FULL-TIME: Charlton Athletic 1 Ipswich Town 2
Charlton v Ipswich: A clinical and professional first half display was followed by a resolute backs-to-the-wall job as the Blues won 2-1 to earn an impressive three points at Charlton.
DJ Campbell had already missed a penalty before finding the net for the ninth time in 15 games before strike partner Daryl Murphy scored a second just as the first half was entering injury time.
It was then Town’s to lose but Charlton hit back strongly in the second half.
Danny Haynes, the ‘Canary Crusher’ when at Portman Road, set up a grandstand finish after striking home a penalty in the 72nd minute but the Blues hung on to give 1,319 travelling fans some Boxing Day cheer.
After hinting at changes, Mick McCarthy kept an unchanged team for the fourth consecutive match while his counterpart, Chris Powell, introduced four new names following back-to-back 2-0 defeats on the road.
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On 18 minutes, and with little between the two teams, the visitors were rightly awarded a penalty.
Martin beat Chris Solly but seemed to show too much of the ball to Emmanuel Frimpong, only to nick it ahead of the Arsenal man’s lunge.
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It was just in the area, but there was little complaint in what was Town’s fifth penalty in an incredible seven games.
DJ Campbell, who has taken all of them, went his usual way, to Ben Hamer’s right, but missed the target to make it three successes and now two failures from 12 yards.
Just 60 seconds later, the Town striker had an instant chance to make amends when he was fed by Andy Drury but Campbell could only poke the ball at Hamer’s onrushing body.
Buoyed by the let-offs, Charlton looked to hit back with Ricardo Fuller and Rob Hulse making life uncomfortable for Luke Chambers and Tommy Smith.
The closest they came when Dale Stephens cannoned a free kick off the post from 25 yards.
A fairly even and enterprising match was livened up by the game’s first goal in the 34th minute – and it went to Ipswich.
Martin was again the architect, combining well with Campbell before his deflected cross was again skewed by Edwards.
The ricochet fell to Murphy whose tidy cut-back was pounced on by his striker partner to calmly side-foot the ball from whence it came.
They doubled their lead in first-half injury time. Campbell and Martin again played crucial roles, the striker robbing Stephens of the ball and feeding the bright winger.
His shot from the edge of the box was brilliantly palmed away by Hamer but only into the path of Murphy who made no mistake from the rebound.
Grabbing a second at such a crucial time, the match was Town’s to lose.
Predictably, Charlton looked for a quick start after the interval and were certainly in the ascendancy for most of the second 45 minutes.
Backed by the boisterous home faithful, the only thing missing was clear-cut chances.
Rob Hulse got above Chambers but could only direct Solly’s cross into the arms of Henderson who then proceeded to have a shaky last half an hour, not easing tensions with his inability to deal with high crosses.
In the 72nd minute, the Addicks finally got through when Martin, the hero of the first half, turned into a temporary villain when he hacked Solly down in the area, Haynes dispatching the penalty with some aplomb.
Charlton poured forward, but Town deserve great credit for defending so manfully.
When the hosts did get through, Rob Hulse was denied by Henderson’s body before Stephens curled another dangerous free kick just wide.
The same midfielder and sub Yann Kermorgant both failed to hit the target late on as Ipswich hung on to make it four points from six over the festive period and continue to head in the right direction.