Charlton Athletic 1 v 0 Carlisle United

Carling Cup Round Two

DARREN Bent saved his manager's blushes by firing Charlton into the third round of the Carling Cup.

The striker poached his fourth goal of the season from close range 12 minutes into the second half triggering huge sigh of relief in the dug-out.

It proved the decisive moment against Carlisle of League One and gave home head coach Iain Dowie one over on visiting boss Neil McDonald, who worked with him last season at Crystal Palace.

The goal also came just two minutes after Carlisle skipper Peter Murphy had hit the bar from range.

Still ravaged by injuries, Dowie saw his side largely contain a Carlisle outfit which were lively yet posed just a handful of problems.

The coach will be pleased with youngster Nathan Ashton who produced an encouraging performance on his debut for the Addicks.

The 19-year-old left-back, who caught the eye during pre-season, was drafted in as the club's injury crisis continued.

Skipper Luke Young switched back to the right while Jonathan Fortune again shrugged off his broken toe to operate in central defence alongside Talal El Karkouri.

In midfield Radostin Kishishev partnered Amady Faye with Omar Pouso and Matt Holland the latest to suffer niggles but for the second successive match Darren Ambrose made light of a shoulder complaint to supply the width with Dennis Rommedahl.

Dowie elected to rest on loan goalkeeper Scott Carson, who had been given permission to play for the Addicks in the League Cup by Liverpool, and striker Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink.

Thomas Myhre was in goal and up front Darren Bent and Marcus Bent operated together.

There was also a place on the bench for no fewer then four graduates of the Charlton youth system alongside keeper Stephan Andersen.

Fans know all about Kevin Lisbie while Osei Sankofa, who enjoyed an extended run of games at the end of last season, was back on the scene after injury.

Speedy winger Alistair John and striker James Walker, who netted three times during pre-season, were also named as back-up.

The first shot in anger didn't come until the 10th minute as Marcus Bent blazed high into the Carlisle fans in the Jimmy Seed stand.

But the hosts almost took the lead three minutes later as Ambrose crossed from the left for Darren Bent.

The striker's header was heading into the corner but keeper Anthony Williams sprung to his right to parry and then clutch at his left upright.

Then Faye sneaked in to head wide from close in after clever play from Rommedahl on the right.

The Senegalese midfielder has never scored a goal in English football and as the action switched to the other end Hawley's 21st-minute effort took a big deflection off him and dropped wide.

Darren Bent fired narrowly wide after a purposeful burst moments later and the hosts were a lick of paint away from opening the scoring after a slick move on the half hour.

Faye swapped passes with Marcus Bent on a surging run forward and then picked out Ambrose on the left and the midfielder's curling effort bounced off the top of the bar with Williams beaten.

Karl Hawley dashed in to head a Paul Arnison cross wide moments later and Chris Lumsdon lifted an effort high over the bar after some miscommunication in the home rearguard.

It was another sign the visitors, with Hawley and Kevin Gall serving the flanks and offering support to centre-forward Derek Holmes, were not just here to make up the numbers.

Lumsdon tested Myhre for the first time in the 36th-minute with the Norway keeper making a routine save.

At the other end Williams dashed off his line to foil Darren Bent six minutes before the break after the striker had latched on to a raking pass forward and took the ball in his stride.

It was a decent stop from the visiting keeper and Danny Livesey then produced a fine sliding challenge to thwart the same striker moments later.

From the resulting corner Rommedahl's sizzling low effort was deflected wide as the healthy band of Carlisle fans lauded their heroes and their singing continued into the break as the half-time whistle was met with a series of boos from the home crowd.

Lumsdon, not afraid to shoot when the chance arose, dragged just wide four minutes after the restart while the hosts had penalty claims turned down when a cross from Rommedahl struck Zigor Aranalde.

As a succession of home passes went astray it was the visitors who went agonisingly close to taking a shock lead in the 55th minute.

Hawley did well to hold off his man and teed up skipper Peter Murphy who had ventured forward.

The defender opted for a placed shot from 25 yards and the ball beat Myhre all ends up only to strike the bar.

It was a wake-up call for the sluggish hosts and proved equally pivotal as they took the lead two minutes later.

Williams got down well to block a Rommedahl drive from the edge of the box but could do nothing as the ball squirmed loose and Darren Bent poked the ball home from an acute angle.

Gall flashed a shot across the face of goal after being fed down the channel by Chris Billy while at the other end Williams saved from Rommedahl and Darren Bent lashed high into the stands in the 63rd-minute after being sent racing away.

McDonald made his first change seconds later as Holmes made way for Paul Thirlwell.

Faye failed to cash in on a wonderful whipped cross from Ashton with Darren Bent heading straight at Williams at the far post and there was little doubt that the goal had galvanised the hosts.

A bodged up free-kick routine involving Rommedahl and El Karkouri left Dowie scratching his head on the touchline His next move was to switch Kishishev with Sankofa seven minutes from time and Darren Bent went close to a second when he curled a free-kick just over the top.

El Karkouri curled over from similar territory when a half-cleared free-kick fell to him on 86 minutes and moments after Kevin Lisbie replaced Marcus Bent the full-time whistle signalled Charlton's progress.


CHARLTON: Myhre, Young, Ashton, El Karkouri, Fortune; Rommedahl, Kishishev (Sankofa, 83), Faye, Ambrose, M Bent (Lisbie, 90), D Bent.

SUBS NOT USED: Andersen, John, Walker, Lisbie.

ATT: 8,190.