Charlton fielded an unchanged side at Victoria Park today on a sunny and mild but quite windy day reports Paul May with both sides lining up 4-4-2. The early exchanges were inconclusive, although Ben Hamer had to make a couple of decent saves. Horwood was active for Hartlepool. A shot by Wright-Phillips from over 30 yards out sailed well over.
Wiggins kept the ball in well, put a great ball in and an unmarked Wright-Phillips calmly and clinically stroked the ball into the corner of the net. This was the first attack of the game of any note by either side.
A shot by Kermorgant was blocked. Hughes headed the ball out for a Hartlepool corner. The corner was an inswinging one, but it was eventually cleared. Hartlepool won a second corner after a throw into a congested six yard box. The ball was hacked away by Solly to safety.
Jackson provided some great play, Green went on a run, was brought down but didn’t get a decision.
A Hartlepool free kick was cleared and Charlton were able to handle the subsequent pressure. Murray put in an effort that was closer to the corner flag than the goal.
A pinpoint cross by Hughes was intercepted by Kermorgant but to his disappointment he headed the ball wide. Boyd advanced down the right but Taylor came across and intercepted well. In follow up play, Taylor had to put the ball behind for a corner. It was cleared well, but it was not possible to fashion a counter attack. A shot by Nish for Hartlepool was wide.
Kermorgant was brought down by a poor challenge in the centre circle. The free kick hung in the wind. Kermorgant headed the ball across the penalty area, but Hartlepool cleared.
The game entered a rather flat phase. An effort by Boyd from the edge of the box required a good catch from Hamer diving to his right. Green put a great ball in, but Scott Flinders in the Hartlepool goal anticipated it well.
The Addicks mounted a good attack, but Hartlepool were just about able to clear. Kermorgant dealt with a Hartlepool attack, being fouled in the process.
A Hartlepool free kick from Harwood was an awful waste for the home side as the ball soared over everyone. Taylor dealt well with a Hartlepool attempt to attack.
A great ball was chipped into the box by Wiggins and Wright-Phillips calmly volleyed the ball into the roof of the net to make it 0-2. It was a superb goal.
Great defending by the Addicks closed Hartlepool down. A cross came in but Solly was well positioned to deal with it.
Hartlepool put together one of their first decent moves, winning a corner after the shot was deflected. The corner was unproductive.
Half time: Monkey Hangers 0, Addicks 2
The Addicks started with some good passing play. Hartlepool tried to apply some pressure, but the effort was not matched by any real quality. They did not impress in the final third.
Hollands made an effort, but couldn’t control his header as he would have wished. Nevertheless, he was applauded by the 353 Addickted behind the goal for trying. Hartlepool tried some high long balls, but to no effect.
Kermorgant was brought down on the right just outside the penalty area. From the free kick Jackson headed home to make it 3-0 to the Addicks. Hartlepool made two substitutions but stuck to 4-4-2.
Hughes made a timely interception just outside the penalty area and the Addicks turned defence into attack. Wiggins made a great run, Jackson put in a great cross but no one was able to connect.
Wright-Phillips and Kermorgant combined well, but they were crowded out. Taylor read a good ball from substitute Luscombe well. Wiggins continued to play very well in attack and defence. Morrison was excellent at the back.
Hartlepool applied some pressure, but there was no way past Morrison and Taylor. Solly made a good move on the right, but couldn’t deliver a good enough cross. Green went down on the deck.
Green, who had not stood out, was replaced by Wagstaff. Murray put in a cross, but Nish was very tightly marked by Wiggins who steered the ball out for a corner which was headed away once, then twice. Finally, Wagstaff had the ball out of the right.
Hamer punched a high centre clear and may have been slightly injured when he landed on the small of his back. Poole tried to score but was tightly marked. Sullivan started to warm up. Hamer did a few exercises to check his back.
The sun went in behind the clouds and some of the home support started to drift out of the ground with nearly quarter of an hour to go. Some thirty or forty seagulls came to see what the table toppers were made of.
Kermorgant was clattered again and Collins received a yellow card. Paul Hayes came on in place of the Breton.
Charlton conceded a necessary corner, Hughes covered the situation well. Hamer punched the ball decisively. Hayes cut the ball back to Wagstaff who put it in the back of the net to make it 4-0.
Hartlepool threatened to get a consolation but Nish put the ball into the side netting. Hollands came off to be congratulated by Chris Powell and Jason Euell came on.
Wright-Phillips put in a powerful screamer as he sought his hat trick and the ball went into the Addickted. The seagulls returned to join in the celebrations.
Hartlepool were poor, but this was a great win nevertheless. A clean sheet, no bookings. Charlton were the better side in every area of the pitch. You’ve gotta believe it: this side could win promotion.
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