current splendid run may well assume an enhanced value. Yesterday they equalled a winning sequence of seven last achieved 30 years ago and should at least be in the play-offs come May.

Pundits generally speak highly of a team who can win without playing well for much of the game and that could certainly be said of Leicester. Charlton called the shots for most of the opening half but Leicester scored the goals, the first after 37 seconds, the next almost on half-time. Only after the third, crucially early in the second half, did Charlton's cause begin to look beyond them.

Leicester went ahead through their bright young prospect, Julian Joachim, who headed home Gary Moore's left-wing cross to notch his 10th goal in 21 appearances, his second in two since returning from the World Youth Cup in Australia. Thereafter, he had scarcely a chance to show his skills as Charlton's central midfield combo of Peter Garland and Colin Welsh established control.

But for Carl Muggleton, pulling off excellent saves from Carl Leaburn, Alex Dyer and Garland, they may well have gained a decisive edge. However, in first-half injury time, Steve Walsh, in whom Leicester seemed to have discovered another Paul Warhurst, beat Mike Salmon to Lee Philpott's superb left-flank centre to create an unexpected cushion.

The second half was only nine minutes old when Philpott, this time well forward on the right wing, found Walsh with another fine cross from which the defender-turned-striker knocked in his 11th of the season and his eighth in seven matches.

Effectively that was curtains for Charlton and although Dyer pounced amid sleepy defenders, the result probably puts paid to their play-off chance.

Leicester, on the other hand, have every chance and with a gap widening between the top six and the pack it will need a drastic change of luck to deny them another serious crack at a Premier League slot.

Leicester City: C Muggleton; G Coatsworth, G Mills, R Smith, S Walsh, C Hill, D Oldfield, S Thompson, J Joachim (T James, 82 min), D Lowe, L Philpott. Sub not used: N Lewis. Manager: B Little.

Charlton Athletic: M Salmon; D Pitcher, S Gatting, P Bacon, S Webster, S Balmer, A Dyer, P Garland (P Gorman, 77 min), C Leaburn, G Nelson, C Walsh. Sub not used: P Sturgess. Joint-managers: A Curbishley and S Gritt.

Referee: K Burge (Tonypandy).

Goals: Joachim (1-0, 1 min), Walsh (2-0, 46 min), Walsh (3-0, 54 min), Dyer (3-1, 76 min).