Newcastle's caretaker-manager, Glenn Roeder, is normally undemonstrative, courteous and calm. After this showing, he was a different man. Martin O'Neill is believed to have been offered the Newcastle job yesterday and Roeder warned whoever succeeds him that he is in for a tough time.
"It's a huge, huge job to sort this out," said Roeder, after watching Newcastle fall to their fourth successive defeat. "It wouldn't be just as easy as clearing [the players] out. It's a job that would not be achievable overnight."
Roeder, whose own chances of staying in charge appear over, had harsh words for his players. "They've got to be big enough to take it," he said. "If they are not big enough, they are not true Newcastle United players.
"Going to Charlton and losing 3-1, for Newcastle United, is not acceptable in the manner that we lost. I am angry and I don't use that word about myself too often. Another manager might take things even further than I would."
The downhill slide of Newcastle contrasts with Charlton's revival. The homogeneity of contenders for the England job, in terms of style and experience, means that Alan Curbishley cannot be discounted as a contender, so a rare happy denouement to Charlton's season may be perfectly timed for him.
"We've got to turn our away form around," he admitted, but will be a happy man if teams continue to gift them points in the way Newcastle did. The visitors had enjoyed the better of the first half but fell behind by making mistakes.
The first danger sign was when Emre took a heavy first touch that allowed Radostin Kishishev to pounce and feed Darren Bent, whose shot was blocked by Shay Given's right knee.
Bent soon made amends with a penalty. Peter Ramage's poor pass caused consternation in the Newcastle area that culminated in Craig Moore tripping Jerome Thomas. The successful spot-kick was Bent's 20th goal of the season.
Scott Parker, who had been taunted throughout by home fans with bitter memories of his messy exit from The Valley two years ago, equalised with a 30-yard strike which silenced the crowd. Unfortunately for Parker, his peace lasted less than two minutes owing to a freak defensive mix-up. Hermann Hreidarsson's harmless headed flick-on was hurriedly cleared on the volley by Moore. It struck the blameless Lee Bowyer and flew back past Given for an own goal after a passage of play that looked more suited to pinball than football.
Charlton went close again shortly after half-time when Jean-Alain Boumsong headed straight to Marcus Bent, who saw his shot saved by Given. Newcastle were even luckier when Marcus Bent evaded the offside trap to go one-on-one with the Newcastle keeper but his finish was shocking.
Ultimately it did not matter as Dennis Rommedahl skipped down the left, beyond Boumsong, and sent over a cross that Jay Bothroyd headed in, having arrived 47 seconds earlier as a substitute. "Woeful" was Roeder's description of how his team defended this and the two preceding goals.
Goals: Bent (24pen) 1-0; Parker (35) 1-1; Bowyer (37og) 2-1; Bothroyd (89) 3-1.
Charlton Athletic (4-4-2)Myhre; Young, Hreidarsson, Perry, Powell; Kishishev, Hughes, Holland, Thomas (Rommedahl, 77); D Bent, M Bent (Bothroyd, 88). Substitutes not used: Andersen (gk), Euell, Spector.
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Given; Carr, Ramage, Boumsong, Moore; Solano (Dyer, h-t), Parker, Bowyer, Emre; Shearer, Ameobi (N'Zogbia, 73). Substitutes not used: Harper (gk), Faye, Clark.
Referee: M Halsey (Lancashire).
Booked: Charlton Perry; Newcastle Carr.
Man of the match: Young.
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