Charlton Athletic 0 West Bromwich 0: Bent double act miss their cue on frustrating night for Charlton

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Charlton Athletic stretched their unbeaten run at The Valley to four games with a turgid 0-0 draw against relegation-threatened West Bromwich Albion in a game they dominated from start to finish. The game, however, was overshadowed more by the players who were not on show.

The visitors were without their top scorer from last season in Robert Earnshaw, who memorably came off the bench when they played here last season to score a hat-trick - consisting of a goal from either foot and his head - to earn them a vital win in their fight to stay in the division last year.

His £3.5m departure to Norwich City, coupled with the absence of Kanu and Diomansy Kamara from the African Nations' Cup, has compounded his problems as the relegation battle heats up for Bryan Robson.

"That was a great result for us," Robson said. "We really had to word hard for each other tonight. I had to let Earnshaw go because I asked him to withdraw his transfer request because I wanted him to stay and fight for his place - he refused and I can't have players here who don't want to play for the club. Everyone who was out there tonight wanted to play for us."

The game was slow to get going as both teams failed to get into their stride from the start. "It was a scrappy affair," said Charlton's manager, Alan Curbishley. "The crowd expect you to win against a team down the bottom, but it isn't always the case because they came here to ruffle us up a bit - and they did."

The home side were the more inventive with the combination of Marcus and Darren Bent up front willing to chase anything put behind the defenders.

The two combined on the half hour to send the former through on goal, but he dragged the ball just wide of the post from the penalty spot under pressure from three defenders and the advancing Kuszczak.

The visitors' only chances came just minutes before the break when Greening found Geoff Horsfield at the far post who did well to head the ball against the upright from the acutest of angles before the ball was eventually thumped clear. His miss a minute later was awful as he sliced the ball wide from a crowded penalty spot which Robson generously called "a little unlucky".

The two Bents combined again in the second half and this time it was Darren who beat the offside trap, thanks to a perfect ball from Darren Ambrose. His ball was inches away from Marcus.

Jay Bothroyd almost came off the bench to provide a winner for the second game running, but he was given offside when he burst clear of the defence in the dying minutes.

Their developing partnership was the one bright spark in apedestrian game and while Robson will be pleased to leave with a point, his opposite number, Curbishley, put a brave face on two dropped points adding: "At least the back five can take a clean sheet away from the game."

Charlton Athletic (4-4-2): Myhre; Young, Hreidarsson, Fortune, Powell; Ambrose (Kishishev, 44), Holland, Smertin, Hughes; D Bent, M Bent (Bothroyd, 83). Substitutes not used: Andersen (gk), Thomas, Spector.

West Bromwich Albion (4-4-2): Kuszczak; Albrechtsen, Clement, Davis, Robinson; Greening, Johnson, Inamoto, Carter; Campbell (Ellington, 60), Horsfield. Substitutes not used: Kirkland (gk), Chaplow, Kozak, Nicholson.

Referee: P Walton (Northants).

Comments