CHARLTON’S poor start to the Championship season continued this afternoon when they suffered a second consecutive defeat as Middlesbrough raided The Valley for three points.
Lukas Jutkiewicz grabbed the only goal of the game on 72 minutes after home keeper Ben Hamer had made a complete hash of a corner to leave the Addicks still searching for their first point of the campaign.
Manager Chris Powell made nine changes from the side which trounced Oxford 4-0 on Tuesday in the League Cup.
More importantly, there were two alterations from the opening day defeat at Bournemouth, as skipper Johnnie Jackson was back from injury and Danny Green, who had started against Oxford, came in for the suspended Bradley Pritchard.
Middlesbrough included former Addick Frazer Richardson in their line-up and there was a start for new signing Albert Adomah.
The visitors began brightly with Jozsef Varga bursting forward in the opening minute before drilling in a low shot from 20 yards which Hamer initially spilled before re-gathering the ball.
Jutkiewicz fired over in the 10th minute and then saw a header deflected behind for a corner after meeting Grant Leadbitter’s cross at the back post.
Dean Whitehead was handed a yellow card for hauling down Yann Kermorgant but Mark Gower scuffed a shot well off target from Green’s free-kick.
Leadbitter sliced an effort from outside of the area just wide and Adomah’s 35th minute shot hit the bar, although the referee had already blown his whistle for an earlier foul.
Boro were largely in control at this point and continued to stretch the Charlton defence when breaking forward.
They were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position two minutes before the break about 20 yards out but Adomah’s effort failed to trouble Hamer.
Marvin Sordell had Charlton’s first shot on goal with the last kick of a disappointing opening period, with Boro probably considering themselves unfortunate not to have their noses in front.
Jackson looked like he was limping on his way back to the tunnel and made way for Dale Stephens at the start of the second half.
Mustapha Carayol blazed the first attempt of the second period harmlessly over the bar, while at the other end Kermorgant required treatment after being knocking into strike partner Sordell as they both tried to get on the end of Green’s delivery.
Green was denied by Jason Steele on 54 minutes after Callum Harriott’s cross found him inside the six-yard box.
Jutkiewicz’s was inches away from connecting with George Friend’s dangerous low ball which went across the face of goal.
Steele required treatment after making a hash of Green’s 63rd minute corner but thankfully for his side recovered and was allowed to continue.
Carayol fired a low drive wide from inside the area after good build up play from the visitors but Jutkiewicz at t least tested Hamer with his 70th minute shot after Carayol had cleverly played the ball into his path.
But Boro and Jutkiewicz didn’t have long to wait to finally make the breakthrough after he capitalised on an error by Hamer from a Leadbitter corner by heading into an empty net.
Green was denied by a good reaction stop from Steele and then Stephens glanced an effort just over from Kermorgant’s cross as the Addicks tried to respond immediately.
Steele was forced off by his earlier injury to be replaced by Jayson Leutwiler at the same time Powell threw on Simon Church and Lawrie Wilosn for Sordell and Green.
Kermorgant’s 82nd minute header flew over the bar and then saw another effort deflected behind for a corner five minutes later.
There were five additional minutes signalled by the fourth official, not that Charlton came close to rescuing a draw at any point during the additional time.
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Charlton: Hamer, Solly, Wiggins, Cort, Morrison, Green (Wilson 77), Gower, Jackson (Stephens 46), Harriott, Kermorgant, Sordell I(Church 77). Subs not used: Pope, Evina, Cort, Pigott.