Charlton 3 Newcastle Utd 1
CHARLTON: Myhre, Young, Perry, Hreidarsson, Powell, Kishishev,Holland, Hughes, Thomas (Rommedahl 76),Marcus Bent (Bothroyd 88), Darren Bent.
Subs Not Used: Andersen, Euell, Spector.
NEWCASTLE UTD: Given, Carr, Boumsong, Moore, Ramage,Solano (Dyer 45), Bowyer, Parker, Emre, Shearer,Ameobi (N'Zogbia 71).
Subs Not Used: Harper, Faye, Clark.
I loved the comment in the media following this match: 'poor defending continues to blight the club', as though it was the tactics at fault. The priority of the next manager who takes over the Toon 'poisoned chalice' is to bring in defender who can actually DEFEND! Because I don't think we've had a genuine leader in the back line since Bobby Moncur thirty-odd years ago!
Only last week we suggested Jean-Alain Boumsong was the player who gets managers the sack, yet following his one match suspension he's back in the side looking no better than he has been since the first day he walked into the club. But don't forget, Graeme Souness insists the Frenchman will be a star of the World Cup in the summer; and don't forget Blackburn Rovers are pushing for a Champions League spot, only 18 months after Souness left the club when they were bottom of the Premiership. Which shows how much Graeme Souness knows about defenders ... or football in general.
Scott Parker was back to face the boos from the fickle Cocknies, having left under a cloud to join Chelsea. It was only a shame the joy of his brilliant 35th-minute equaliser only lasted a matter of seconds before the Toon back-line had the Charlton fans singing again.
Newcastle started the brighter, and it was against the run of play that Charlton won the penalty in the 23rd minute to knock the stuffing out of the Geordies. Australian Craig Moore was making his first start for the club since the pre-season friendlies last summer, and his high tackle on Jerome Thomas left the referee with only one choice to make - was it inside or outside the box? Video footage shows the ref got it right, and Darren Bent struck his 20th goal of the season into the bottom-left corner past Shay Given.
Before Parker struck his wonder goal from 30 yards, Nolberto Solano found Stephen Carr on the right, and the Peruvian timed his run perfectly to collect Carr's low cross inside the penalty area - but could only guide an angled shot wide of the left post.
Then came the moment of magic - Parker collected Shearer's square pass from the left, and planted the ball right in the top-right corner before racing the length of the field to celebrate in front of the Newcastle fans.
But the delight was short-lived, as Charlton regained the lead in bizarre fashion 60 seconds later. After Hermann Hreidarsson had won Chris Perry's free-kick in the air, Moore whacked his clearance against the back-tracking Bowyer, who could only watch in horror as the ball cannoned into his own net from six yards.
Dyer was brought on in place of Solano for the second half, and was involved quickly, setting up Parker for a 25-yard shot that went high and wide. Dyer looked lively in the early stages of the second period, and in the 50th minute he set up Bowyer for a 15-yard effort that Hughes did well to block, before a deflection took the sting out of Ameobi's follow-up strike and Myhre claimed with ease.
But Alan Curbishley's team continued to attack in the final phase of the match, and scored their third when substitute Jay Bothroyd - with his first touch - headed in a near-post cross from fellow sub Dennis Rommedahl two minutes from full-time.