Johansson double keeps cage firmly closed for Canaries

Charlton Athletic 4 - Norwich City 0
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The Independent Online

Four goals and a lively performance against a Norwich side embarrassingly poor in defence indicated that Charlton's win at Tottenham was indeed a sign of better things.

Four goals and a lively performance against a Norwich side embarrassingly poor in defence indicated that Charlton's win at Tottenham was indeed a sign of better things.

With Jonatan Johansson claiming the first two and Jerome Thomas again in bewitching form, Charlton were in command against a side who have now gone 13 games without a win on their return to the top division.

Charlton's only change from the side that won at Tottenham was an enforced one, Kevin Lisbie replacing the suspended Shaun Bartlett, and they rapidly picked up where they had left off at White Hart Lane, with sweeping, attractive attacks exposing some creakiness in the Norwich back line.

Danny Murphy in particular relished the broad avenues available into which he could run or deliver telling passes, while Thomas, the recruit from Arsenal, again sparkled on the left side.

His first contribution was a cross to the near post which Robert Green unaccountably fumbled. He was lucky to find no Charlton shirt lurking, but not so fortunate when he hurt a leg in colliding with a team-mate as he scrambled to recover possession.

Dean Kiely needed to move quickly to his left to grab a Gary Holt header from Leon McKenzie's centre, but it was a lone threat in the face of increasingly confident Charlton play.

They were in front from a set-piece with a quarter of an hour gone. Talal El Karkouri floated a high, deep free-kick in from the right, the tall Hermann Hreidarsson rose to nod it forward and Johansson got between two defenders to apply the finishing touch with his head.

In another five minutes the Finland striker scored again. Thomas supplied the cross for a Murphy header which was repelled, but not held, by the diving Green, leaving Johansson to ram the ball home.

With Norwich in a state of near-collapse in defence, Charlton could have gone three up. Murphy directed a crossfield ball to Johansson on the right and his low cross missed Lisbie's outstretched boot by inches. Next Damien Francis, supposedly back to help his defence, managed only to confuse them by losing possession to Thomas, who again provided the ammunition for a Murphy shot which was blocked.

The introduction of David Bentley for the second half enlivened Norwich. He sent a free-kick just too high, and then McKenzie's side-foot past Kiely was ruled offside, to the dismay of the large visiting contingent who helped to make the attendance of 27,057 Charlton's best ever in the Premiership.

Green, suffering the effects of his early knock, gave way on the hour to Darren Ward, who pulled off a stunning save when Murphy's free-kick swerved late through a crowded goal area.

Norwich had more than their share of the second half, but Charlton struck again with a quarter of an hour left. Luke Young crossed, Johansson failed to connect but Paul Konchesky, who had replaced Lisbie, scored at the far post with his first touch.

Another offside flag against McKenzie's second effort to find the net indicated it was not Norwich's day, and this was underlined two minutes from the end as Johansson surged down the left and crossed for another Charlton substitute, Jason Euell, to side-foot in on the volley.

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