Wigan Athletic 3 Charlton Athletic 2: Dire defence offends Dowie

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The Independent Online

Another away day for Charlton Athletic, another defeat. Any hopes of a genuine lift-off following five Premiership and Carling Cup games unbeaten were scotched by appalling defending that will have Iain Dowie pulling out what's left of his hair.

Neither defence had been breached in three Premiership games but, in Charlton's case, the miserliness lasted only a further 13 minutes. And the tag "route one" barely did justice to the simplicity of the goal.

Chris Kirkland, who on Friday became the first fully fledged Wigan player to be named in a senior England squad, achieved good distance on a clearance that Souleymane Diawara misjudged badly in the blustery conditions, leaving Lee McCulloch to run on and drive home the bouncing ball.

The breakthrough would have come even earlier had Luke Young not been well positioned on the line to block Paul Scharner's header from a near-post Kevin Kilbane corner.

Charlton again had Darren Bent as a lone striker and, as the scorer of six of the seven League goals his side had managed before this weekend, he might have been better employed on the receiving end of the 30th-minute opening that was virtually the sum total of the visitors' first-half threat. Darren Bent's pace took him away from Arjan De Zeeuw on the right but his pull-back was ballooned off target by Jerome Thomas.

Wigan's second goal came in almost identical circumstances to the first. Another Kirkland clearance in open play was missed in the air by Diawara and McCulloch, and Camara capitalised with a tremendous looping right-foot shot on the run from just inside the area.

Errant defending provided Charlton's way back seven minutes into the second half. Andrew Webster marred his full home debut by failing to cut out a through ball by Diawara. Darren Bent shot and De Zeeuw's outstretched leg deflected the ball over Kirkland.

Almost immediately, with Charlton much more forceful following the half-time introduction of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Darren Bent beat his markers for pace, on this occasion he shrugged off Leighton Baines before hitting Kirkland's legs.

The turnaround prompted Paul Jewell to make two substitutions in quick succession but it was the arrival of Matt Jackson some time later that put the game to bed, the defender - on his 150th League appearance for the club - headed in Kilbane's excellent free-kick from the right.

Jackson's goal proved necessary as Marcus Bent, on as a substitute, struck Charlton's second deep in stoppage time.

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