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Charlton 2-2 Fulham: Cottagers keep fighting

last updated Wednesday 27th December 2006, 11:15 PM
Match Stats Charlton Fulham
Goals 2 2
Possession 45% 55%
Goal attempts 12 17
On Target 7 9
Corners 4 9
Off-sides 6 2
Fouls 14 15
Yellows 0 0
Reds 0 0
source: Soccernet

A stoppage-time goal from Franck Queudrue robbed Alan Pardew of a winning start to his career as Charlton manager.

First-half goals from Darren Ambrose and Darren Bent looked to have given him the perfect beginning but Queudrue struck in the closing seconds to earn Fulham a point they hardly deserved.

Pardew may have inherited a side seemingly doomed to relegation from the Premiership but his optimism will have been cheered by a performance that was underpinned by the same kind of teamwork which served him so well when he was in charge of Reading and West Ham.

He will have been even more impressed by the way they overcame the loss of an early goal - especially with former Hearts defender Steven Pressley watching from the stands.

Pressley, now a free agent after leaving the Scottish Premier League following a bust-up with Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov, is expected to hold talks with Pardew about a move to the Valley in the next 24 hours.

Pardew's need for a commanding central defender was clearly evident after just 12 minutes of his first game when Fulham opened the scoring through Brian McBride.

Darren Ambrose needlessly gave away a free-kick with a foul on Michael Brown and when Wayne Routledge sent over the free-kick Queudrue headed the ball off the crossbar only for the lurking McBride to punish the home side by slotting home the rebound.

But the lead lasted for just six minutes before Ambrose atoned for his misdemeanour and equalised.

Fulham goalkeeper Antti Niemi failed to deal with a wayward shot from Jerome Thomas and Ambrose took full advantage by driving the ball home off the inside of the right-hand upright.

The goal provided Charlton with the kind of confidence Pardew will want them to build on and in the 23rd minute Marcus Bent sent a left-foot volley wide of the far post.

Charlton had a lucky escape in the 29th minute though when Talal El Karkouri was penalised for climbing all over McBride and referee Graham Poll awarded the visitors a free-kick 25-yards out.

Routledge, who had already worried the home defence with two previous efforts, caused consternation once more when his curling effort evaded everyone before bouncing just past the post.

Charlton thought they had taken the lead in the 31st minute but Darren Bent's effort was ruled out by Poll for offside.

In the 38th minute Carson had to be alert to cut out a low cross from Queudrue as the gave descended into a mediocre affair dominated more by Poll's whistle than the attacking prowess of either side.

However, Charlton demonstrated they still had plenty of verve when Marcus Bent tested Niemi with a 25-yard effort which the Fulham goalkeeper did well to hold at the first attempt.

Charlton's passing was often erratic and but despite being handed the ball back on numerous occasions, Chris Coleman's side lacked the penetrative edge to punish their struggling opponents.

But it was the home side who went in front second before the interval thanks to a howler from Carlos Bocanegra and Moritz Volz. the Fulham defenders left Carson's lone punt upfield to each other and Darren Bent nipped into slot the ball home.

Pardew made his first substitution at the interval when he opted to replace the ineffective Jerome Thomas with Dennis Rommedahl.

Charlton should have extended their lead in the 48th minute when Marcus Bent's dummy of the edge of the penalty set up Ambrose perfectly.

However, the Charlton midfielder took one touch too many before firing a shot wide of the target.

In the 55th minute the home side again squandered a fine chance to put the game beyond their visitors when the ball fell to Matt Holland on the edge of the penalty area.

However, instead of making Fulham pay for their slack marking, the Charlton midfielder hit a tame shot straight at Niemi.

In the 62nd minute Charlton's Radostin Kishishev blocked the onrushing Heidar Helguson on the edge of the penalty area but Fulham failed to make the most of their advantage and Charlton's defensive wall cleared the danger.

With the home fans waiting to cheer Pardew's first victory in charge, Queudrue spoiled the party when he despatched a right-foot shot into the corner in the third minute of added time after a controversially-awarded free-kick wide on Fulham`s right when the assistant referee ruled Djimi Traore had handballed when it was in fact Tomasz Radzinski.

Charlton: Carson, Sankofa, El Karkouri, Hreidarsson, Traore, Ambrose (Hughes 74), Kishishev, Holland, Thomas (Rommedahl 45), Marcus Bent (Hasselbaink 82), Darren Bent.
Subs Not Used: Myhre, Fortune.

Goals: Ambrose 19, Darren Bent 45.

Fulham: Niemi, Rosenior, Christanval, Bocanegra, Queudrue, Routledge, Volz (Claus Jensen 74), Brown, Radzinski, Helguson (John 65), McBride.
Subs Not Used: Lastuvka, Runstrom, Zakuani.

McBride 13
, left-footed into top-left of goal from left side of six-yard box. Assist header by Carlos Bocanegra from centre of penalty area.

Queudrue 90 volleyed right-footed into bottom-left of goal from the centre of penalty area 12 yards out. Handball by Djimi Traore. Direct free kick taken right-footed by Michael Brown.

Att: 25,203.

Ref: G Poll (Hertfordshire).











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