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16:55 17th October 2009


Two set-pieces did for Town at the Valley as Charlton went to the top of League One, but the Terriers performed very well against one of the better sides in the division and had enough of the play to warrant at least a draw.

After Sam Sodje had put the home side ahead early on, Anthony Pilkington (pictured) levelled with a superb free-kick. Izale McLeod restored Charlton's advantage in the opening minutes of the second half but the Terriers fought back and home custodian Elliot had to make some important saves to keep his side ahead.

Charlton created the first half-chance of the game in just the second minute. Midfielder Racon's persistence down the Town left earned his side a corner and from Spring's near post delivery, defender Sam Sodje stooped and sent a diving header over the crossbar from fifteen yards out.

Town fought back quickly after Sodje failed to deal with Collins' ball over the top; Novak intelligently tried to lift a right-footed volley over 'keeper Elliot from range, but sent the ball sailing over the crossbar.

A positive run down the left from Roberts in the 7th minute saw him find Rhodes with a ball into the area and after defender Dailly did well to rob the Town striker of possession, 'Robbo' sent a right-footed curler from the edge of the box inches over the bar.

GOAL - However, Town had failed to heed the early warning that Charlton had given them on corners and Sam Sodje put the home side ahead in the 8th minute. Nathan Clarke had to clear a low cross from Racon behind for a right-sided corner and after Spring delivered another good ball into the box, the defender jumped unopposed and powered a header in from near the penalty spot.

Lee Clark was urging his side to refocus after the early setback and his players responded - first a long throw from Clarke caused havoc in the Charlton area in the 13th minute before Novak intelligently flicked on a clearance from Smithies that allowed Rhodes to power a volley over the bar four minutes later.

Charlton striker Izale McLeod seemed more interested in throwing himself around on the floor than playing football and had a penalty claim turned down by the referee after running into the back of Nathan Clarke.

Williams then found Collins with a pass to feet on the edge of the area and although the midfielder turned smartly before side-stepping his marker, he sent his low curler wide of the far post.

Town were bossing play and pushing the hosts back into their own half, which was leading to some frustrated groans from the home supporters. Wingers Roberts and Pilkington had switched flanks and were seeing plenty of the ball, just as manager Clark likes it.

Novak was inches away from finding strike partner Rhodes with a headed knock down in the six yard box in the 32nd minute from Pilkington's brilliant cross, but veteran Dailly made a vital interception.

Set-piece specialist Williams then tested goalkeeper Elliot to his limits a minute later with a superb free-kick from 28 yards out after Collins had been tripped, but the custodian did well to turn the ball around the post as it arrowed towards the bottom corner.

After another Clarke long throw caused mayhem in the 36th minute the ball was cleared out to the edge of the box, where Kay sent a brilliantly struck first-time volley back towards goal. Unfortunately for him, it sailed straight into the hands of the 'keeper.

The Terriers were mauling the hosts by this point and Roberts' low drive was deflected inches wide of the post by a defender a minute later, before Novak prodded a near post corner wide from the following set-piece.

GOAL - Town got a deserved equaliser in the 39th minute courtesy of a spectacular free-kick from Anthony Pilkington. The Terriers were awarded a free-kick 25 yards from goal after Collins was flattened by Spring when trying to thread a pass through to Rhodes, allowing the winger to step up and fire a superb bending effort past the goalkeeper's dive and in off the far post for his fourth of the season.

Charlton midfielder Racon sent a speculative left-foot drive well wide after the restart after doing well to cut inside from Town's left side.

Novak then found the onrushing Roberts with a great ball down the right channel but on his weaker foot the winger could only hit his shot straight at the goalkeeper.

BOOKNG - Charlton midfielder Matthew Spring was booked by referee East in the 44th minute after bringing down Jordan Rhodes, but the yellow card was definitely for an accumulation of offences throughout the half.

The man in the middle blew the whistle for half-time soon afterwards and it was the fans in the away end who were chanting as the players walked off. After switching off at a set-piece and falling behind early on, Clark's team had responded brilliantly and outplayed their second-placed opponents before scoring a deserved equaliser.


SUB - Matt Spring was replaced by Jose Semedo for the home side during the half-time break.

Town were on the attack early in the second-half, but Novak's pass to the edge of the area was a little too strong for Roberts and all the winger could do was scoop a first-time effort into the Town fans behind the goal.

GOAL - Charlton scored from another set-piece in the 49th minute, with Izale McLeod netting a simple effort. Peltier fouled Bailey in the centre circle and when Dailly launched a long ball into the area, that man Sodje rose highest to nod the ball back across goal - leaving the striker with the simple task of guiding the ball past the stranded Smithies with his head from just eight yards out.

The Addicks looked potent from dead ball situations and Smithies had to collect the ball in the 52nd minute after striker Burton nodded Bailey's corner back towards goal at the far post.

Town fought back and only a brave challenge from Dailly prevented Kay from heading Pilkington's excellent cross in at the back post a minute later. The Terriers had the ball in the net from Roberts' resulting corner, but Peter Clarke's towering near post header was ruled out as the referee had already blown his whistle for a foul.

Charlton then broke up the pitch in the 57th minute after a Roberts free-kick was cleared and winger Sam sent a good ball into the path of Racon inside the area - only for the unlikely figure of Roberts to pop-up with a superb last ditch tackle!

Pilkington then missed a great chance to put his side back on level terms in the 59th minute. Novak did well to find Roberts down the left and he fired a great ball across the face of goal that 'Pilks' managed to turn over from practically underneath the crossbar. Left-back Youga deserved some credit for putting the Town man under heavy pressure.

Roberts and Peltier combined well down Town's right side on the 67th minute to set up Novak inside the area and after his shot was blocked by a defender, Kay sent a measured curler just over the crossbar of 'keeper Elliot.

Charlton skipper Bailey then picked out McLeod with a great pass a minute later and the striker was unlucky to see his shot fly over the bar after doing so well to bring the ball under his control.

Town fought back immediately and after a corner was half-cleared by the head of Sodje, the home goalkeeper could only stand and watch as Rhodes headed Kay's cross back into the box inches wide of the right-hand post from the penalty spot.

Smithies did well to turn Sam's powerful cross-come-shot away a minute later as the game started to open up.

BOOKING - Gary Roberts was booked by the referee in the 73rd minute for a late sliding challenge on left-back Youga.

Peltier then did very well to climb above Bailey to win a header on halfway - and Roberts did even better to take the ball in his stride and breeze past Youga. As he entered the area he cleverly flicked the ball left to Rhodes, but from just twelve yards out Town's top scorer saw his shot saved by the left of the goalkeeper.

BOOKING - Lee Peltier picked up his second booking of the season in the 76th minute for a late challenge on Bailey.

SUB - Lee Clark made a double change in the 77th minute, with Theo Robinson and Lionel Ainsworth replacing Gary Roberts and Lee Novak.

SUB - Charlton also took the opportunity to replace Lloyd Sam with Scott Wagstaff.

SUB - Peltier had been injured in his previous clash with Bailey and had to be replaced in the 78th minute by James Berrett, who moved straight into the vacant right-back role.

As Town pressed for an equaliser Smithies had to stay alert and he did well to smother a low drive from Racon in the 85th minute.

SUB - Izale McLeod was replaced by David Mooney in the 89th minute.

A flurry of late corners, taken by Ainsworth and Pilkington, caused a few hairy moments for Charlton during the five minutes of added time but the best Town could manage was a header way over the bar from Peter Clarke and the Addicks took all three points to go to the top of League One.


Town's Team (4-4-2):

Alex Smithies; Robbie Williams, Peter Clarke (c), Nathan Clarke, Lee Peltier (James Berrett 78); Gary Roberts (Theo Robinson 77), Antony Kay, Michael Collins, Anthony Pilkington; Lee Novak (Lionel Ainsworth 77), Jordan Rhodes

Unused Subs: Matt Glennon, Jim Goodwin, Andy Butler, Danny Drinkwater

Town Bookings: Gary Roberts (73), Lee Peltier (76)

Charlton Bookings: Matthew Spring (44), Izale McLeod (49)

Attendance: 16,991

Visitors: 1,378

    Data provided by Press Association


    Town was the first club to win three successive league titles in 1926. Only Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United have matched this feat.