Royals defeat leaves Addicks in relegation mire

Danny Williams is congratulated after opening the scoring. Pictures by Edmund Boyden.

Danny Williams is congratulated after opening the scoring. Pictures by Edmund Boyden.

First published in Charlton Athletic
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Any hopes of Charlton easing their way to Championship safety were dealt a blow on Saturday by a lacklustre 1-0 home defeat to Reading.

The visitors got the winner in the 73rd minute as Danny Williams fired past Ben Hamer, leaving the Addicks just two points above the relegation zone.

Reading were the fourth best away side in the league before the game and began the brighter of the two teams, with three corners in the opening ten minutes.

Callum Harriott, starting on the right, was fouled by Williams in the 11th minute but no one could connect Johnnie Jackson’s teasing cross from the resulting set piece. Charlton improved as the game moved on and enjoyed a healthy amount of possession against a sixth-placed Reading side chasing promotion.

Despite their possession, Jordan Cousins’ tame effort, saved easily by Alex McCarthy, was all they had to show for it.

A lack of quality in the final third, combined with Simon Church’s struggles to impose himself up front, meant the Addicks were unable to transform their possession into attacking threat.

And as the home side’s back four looked resilient, like they have done for most of Jose Riga’s tenure as manager, Reading struggled to break them down.

Neither team created any clear-cut opportunities before the break in what was a poor half of football.

The away side began the second half in impressive fashion, as Adam Le Fondre raced down the right before picking out Williams on the penalty spot who could only fire wide.

Le Fondre was presented with a glorious chance to open the scoring in the 56th minute, but after turning well, he couldn’t find the target from six yards.

Reza Ghoochannejhad almost made an instant impact off the bench as he teed up Rhoys Wiggins, but the Welshman’s effort was well held by the keeper.

Reading looked to have taken the lead in the 61st minute as Danny Guthrie struck a fine free-kick, needlessly given away by Harriott just outside the area, only for Hamer to make an outstanding save.

Hamer was called into action again three minutes later as he saved well from Gareth McCleary just inside the box and Reading were now dominating proceedings.

The away side finally struck in the 74th minute as Davide Petrucci lost possession to Gurthrie, who then played in Williams down the right. Williams took the ball in his stride before racing into the box and confidently finishing past Hamer.

Charlton struggled to react as they continued to lack creativity in the final third and were left to rely on long distance efforts in their attempts to find an equaliser.

Reza had a chance with a late free-kick from 25 yards but the Iranian forward fired well over as the game fizzled out with little encouragement for The Valley faithful.

Charlton: Hamer, Wilson, Morrison, Dervite, Wiggins, Cousins (Obika 82), Poyet, Jackson (Petrucci 66), Church, Harriot, Ajdarevic (Reza 58). Subs not used: Phillips, Sordell, Wood, Fox.

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