Parker the provider as Charlton keep up pace

Charlton Athletic 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0
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The Independent Online

Victory in what their manager, Alan Curbishley, called "a strange old game" kept Charlton in fourth place in the Premiership thanks to a brace of goals by Jason Euell. After his first, bitterly disputed as offside, Wolves seized command after the interval and should have levelled the match before they were undone by Euell's second - a rebound gift. "Until we got the second goal, we had it all to do to hold on," Curbishley said. This was Charlton's sixth in a row in the League without defeat.

In addition to the skills of Parker, which had home fans calling for his selection for England, Charlton were indebted to Dean Kiely. A week ago the keeper had a nightmare in the Cup at Gillingham but he atoned with stunning stops, particularly in the second half as Wolves chased the point they had clearly come for, since they have not won away all season.

With their captain, Paul Ince, back after a viral problem and beefing up a five-man midfield, Wolves left Nathan Blake on his own up front. It could have paid off early, as Ince set up Alex Rae for a cross which Blake headed well to Kiely's left, only for the keeper to produce a plunging save.

With Paolo Di Canio pirouetting and darting to distracting effect, Charlton opened up a few avenues and Michael Oakes twice saved well from the Italian before Euell missed the simplest of chances from almost under the bar. He did not miss the next offering, though Wolves were incensed that the linesman kept his flag down as Di Canio slipped Euell clear. So angry was Ince that he got himself booked by hectoring Mr Styles at half-time. Curbishley's view was that Euell had been played onside by Denis Irwin on the other side of the field, adding: "Play that offside trap and you are going to lose some."

Having lost Lee Naylor with ligament damage just before the interval, Wolves came out hunting and could have been level inside a minute as Henri Camara's drive was blocked by Chris Perry. With Camara running dangerously and Rae again in excellent form, Wolves began to find gaps in a defence which Curbishley said was looking tired after so many games in quick succession.

The former Charlton man, Shaun Newton, darted into space and unleashed a shot which took a huge deflection off Perry. But Kiely changed direction brilliantly to beat it aside, following that with another superb stop from Blake at the near post. Wolves, too, were starting to run out of steam and they were punished 11 minutes from the end. Parker and Di Canio passed their way through the defence, and Irwin's attempt to clear bounced off Euell and in.

It could have been three. Carlton Cole replaced Di Canio to set Parker clear, only for Ince to somehow galvanise himself for a wonderful blocking tackle. "But any more goals would have been unjust," said Curbishley, "because if they had got back to 1-1 it might have been a bit different. Wolves are playing better than their league position suggests but they have to win a game as soon as possible. They have given us as good a game as any of the top sides who have been to The Valley so far."

As for Charlton's League position, he said: "The big boys are breathing down our neck. Liverpool and Newcastle make up the top five because of their size and tradition and we are still little old Charlton."

Charlton Athletic 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 0
Euell 38, 79

Half-time: 1-0 Attendance: 26,148

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