Charlton Athletic 2 Bolton Wanderers 0: Two off, two in for Bent on another day of flying elbows
Sunday 27 August 2006
That current curse of the English game, the flying elbow, claimed two more victims at The Valley as Charlton picked themselves off the floor to stun Bolton with a pair of second-half goals from the prolific Darren Bent.
This first win of the season for Iain Dowie's team was hard-earned, and had looked unlikely after the 27th minute dismissal of Hermann Hreidarsson for planting his elbow into the face of Kevin Davies. However, Bolton obligingly helped the home cause when an over-casual El Hadji Diouf missed a penalty, and when Bent put Charlton ahead from the spot, Bolton's air of superiority was dissipated.
Then Davies, to cheers from the home crowd, was also shown a straight red for an elbow which left Amdy Faye on the floor and in pain. At 10 men apiece, Charlton's resurgence was rewarded with a second from Bent just before the end.
As Dowie claimed: "We ground it out today." The fact this was Charlton's first home win over Bolton for seven years made it especially enjoyable. As Dowie also pointed out, there is heightened awareness nowadays about the wandering elbow.
"It was a difficult game for the referee," he said. "But there was no malice, no brutal challenges. But we don't want to sanitise football too much." There seems little threat of that where the angel-faced Davies is concerned. His "elbow" challenge on Talal El Karkouri seemed the heaviest of the afternoon, and clearly Hreidarsson thought so, since his assault on the Bolton striker appeared an act of retaliation.
Referee Mike Dean's instant production of the red card shocked the Charlton defender, who intends to appeal the decision. Dowie's reaction to the setback was positive, pushing Faye into the back four, introducing Radostin Kishishev to beef up midfield in place of Darren Ambrose and leaving two men up.
By then Bolton had missed several chances. Particularly guilty was Stelios Ginnakopoulos, who sailed unchallenged in on goal but instead of burying the ball, opted to dribble round both Scott Carson and El Karkouri and seemed surprised when his shot was blocked.
In the second half Bolton were just as effortlessly in charge of the show and were awarded a penalty in the 57th minute. Faye and Diouf chased a through ball and, not for the first time in his career, Diouf went down. Mr Dean was in no doubt, however, though there were cries of "justice" when Diouf's spot kick was blocked by a diving Carson.
Eight minutes later Bent showed him how to do it, in all senses. His tumble in a tussle for possession with Tal Ben Haim was much more convincing, earning Ben Haim a yellow card. So was his kick, struck home as fiercely as the one he put away at West Ham last week.
Still Bolton were unable to make their man advantage tell as Charlton dug in to protect the lead. Then, as they attempted to move up a gear, Bolton were dismayed to see the red card flourished again, this time against Davies for his elbow against Faye.
With ten now facing ten, Charlton were more assured in their pursuit of victory, which they sealed with four minutes of normal time remaining. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink got his head to a long clearance, sending the ball in a gentle parabola into the Bolton penalty area, where Bent acted quickly to prod the ball past Jussi Jaaskelainen.
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