Cardiff City 0 Charlton Athletic 2: Holland adds to Cardiff's misery

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The Independent Football

What Charlton would give to play every game anywhere but The Valley. After four defeats in five in South London, Alan Pardew's men returned to the road they love so much to record their fourth away win in succession. Find their direction at home and an instant return to the promised land seems very much within their compass.

In contrast, Cardiff must feel tempted only to look downwards as their season continues to write "relegation fight" on the forthcoming attractions board. Saying that, they probably have bigger worries right now with a court case looming on Monday that their chairman, Peter Ridsdale, warns could, given a bad wind, see them hit the rocks with catastrophic consequences.

Alas, the drama on the pitch last night did little, if anything, to deflect the focus. It took 33 minutes for either side to manage a shot on target and even then Steve Thompson's effort plopped into Nicky Weaver's chest. At least, Matt Holland was on hand 60 seconds later to provide the one piece of quality, as he leapt on to a moment of rank defending to whip the ball inside the post before Kasper Schmeichel had chance to wonder what Dad might do in a similar circumstance.

Pardew will pray for many more second halves as easy as this. Cardiff lacked any sort of edge and Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink's introduction did nothing to sharpen their armoury. Peter Whittingham, did curl one left-footer from 30 yards that had the home support off their seats. But not for long. It drifted wide, the minutes drifted away and when Darren Ambrose threatened to drift past Darren Purse the captain clumsily pulled him down. From the spot, Andy Reid gave the scoreline the difference it deserved.

Cardiff City (4-4-2): Schmeichel; Gunter, Purse, Loovens, Capaldi (Whittingham, h-t); Parry, Rae, McPhail, Ledley; Thompson, Maclean (Hasselbaink, 58). Substitutes not used: Oakes (gk), McNaughton, Johnson.

Charlton Athletic (4-4-1-1): Weaver; Mills, Sodje, Fortune, Powell; Sam (Varney, 89), Reid, Holland, Ambrose (Semedo, 80); Zheng; Iwelumo. Subsitutes not used: Randolph (gk), Bougherra, McLeod.

Referee: J Moss (W Yorks).

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