Charlton 0-1 Crystal Palace
9:45pm Friday 14th September 2012 in Sport
By George Jones and Paul Green
KAGISHO Dikgacoi’s early second half goal was enough to earn Crystal Palace the south east London derby bragging rights over Charlton.
The Addicks reverted to the side which started their opening three games back in the Championship.
Ben Hamer took his place in goal, with a back four of former Eagles Rhoys Wiggins and Leon Cort, Michael Morrison and Chris Solly.
Club captain Johnnie Jackson retained his place on the left with Danny Hollands just inside of him, the returning Dale Stephens lined up along side fellow engine roomer Hollands with Bradley Pritchard occupying the right-hand-side.
Yann Kermorgant was up top along side last terms top goal scorer and son of former Palace striker Ian – who was in attendance, Bradley Wright-Phillips.
The visitors lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Julian Speroni was between the sticks.
New signings Damien Delaney and Darcy Blake were in the back four along with Jonathan Parr and Peter Ramage.
In front of them was the holding pair of skipper Mile Jedinak and South African Dikgacoi, young hot shot Wilfried Zaha took his place out wide on the right, with Yannick Bolasie on the other flank.
Owen Garvan was inside of both wingers and provided the main support to loan frontman Glen Murray.
The Addicks mustered the first attempt on goal when the overlapping Wiggins whipped in a cross from the left but Pritchard could only head tamely at Speroni.
Dikgacoi could’ve opened the scoring for the visitors but he blazed over on seven minutes.
Wiggins slid in on Zaha but the winger wriggled away and cut the ball back to the onrushing midfielder, but he smashed over.
Pritchard again proved to be a threat on 10 minutes, Stephens threaded a lovely pass through to Wiggins and the left back’s first time cross was met on the volley by the outstretched leg of Pritchard, but under pressure from Parr he could only prod behind.
A minute later however Palace should’ve gone in front. Zaha again got another low ball in which was spilled by Hamer, Murray and then Garvan attempted to turn the loose ball over the line but it was hacked away by Cort.
A number of decisions then went against the Addicks with Kermorgant, Wright-Phillips and Wiggins all being clearly fouled but nothing was awarded by referee Tony Bates to the frustration of the home crowd.
As a result of one of those challenges Wiggins limped off and was replaced by Lawrie Wilson who took his place at right-back, with Solly moving across to the left.
The game was becoming increasingly heated and ref Bates had words with Pritchard and Jedinak who tangled after the ball had gone, before Bolasie smahed over on 27 minutes following a neat bit of skill to buy half a hard wide on the left.
Wright-Phillips had the ball in the net for the home side on 32 minutes, but it was chalked off for offside. Wilson hooked a long free-kick into the danger zone, Cort headed back across goal and Wright-Phillips was on hand to nod in, but was ajudged to have strayed beyond the last defender.
Bates then went down under a challenge from Hollands and Jedinak eight minutes before the interval, as he stood right in the way of the action.
Five minutes before the break Stephens fizzed over from 30-yards when he found himself with a bit of space.
Zaha, who in the mean time had switched to the left-hand-side dragged wide after twisting to-and-throw against Wilson.
In the first additional minute a good challenge from on halfway Pritchard dispossessed Jedinak, Wright-Phillips raced away and after Delaney had brought him down Jackson stepped up to take the free-kick 20 yards out, but he curled the ball into the arms of Speroni.
The half-time entertainment was provided by the Brut Man Up challenge, a penalty shootout where five lucky fans, including a News Shopper competition winner, took penalties against former Addicks keeper Bob Bolder.
The second half started at a frenetic pace and Palace won a couple of corners before they took the lead in the 51st minute when Delaney headed into Dikgacoi’s path and he cleverly fired a powerful shot past Hamer to send the visiting fans behind the goal into ecstasy.
Hamer had to be alert to keep out Bolasie’s stinging 53rd minute shot and Murray headed over from a corner moments later as the Eagles looked to increase their advantage.
Jackson was replaced by Ricardo Fuller in the 59th minute as Chris Powell opted to go three up front.
Fuller came close to equalising four minutes later as he headed just wide from fellow substitute Wilson’s delivery.
Jedinak was booked for a cynical trip on Fuller 30 yards out but Kermorgant’s free-kick was never going to trouble Speroni in a million years as it flew harmlessly behind.
Bolasie was next to enter the referee’s book for kicking the ball away and Charlton were unlucky not to draw level when the free-kick was whipped into the area, Cort headed on and Hollands shot wide from inside the six yard box.
Bolasie was replaced by Jonathan Williams in the 74th minute and three minutes later Powell made his final change by throwing on Danny Green for Pritchard.
Cort made a vital block to deflect Garvan’s 80th minute shot behind for a corner before Stephens fired harmlessly over at the other end after being picked out by Solly.
Charlton should have drew level in the 83rd minute when Wilosn’s low cross found Fuller in plenty of space but he fired just wide, then moments later the former Stoke strike striker headed over.
Murray came off for Aaron Wilbraham on 87 minutes and Speroni had to punch clear a Stephens free-kick before four minutes of stoppage time were signalled.
In the third minute of time added on Fuller’s shot came off the bar before being scrambled behind.
Hamer came up for the corner and only a spectacular clearance off the line by Garvan denied Charlton’s most unlikely of scorers a dramatic leveller.
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