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Football League

Mackay perplexed by Cardiff crash

Charlton Athletic 5 Cardiff City 4

Malky Mackay, as a former defender, needs to head back to training ground with his Cardiff players. It might just save their promotion bid once and for all.

On a night when they leaked five goals, taking their tally to 18 conceded in just seven away games, you do not need to look too far at where they are going wrong. A 100 per cent home record is not being followed up on their travels.

They have been blitzed at Bristol City (four goals), Crystal Palace (three goals), Nottingham Forest (three goals) and now left their worst for the Valley following this five-goal collapse.

Mackay cited "individual howlers" for their latest away-day to forget. He said: "For 30 minutes we looked as good as we had played away all season. Then [David] Marshall drops one he would catch easily and that gave them a glimmer.

"We threw away a two-goal lead. Then players that had been reliable and consistent all season started doing things they don't normally do. It's individuals making howlers."

It was no surprise Mackay was left scratching his head having looked so good for Cardiff. Heidar Helguson's early header was followed up by Joe Mason's scrappy second goal. With 24 minutes on the clock, and without a win at The Valley since August, Charlton were starring down the barrel of another home defeat.

But then it all changed, with Johnnie Jackson's 39th minute strike following an error from Marshall, sparking five-goals in just 26 minutes.

Jackson headed Charlton level on the stroke of half-time and Cardiff were on the ropes. By 65 minutes they were on the floor. Dale Stephens' free-kick sailed over Marshall, who was again at fault, to give Charlton the lead in the 54th minute and moments later further headers from Danny Haynes and Rob Hulse made it 5-2.

Cardiff hit back to set up a frantic finish via Craig Noone and substitute Arron Gunnarsson in added-on time but the damage had already been done.

Charlton Hamer, Solly, Cort, Morrison, Kerkar, Haynes (Wight-Phillips, 68), Stephens (Hollands, 90), Dervite, Pritchard, Jackson, Hulse. Substitutes Button, Taylor, Green, Fox, Azeez.

Cardiff Marshall, Connolly, Hudson, Turner, Taylor, Frei (Kim, 65), Cowie (Gunnarsson, 65), Mason, Whittingham, Noone, Helguson (Gestede, 73). Substitutes Lewis, McNaughton, Kiss, Conway.

Referee K Stroud (Hampshire).