Albion left anchored by heroics of Holland

West Brom 0 - Charlton 1
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The Independent Football

Matt Holland secured a second successive away win for Charlton and plunged West Brom deeper into the relegation mire.

Matt Holland secured a second successive away win for Charlton and plunged West Brom deeper into the relegation mire.

The Republic of Ireland international's first goal of the campaign was sufficient to dispose of a Baggies side which huffed and puffed but seldom threatened to pierce the visitors' defence.

Bryan Robson's men have now gone nine games without a win since defeating Bolton in early October and their new boss must bring in new blood in the January transfer window to bolster a squad lacking in confidence and belief.

The Addicks were inspired by Danny Murphy who has taken time to make an impact following his summer move from Liverpool.

But the one-time England international was the dominant figure in the centre of the park for the Addicks.

He sprayed the ball around effectively and also showed an awareness and cool head to help the Addicks weather West Brom's best spell mid-way through the second period.

A second clean sheet in a row would also have been pleasing to Charlton boss Alan Curbishley whose side have the worst away defensive record in the top flight with 19 goals conceded.

Only Jonathan Greening looked as if he had the capabilities of providing the kind of quality service needed by Albion strikers Kanu and Robert Earnshaw.

Albion were the first to threaten after Kanu was brought down by Talal El Karkouri. Greening's low free-kick contained plenty of power but flew straight at Dean Kiely.

Andy Johnson tried his luck from 20 yards out after some neat play by Jonathan Greening but Kiely was not tested by his low drive.

Kiely clung onto a deep cross from Bernt Haas at full stretch under pressure from Robert Earnshaw but Charlton slowly began to get to grips with the game.

Albion keeper Russell Hoult had to come out of his area to clear into the stands after Bartlett, operating as the lone striker, had stayed onside following a chip over the Albion defence from Holland.

But it needed a goal-line clearance from Murphy to prevent Albion from taking the lead after 24 minutes.

Clement played a short corner into Earnshaw and cut inside after collecting the return pass. His low cross flew through a ruck of players with no-one able to apply the finishing touch until Murphy intervened.

Robson's side were having marginally more of the play territorially but were struggling to discover a cutting edge to their play and paid the penalty after 31 minutes.

A Murphy free-kick was headed out firmly enough by Clement but Holland seized on the loose ball and drilled a right-footed half volley into the corner of the net.

West Brom tried to strike back immediately and Zoltan Gera had an opportunity when he got on the end of a right-wing cross from Haas.

But the Hungary captain directed his header across the face of goal when he should have at least tested Kiely.

Murphy was having an increasing influence and came close to doubling Charlton's lead in the 44th minute. His first-time volley flew just past Hoult's left-hand post after he had seized onto a pass from Rommedahl.

Murphy had a chance to double Charlton's lead after only two minutes of the second period when he reacted first to a ball headed on by Hermann Hreidarsson but the ex-Liverpool player volleyed into the side-netting from six yards out.

Then Bartlett was guilty of a glaring miss 60 seconds later. He timed his run perfectly to meet a left-wing cross from Jerome Thomas and found himself unmarked inside the six-yard box but volleyed across the face of goal.

Manager Robson needed to breathe some fresh life into his side and after 55 minutes he introduced Jason Koumas in place of Cosmin Contra.

Albion were certainly showing more commitment and desire in the early stages of the second period as they tried to drag themselves back into contention with Kanu making more of an impact.

The Baggies skipper turned sharply on the edge of the Addicks box and had a shot deflected inches over the bar but there was little threat to Kiely's goal in the final stages.