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Leicester City 1-2 Charlton
SUPER sub Danny Haynes halted Charlton’s slump in form in tremendous fashion with a goal-of-the-season contender to sink promotion hopefuls Leicester at the King Power Stadium.
Chris Powell launched his coaching career with the Foxes, but now boasts a league double over them, with his men’s seventh away win of the season starting with notorious Leicester old boy Yann Kermorgant breaking the deadlock after a Danny Drinkwater error.
Goal machine Chris Wood levelled the scores in the second half, but Haynes’ fantastic turn and finish proved decisive and gave the Addicks a much-needed win to end a month of frustration.
The high-flying Foxes were widely expected to enjoy the attacking control of this fixture, and began as such when Anthony Knockaert survived two challenges to enter the Charlton area and force a decent parry from Ben Hamer with just a couple of minutes on the clock.
Employing Kermorgant as a lone forward gave Charlton’s midfielders licence to stride forward, and Bradley Pritchard wasted no time putting pressure on the home back line more than once and sending a curling drive marginally off-target after seven minutes.
Leicester’s own jaded ex-Charlton academy graduate Paul Konchesky was slipped inside from the left wing by Ben Marshall’s clever ball soon after, but his cut-back from the byline was half-cleared before skipper Wes Morgan headed the follow-up delivery over.
Though the early tempo settled down a little from there, the opening goal came in the 19thminute and put the visitors ahead.
Scott Wagstaff had lost possession despite managing to keep an over hit through ball from going out for a goal kick.
But a nightmarish attempt to play their way out from the back saw the hosts virtually give the ball to a lurking Pritchard, who teed up Kermorgant to stick it to his former employers once again.
Leicester pressed for parity for the remainder of the half and after his role in Hull’s winning goal over the Addicks at the weekend, Ben Hamer had the travelling support in a panic when he spilled Marshall’s speculative drive on 37 before eventually recovering the ball.
Moments later, Ritchie De Laet skipped past the returning Rhoys Wiggins and Wagstaff, only to see his cross blasted safely over by Knockaert from 15 yards.
After operating in a pragmatically-defensive manner for much of the first half, Charlton began the second with a little more eagerness to launch counter-attacks.
They could have doubled their lead on 49 minutes when Kermorgant played Pritchard in, only for the Zimbabwean to blaze over from outside the box.
Kasper Schmeichel made a complete hash of a long free-kick into the danger zone soon after, but made amends with a vital save when another former Fox, Michael Morrison, tried to punish him from an angle.
Leicester continued to look dangerous going forward and had the ball in the Reds’ net just shy of the hour mark, but the prolific Wood was offside as Morgan played it in.
However, the New Zealander found the target again, legally this time, on 69 minutes when De Laet dribbled into the area, where the ball was deflected into his path and an instinctive finish into the far bottom corner levelled things up.
Powell’s reaction to the equaliser was to tweak his conservative 4-1-4-1 formation by swapping enforcer Dorian Dervite for Haynes.
And the striker needed only 90 seconds of pitch time to pay off for the gaffer when he found the space to turn and unleash a spectacular finish over Schmeichel.
Wood had a good chance for a second deflected into the side netting and Drinkwater’s low 30-yard piledriver had to be pushed around the post by Hamer as the men in blue hunted for a late point.
But after their scorer smashed a dangerous set-piece narrowly wide, the final whistle sealed Charlton’s first win in five.
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Charlton: Hamer, Solly, Morrison, Cort, Wiggins, Dervite (Haynes 77), Pritchard, Stephens (Wilson 90), Jackson, Wagstaff (Taylor 90), Kermorgant. Subs not used: Button, Evina, Kerkar, Fuller. Att: 19,920 (680 Charlton fans).
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