Charlton 0 Huddersfield 0 match report: Chris Powell wins Charlton fans' support over sacking

Poll says 80 per cent are against his dismissal as bottom side draw blank in new boss's first match in charge

the valley

The Charlton Athletic crowd made their support clear for cult hero Chris Powell, who was sacked some 48 hours earlier, as their team found familiar problems with the lack of goals that had cost his job.

In the opening match under the new Belgian head coach Jose Riga, whose appointment is seen in these parts as one more step towards transforming the club into Standard Liege lite, the Championship's bottom club had plenty of possession without capitalising on it. Riga was greeted with isolated boos before kick-off while his predecessor, dismissed after falling out with the new owner Roland Duchatelet over the future direction of the club, received regular vocal backing at intervals through the evening.  

Outside the ground, the Charlton Supporters Trust, conducting a poll on whether Powell should have been sacked, reported 80 per cent against his dismissal. After three minutes' play - in recognition of the former England left-back's squad number - the crowd broke into applause and chanted Powell's name, followed a little later by “We want our Charlton back”.    

Riga stood in the technical area throughout in his grey suit, making “calm down” gestures when the home defence grew edgy following a good opening half-hour. 

After the game he said: “I'm happy with the performance, not so with this result. In the first 25 minutes we had a lot of chances.” As for replacing a local hero, he added: “I have a lot of respect for the ex-manager. I'm here for Charlton and I like a challenge.”

For Sunday's FA Cup tie at Sheffield United, Powell had declined to start with any of the new players brought in almost as a job lot from Duchatelet's five other clubs; which as Charlton lost feebly proved to be either a suicide note or the last nail in his coffin, according to choice of metaphor. So the first point of interest here was Riga's team selection. To nobody's great surprise two of the Liege recruits were brought in, but Reza Ghoochannejhad, the Iranian World Cup striker, and Astrit Ajdarevic, who played with Powell at Leicester City, were obvious choices and both did well.

The most controversial selection would have been if goalkeeper Yohann Thuram-Ulien, a third Liege import, had been selected ahead of Ben Hamer, as it has been rumoured that Duchatelet wanted, but that did not happen. It seemed certain that the new manager and his assistant Karel Fraeye had taken advice from Alex Dyer and Damian Matthew, two of Powell's coaches who remain at the club.

There are areas in which few supporters can have any great argument with the new owner. He has said that developing young players is “the only model” (citing five members of the Belgian national team having come through the Standard Academy), and that Charlton will have to sell from time to time. With a good record of bringing their own players through, from Lee Bowyer and Robert Lee to Scott Parker and Jonjo Shelvey, and then selling them on to bigger clubs, that has long been the way at The Valley. 

In implying that Liege in the Champions League was an obvious destination for the best of them, however, he overstepped the mark for many fans and went far beyond that with alleged interference in who played and, above all, the dismissal of Powell. 

One glance at Charlton's record this season would have made Riga aware of their essential problem - having scored far fewer goals than any other team in the Football League. Neither Simon Church nor Marvin Sordell, brought in free last summer, have been successful and Yann Kermogant, leading scorer this season and last, and therefore a popular figure, was sold in the January transfer window.

Sordell replaced Church but once again Charlton found goals hard to come by. Their best efforts tended to come from set pieces, with Ajdarevic, Ghoochannejhad and Michael Morrison all going close from corners. At the other end Dorian Dervite, one of the four changes from Sunday, cleared off the line from Nahki Wells, before Sordell, sent clear by Diego Poyet's fine pass, was denied by Alex Smithies.

Charlton deserved at least a point but even with at least three games in hand on their relegation rivals, they need to win some, starting against local rivals Millwall, whom they visit on Saturday.

Charlton Athletic (4-2-3-1): Hamer; Wilson, Morrison, Dervite, Wiggins; Poyet, Jackson; Ghoochannejhad (Pritchard, 64), Ajdarevic, Harriott (Cousins, 85); Sordel (Church, 79). Substitutes not used Green, Wood, Thuram-Ulien, Nego.

Huddersfield Town (4-3-3): Smithies; Woods, Wallace, Clarke, Dixon; Clayton, Southern, Hogg; Ward, Scannell (Hammill, 75), Wells (Paterson, 75). Substitutes not used Norwood, Gobern, Bennett, Stead, Smith.

Referee B Malone (Wiltshire).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
One of the installations in the Reiner Ruthenbeck exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery
artCritics rally to defend Reiner Ruthenbeck's 'Overturned Furniture'
News
John Cleese is promoting his new book
people
News
A-list actresses such as Deepika Padukone get paid a tenth of what their male counterparts make per film
news
News
The Black Friday Vines that will destroy your faith in humanity
i100

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special
TV
News
Robbie Rogers: US former Leeds United footballer, 25, announced he was gay in February 2013, shortly after he left Elland Road. Rogers 'retired' after writing on his blog: 'I'm a soccer player, I'm Christian, and I'm gay.' Has since signed with Los Angeles Galaxy.
peopleUS footballer said he had hoped Michael Sam and Jason Collins coming out might have helped
Arts and Entertainment
Johnny Depp no longer cares if people criticise his movie flops
films
Arts and Entertainment
All in a day's work: the players in the forthcoming 'Posh People: Inside Tatler'
TVGrace Dent thinks we should learn to 'hug a Hooray Henry', because poshness is an accident of birth
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
art

Presents unwrapped, turkey gobbled... it's time to relax

Arts and Entertainment
Convicted art fraudster John Myatt
art

News
The two-year-old said she cut off her fringe because it was getting in her eyes
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game