MARK: TALK OF SACK NO EXCUSE
CHARLTON defied the form book to claim their first win in three months by soundly defeating Brentford, whose manager Mark Warburton insisted the doubt over his future was no excuse.
November 8 was the last time the Addicks basked in the glow of a victory and the end of this wretched run couldn’t have been more timely in their fight against being dragged into the relegation zone.
They hadn’t won in their previous 13 league games and hadn’t claimed three points at The Valley since October but they were by far the more energetic side from the outset.
Having surpassed expectations so far this season, this was a surprisingly lifeless performance from Brentford, which rounded off a difficult week for Warburton.
He said:“There are no excuses at all – we trained well, we prepared well and there are no excuses because we have an honest group of players.
“That was not Brentford, it was not our standard because we were slow to the ball, gave it away cheaply and made poor decisions in possession.
“Quite simply we weren’t good enough but all credit to Charlton.”
Warburton expects his position to be clarified shortly, after reports emerged earlier in the week which suggested he could be replaced as Bees boss.
He added: “I’m sure that there will be a statement early next week, but our job to the players is to look after them.
“We received great backing from the supporters and they deserved better than that but I’m sure there will be some clarity next week.”
The first opportunity fell to Charlton when Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s low curler was dealt with not entirely convincingly by Brentford goalkeeper David Button.
After dominating the opening half-hour the Addicks got their reward when Igor Vetokele found Gudmundsson all alone on the right and the Iceland international bent a superb effort into the top corner.
Button then prevented Vetokele from doubling the hosts’ lead three minutes later when he saved with his feet at his near post.
Vetokele put daylight between the sides in the second half when, with the Brentford defence all over the place, he was set up by Tony Watt to slide the ball into the net from close range.
Watt almost had a goal for himself that would have killed the game off but was denied by a fine save by a stretching Button.
Charlton goalkeeper Stephen Henderson wasn’t tested enough but did well with ten minutes when he tipped Alex Pritchard’s free-kick over the bar as Brentford looked give themselves hope late on.
But Charlton rounded off a superb day at the office in stoppage time as Frederic Bulot arrowed a shot across Button into the bottom corner from a narrow angle.
Brentford dropped out of the play-offs but for the Addicks some breathing space at the bottom and a first win for manager Guy Luzon.
He said:“We played very well - from the start of the game we moved the ball well and we created chances to score.
“We scored three goals and also in defence we were organised.
“It was not easy because the club had gone three months without any wins and we’ve needed to work on both the mental side and the physical side.
“But this is the first step and our goal now is to come again next week and show the same performance because that is the only way to bring us up the table.
“We lost two players in the first half to injury but they gave everything and the defence can be proud today because of the character that they have shown.”
IGOR FOR GOALS: Igor Vetokele puts Charlton 2-0 up
OPENERS: Johann Gudmundsson celebrates