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By Matthew Stott at Portman Road
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Championship: Ipswich Town 1 Charlton Athletic 2
Ricardo Fuller marked his full Charlton debut with a vital second-half goal in a starring performance as Chris Powell’s side ended a run of three consecutive defeats.
Two early second-half goals from captain Johnnie Jackson and the striker put Charlton in a deserved lead before Jason Scotland’s deflected effort set-up a grandstand finish – but the visitors held firm.
Former Stoke City and Portsmouth striker Fuller had made three impressive substitute appearances since his switch from Stoke, scoring on his debut against Nottingham Forest and inspiring late spirited efforts in other defeats to Derby and Crystal Palace.
Charlton started the day just one place above their opponents in third-bottom and defenders Rhoys Wiggins and Matt Taylor remained sidelined while Jordan Cook and veteran midfielder Andy Hughes also missed the trip to Suffolk.
The visitors had the best of the opening cagey exchanges and Leon Cort nodded down a corner to set-up Bradley Wright-Phillips but his sixth-minute shot was blocked from 12 yards.
Scotland fired just wide from the edge of the box moments later as the hosts tested the mettle of Charlton’s defence
They passed this early test and Danny Green, who was unplayable in Charlton’s spirited midweek 3-2 loss away to Derby, was riddling the Ipswich rearguard with dangerous crosses on the counter-attack down the right flank.
The 24-year-old played a fine one-two with Lawrie Wilson and whistled a clean strike into the side-netting from a tight angle in the 12th minute.
His enterprising forays seemed to reignite his team-mates and Fuller produced some excellent footwork to evade his marker and find Wright-Phillips on the six-yard line, but his 16th minute shot was well blocked.
Leon Court headed inches wide from a Jackson corner and Dale Stephens thundered a 30-yard strike which was well-saved just before the half-hour mark as the away side started to find their attacking groove.
Jackson had the ball in the back of the net soon after but not for the first time this season it was ruled out – but correctly so following a Wright-Phillips foul in the box.
The rest of the half meandered to an uneventful close, deceiving the supporters for what was about to happen after the interval.
Starting slow and finishing strong has been a worrying theme for Powell’s side in September. The Addicks would have been ninth in the table on 10 points – rather than third-bottom on five – before today’s win if the last 20 minutes of the three preceding fixtures were only recorded.
But they started the second half like an express train. Stephens swept out a brilliant pass to Green, whose in-swinging cross just evaded Wright-Phillips before Salim Kerkar pulled it back for Jackson to smash home from three yards to break the deadlock.
Two minutes later Fuller doubled the advantage for Powell’s charges with a low and unerring strong finish. Green dispossessed an unwary Aaron Cresswell and fed the Jamaican international into box who lashed home.
Two goals in four superb second-half minutes saw boos from the home supporters encircle Portman Road as their unwanted guests threatened to pull clear, weaving a tapestry of attacking beauty.
But suddenly Town halved the deficit following a heavily deflected Scotland strike off Michael Morrison, which wrong-footed Ben Hamer and gave the home side a crucial boost.
Fuller continued to probe, pester and power through Town’s lukewarm defence but Scotland was leading the Ipswich charge the other end, forcing Hamer into several difficult stops.
Stephens almost sealed all three points late on but Scott Loach saved his low effort as Charlton, who have not lost four in a row since March 2011, collected a well-earned away win with Blackburn to entertain at home next Saturday.
Ipswich: Loach, Cresswell, Chambers, Edwards (c), Drury, Emmanuel-Thomas (Ellington 46), Martin, Luongo, Smith (Higginbotham 90), Murphy (Carson 79), Scotland.
Unused subs: Lee-Barrett, N’Daw, Hyam, Ainsley.
Charlton: Hamer, Wilson, Court, (c), Morrison, Solly, Green, Stephens, Jackson, Kerkar (Pritchard 82) Wright-Phillips, Fuller.
Unused subs: Button, Evina, Haynes, Wagstaff, Hollands, Dervite.
Referee: Martin Atkinson